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check out the view when you go outdoors in Virginia

Exploring the Great Outdoors: A Guide to Outdoor Adventures Near Rivanna River

Nestled near the picturesque Rivanna River, the guests of our Charlottesville Bed and Breakfast find a haven for adventure right outside our front door. Hiking trails weave through the lush forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains unveiling breathtaking vistas. Parks offer recreational oases, inviting picnics, and leisurely strolls. Kayakers navigate the Rivanna River’s gentle currents. Cyclists pedal along scenic routes exploring the region’s beauty. Anglers cast lines into the river’s clear waters, hoping for the next big catch.

Amidst these pursuits lies the profound significance of connecting with nature. Outdoor activities rejuvenate the spirit, reduce stress, and foster physical well-being. For nature lovers, the perfect place to have a relaxing getaway is right here near Charlottesville, VA. Read on to learn about all the activities to do in the place we call home!

Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains

With the forests as our backyard, there are many different hikes to choose from. We’ve helped you choose the right trail with our top three picks.

Humpback Rocks

A guest favorite, the Humpback Rocks Trail is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway just a half hour drive from our Charlottesville Bed and Breakfast. As part of a developed trail system, the Humpback Gap area is composed of the Humpback Rocks, Humpback Mountain, and the picnic area. The trail to the Humpback Rocks is the quickest way to see the long views of the scenic Shenandoah Valley. This trail climbs 700 feet in elevation over only one mile, making it steep in some sections. Allow one hour for the round-trip hike. Bring good shoes, water, and snacks.

Length: 1.5 miles
Location: Mile marker 5.8 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, across the road from the Visitor Center.
Difficulty: Intermediate

Ivy Creek Natural Area

For those wanting a closer option, the Ivy Creek Natural Area is a 215-acre preserve located on the shores of the South Fork Rivanna River Reservoir and only an 8 minute drive from our Bed & Breakfast. This area is composed of seven miles of trails, suitable for all skill levels. One of the more popular trail loops is the Red Trail. You’ll walk through large areas of beautiful undisturbed habitat. Because it’s a nature preserve, dogs, mechanized vehicles, and running in the park are not allowed. There are few gentle inclines and descents. No matter your age and skill level, this park is friendly to all visitors!

Length: 1.6 miles
Location: Red Trail begins at the parking lot. The end of the loop leads hikers to the historic barn, on the other side of the parking lot.
Difficulty: Easy

visit the river when you go outdoors virginia
Rivanna River

A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the Rivanna Trail is a beautiful path that circles the entire city of Charlottesville. With many starting point options, we recommend our guests check out the 2-mile paved section of this trail that begins at Riverview Park. Dotted with open fields that are filled with colorful wildflowers during the warmer seasons, the Rivanna River Trail is a must-see spot for nature lovers. There are many access points to hop into the river to take a swim. Except for a few inclines, the paved path is perfectly suited for those with accessibility needs.

Length: 4.3 miles, out and back
Location: Paved section begins at Riverview Park, Charlottesville, VA.
Difficulty: Easy

Nearby Parks & Recreational Areas

For those with kids or a passion for picnicking, there are plenty of places to sit back and relax under the shade of a welcoming tree or have fun at a playground.

Darden Towe Park

Located 20 minutes from our Bed and Breakfast in the east part of Charlottesville, Darden Towe Park is a wonderful place to gather with family and friends. This large park is situated right next to the Rivanna River and has all the amenities you can think of: athletic fields and courts, picnic shelters with grills, boat launch, playgrounds, dog park, restrooms, and a free little library.

Location: 1445 Darden Towe Park, Charlottesville, VA 22911
Fees: To reserve a shelter, reservations must be made online.
Cost:  $70 for the day.

Brook Hill River Park

For those who want something a little quieter on the outskirts of town, Brook Hill River Park is the place for you. This little hideaway is north of Charlottesville and 20 minutes from our Bed and Breakfast. Brook Hill is a great spot for those who enjoy being on the water. With several launch locations, visitors can kayak, stand-up paddle, and fish in the calmer waters of the Rivanna River.

Location: 2009 Rio Mills Rd, Earlysville, VA 22936
Fees: None

Kayaking on the Rivanna River

One of the best ways to interact with the river in an intimate way is by kayaking. This sport is perfect in both calm and rough waters. With as large a river as the Rivanna, kayaking is very popular and practical. There are many spots to choose from for either a day trip or a multi-day adventure.

South Fork Rivanna Reservoir

One of the few motor-free lakes where you can escape the noise is the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. The waters are kept undisturbed and wildlife is abundant. The winding shorelines are home to numerous secluded coves perfect for a day out on the water. The reservoir is wide and very easy to paddle around.

Boat launch location: 2494 Woodburn Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22901
Difficulty: Easy
Popular activities: Paddle sports, fishing, birdwatching

Charlottesville to Columbia

For those seeking a challenge with a multi-day paddle trip, a popular kayaking route on the Rivanna starts from Darden Towe Park and finishes in the town of Columbia. Here, the Rivanna meets the James River and the total trip length is 35 miles. Some folks either break up the trip and camp near the town of Palmyra or end the trip there. Consider your skill and comfort levels when attempting an unforgettable trek like this!

Put-in location: 38.04250300, -78.45383000 (Darden Towe Park)
Take-out location: 37.74951000, -78.16276600 (Columbia)
Difficulty: Intermediate
Popular activities: Kayaking, camping, fishing, birdwatching

Safety First

Before you go kayaking, always prioritize safety. No matter how long your trip is, always pack water, food with adequate storage, a life vest, a strap, layers in case of rain or the cold, a map/compass, and your adventure gear (binoculars, fishing pole, tent, camera, etc.). Check the forecast the day before and the day of your trek. Check with county and forest offices for up to date river conditions.

Additional Outdoor Activities

Fishing and mountain biking are also popular sports around the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fly fishing is especially popular on the Rivanna River. Common fish found in the river and connected reservoirs include trout, bass, sunfish, and catfish. Check with local regulations for catch and release and bag limits.

Many of the trails that you can hike near Charlottesville are suitable for mountain biking as well. One of the most popular trails for cyclists is the entirety of the Rivanna Trail loop. Totaling 21 miles in length with 1,300 feet of elevation gain, bikers can find exciting and diverse terrain among the surrounding green forests.

This summer, come stay with us at our Charlottesville Bed and Breakfast. Nature lovers will find few places with more outdoor activities right outside their door. From hiking and biking to kayaking and fishing, the call of the Rivanna River allures all outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the splendor and peace of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We will help you find the right activity for you to enjoy on your next getaway. Book your stay at the Foxfield Inn now!

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