Charlottesville's Rivanna Greenbelt

Rivanna Trails Foundation: (434) 923-9022

There is a trail circling our city that offers the "get away to the wilderness" feeling without having to drive a long way to get there. Along this path, one can watch the seasons, wildflowers, birds and insects. Through the effective management of a committed volunteer force, the Rivanna Trails Foundation (RTF) is credited for developing this unique city park. The goal of RTF (a non-profit corporation) is to "establish a footpath encircling Charlottesville generally by following the Rivanna River, Meadow Creek and Moore's Creek." RTF is close to achieving this ambitious goal and they have done a wonderful job.

Different segments of the trail have different levels of completion and difficulty. The first section that was completed is the Rivanna Greenbelt, along the Rivanna. Until they built this park, you could live in Charlottesville and never really be aware that this beautiful river was a feature of our community.

Because of the quality of the Rivanna Greenbelt segment of the Rivanna Trail, a broad cross section of visitors are attracted-we see people in wheelchairs, elderly people, kids on bikes, moms with strollers, people walking dogs, and people walking alone. If you want a sense of peaceful quiet, it is wise to go during the week as the path tends to get more crowded on the weekends.

This entire section is only 1.3 miles (each way). You begin at Riverview Park (in the Woolen Mills neighborhood) and end near Free Bridge, then walk back. It is easy to spend an hour or day, depending upon your schedule. You can fish on the Rivanna River or let your dog take a swim. Because this portion of the trail is handicapped accessible, bikes and strollers are easy to maneuver.

Most segments of the Rivanna Trail are not handicapped accessible; some can be a physical and orienteering challenge. RTF makes it easier with their user-friendly website ( as well as Trail Guide booklets that are usually available at all trailheads.

Directions to the Riverview Park to Free Bridge Section:
Entering town form the East on 250, turn left after crossing Free Bridge onto High Street. Go several blocks. Turn left onto Meade Avenue. Pass Meade Park. Turn left onto Chesapeake Street. Go to the end of Chesapeake. See Riverview Park sign. At the parking lot, you will see a small playground. Look for the RTF or Rivanna Greenbelt sign. The footpath is open from sunrise to sunset. Have fun exploring!

All rights reserved 2003 Mary Alissa Wilson

Mary Wilson...

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