Though the weather may be quite warm in the summer in Charlottesville, this doesn’t rule out getting active outside when we have several hiking spots near the Inn. Sure, hiking in the heat might be tough, but these hiking spots are truly perfect for spring, summer and fall, as many of them provide shady trails and even some water nearby to help beat the heat! Here are some of our favorites:
- Sugar Hollow
Just a short drive from the Inn brings you to Sugar Hollow (also known as Moorman’s River). This is a very mild, shady hike that is mostly flat through the main trail, though it gains some elevation at about 2 miles. The full hike is 4.45 miles, but there are great spots to stop along the trail and turn around if you don’t want to go as far. If you make it the entire way, you’ll cross through the water a few times. At about 2 miles or so, you can take a side trail to Big Branch Falls. The draw to sugar hollow for most people, though, is the swimming hole, which you’ll find a bit shy of 2 miles in.A couple tips for this hike: You will have to walk through water, so you may want to bring some water shoes or just wear tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Still, the short walks through the water provide some refreshment from the heat. Bring your bathing suit- a lot of people come here just for the swim, and the swimming hole is lovely and crystal-clear!
- Humpback Rocks
For a much more challenging hike, visit Humpback Rocks. There are numerous options for distance here with a 1 mile hike option to the rocks, a 2 mile humpback mountain hike, and a 3.9 mile hike to the picnic area. Most people do the 1 mile hike just up and back on this popular trail. How can one mile be so challenging, you may ask? With a nearly 800 foot climb upward in that one mile, you’ll know you’re being challenged right away! Most people feel out of breath immediately as they start, so if you’re looking for some exercise, this is the hike for you. Though the straight up hike is challenging, the view at the top is beautiful and rewarding, and you’ll see a variety of ages and fitness levels enjoying this hike. Don’t let the challenge stop you from trying it out!Some tips for this hike: Don’t forget your water- this hike is aerobically challenging! You might want to pick a cooler day for this one if possible. Also, wear good shoes as you’ll have a few more challenging climbs up some rock piles (not anything too tough or dangerous, don’t worry). When you get to the top, you’ll have to climb onto the large boulder-like rocks to see the amazing views, and it will be windy most days! Just be prepared!
- Mint Springs Park
Mint Springs Park is located in Crozet, which is about 15 minutes from the Inn. There are multiple options to enjoy the outdoors here, including swimming, fishing, and of course, hiking!The hiking trails at this park are mild and can be enjoyed by all ages. There are several trails around the same mountain and around the park; Fire Trail (1.9 miles), Hollow Trail (.5 miles), Little Yellow Trail (.55 miles), Mountain Orchard Trail (.38 miles), Lake Trail (.5 miles), and Big Survey Trail (.97 miles). Of course, these can be combined or enjoyed separately depending on how much you’re willing to hike. A map can show you which of the hikes would suit you best based on how much elevation you’re looking for. It also shows you how you can connect the hikes.Some tips for this hike: In the late spring and summer months, Mint Springs Park has a small fee to get in: 3$ for adults and 2$ for children. Make the most of your small fee and enjoy a day of hiking, swimming, picnicking, and whatever else sounds fun to you!
These are just three of the many options for hiking in Charlottesville and the surrounding areas, but each of these featured hikes are close enough to the Inn that it won’t feel like you’re going far out of your way! They are also extremely different from one another, so if you’re coming to Charlottesville to enjoy the outdoors, why not try all three?