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Hikingin charlottesville


Why Charlottesville is one of the best places to hike. Surrounded by the mountains and valleys of central Virginia. Charlottesville has dozens of great hikes just a short drive away.

Hike Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is a popular attraction located in Nelson County, just six miles off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 27. Crabtree Falls features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet. The first overlook is just a few hundred feet from the parking lot along a gentle, paved trail making it an excellent stopover for travelers of all ages and abilities. The more adventuresome hiker may continue along the 3-mile trail to four other overlooks offering spectacular views of the Crabtree Creek Falls and lovely vistas of the Tye River Valley. From the upper falls, the trail follows the creek another 1.2 miles to the Crabtree Meadows. Open dawn to dusk. Parking lot with daily parking fee per vehicle.

Sugar Hollow

Sugar Hollow, known for its beginner-level hiking trails and swimming spots is located just outside of Charlottesville in Albemarle County. Sugar Hollow offers two paths spread across Moormans River, the first takes you to Blue Hole and the second to Big Branch Falls.

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Just 1.5 miles past the silver gate is a large swimming hole just waiting to cool you off.

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Round trip the trail is 4.6 miles and takes you across the Moorman River several times with a swimming hole at the second crossing, just .8 miles from the start of the trail. This is a great spot to take the kids and fury friends!

For those who love a drink after a scenic run park at Stinson Vineyard. Take a jog for 5 miles down the windy road till you reach the Sugar Hollow parking lot!

Old Rag Mountain

Old Rag Mountain has been named the most popular hiking destination in Shenandoah National Park. While it is not for the faint of heart due to the long trails, rock climbing, and substantial increase in elevation, those that embark on this journey will be blessed with breathtaking 360-degree views. Prior to your hike, it is recommended that you have a solid understanding of basic hiking safety, and have printed or downloaded the Old Rag trail map. Avid Old Rag hikers advise fanny packs over backpacks, camelbacks to ensure you stay hydrated, and protein-rich foods to keep your energy level high. One safety feature unique to Old Rag Mountain is the numbers placed along the trails in the event you are in need of Search and Rescue personnel. Weekdays are known to provide a less crowded environment, while weekends result in long lines at the parking lot and along the narrow rocky paths. Sadly our furry friends are prohibited from hiking the trails but are welcomed at the overnight camping sites.

Visitors are required to purchase a day-use and vehicle pass in advance between March 1 - November 30, 2022. See the links below to purchase.

Day pass

Vehicle pass

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For more information

Rockfish Valley Nelson County

Rockfish Valley is your one-stop shop for everything in Nelson County from scenic views to ice-cold brews.

Spruce Creek Park

Stretching for 35 miles Spruce Creek is the only public park in all of Nelson. Here you can learn about the history of Rockfish Valley and Nelson County at the History Center along with access to three trails: The Children's Nature Trail, the Butterfly Trail, and the Birding Trail.

Learn More about Spruce Creek Park

Nelson Scenic Loop

An experience focused on showcasing the beauty, culture, and historical assets of Nelson County. The 50-mile loop consists of four scenic routes - accessible by car or bike - encompassing Route 151, Blue Ridge Parkway, and other local highways. Your journey begins at the Rockfish Valley Natural History Center which provides access to hiking trails, scenic lookouts, and other outdoor opportunities such as CrabTree Falls. Along the route, you can visit cideries, breweries, apple and peach farm markets, pumpkin patches and so much more.

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The Loop for Beginners

Rockfish Valley Trail

Looking for a more active excursion? The Rockfish Valley Trails is the perfect spot for hikers and birdwatchers to spend the day exploring. With 6 miles of trails looping together, you can explore as much or as little as you would like.

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Come Walk the Loop Trails

Ragged Mountain Nature Area

Trail Map

A Verdant Haven

The heart of Ragged Mountain Nature Area is adorned with a diverse array of trees, creating a lush canopy that shelters visitors from the bustle of everyday life. Strolling through the forested trails, one encounters the stately presence of hickory, the vibrant hues of maple, the majesty of mature oak, the aromatic pine, and the soaring poplar trees. Each step in this natural wonderland is a testament to the rich biodiversity that thrives in this well-preserved sanctuary.

A Serene Lake Oasis

At the heart of the natural area lies a pristine lake, a vital component of the local community's water supply. The shimmering waters reflect the surrounding greenery, providing a scenic backdrop for visitors. While the lake offers a serene vista, it is important to note that swimming is not permitted to ensure the preservation of the ecosystem.

Wilderness Hiking at its Best

With seven miles of well-maintained trails, Ragged Mountain Natural Area beckons hikers to explore its varied terrain. From meandering paths through majestic forests to challenging routes along rugged landscapes, the trails cater to a range of hiking preferences. The proximity of this natural haven to Charlottesville means that residents can escape into the wilderness within minutes, making it an ideal retreat for those seeking a quick nature fix.

Respectful Recreation

While Ragged Mountain Nature Area encourages outdoor activities, it is essential to adhere to the guidelines in place to maintain the integrity of the environment. Boating is permitted, but with the caveat that only non-gas-powered motors are allowed, ensuring a peaceful experience for all. Furthermore, to preserve the delicate balance of the ecosystem, dogs are not allowed within the nature area.

Wildlife Wonders

Beyond the flora, Ragged Mountain Nature Area is teeming with wildlife. The carefully maintained trails allow visitors to catch glimpses of the diverse fauna, from elusive birds to skittering mammals. For nature lovers and birdwatchers, the area provides an excellent opportunity to observe and appreciate the local wildlife in its natural habitat.

Ivy Creek Natural Area

Trail Map for Ivy Creek Natural Area...

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