At first glance, it might be tempting to write Charlottesville
off as just another college town. Indeed, the University of Virginia affects every aspect of life in the town, from its residents to its restaurants. However, Charlottesville remains one of Virginia's most beautiful towns with plenty to offer for any visitor, whether you're looking for history or hiking - in fact, since the town is nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the best hiking in the state is just minutes from the town of Charlottesville.
If you're planning on taking on the best Charlottesville hiking trails, consider booking one of the area's numerous vacation rentals. In addition to offering more space and value than the area's pricy hotels, they allow more privacy. Some rentals are even located in the woods - putting you directly in the heart of Charlottesville's natural beauty.
Ready to hit the trail? Here are some of the best Charlottesville hiking trails around.
Shenandoah National Park Shenandoah National Park
is an easy 30-40 minute drive from Charlottesville
, and this stunning park is well worth the trip. Waterfalls? Mountains? Scenic overlooks? Shenandoah's whopping 500 miles of trails has it all. Shenandoah National Park also hosts over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, so if you're looking to cross a piece of the Appalachian off your bucket list, you can start here.
Old Rag Mountain
This trail may be one of Shenandoah National Park's most popular, but it's also one of its most dangerous. Rangers are forced to embark on search and rescue missions on Old Rag every year because of inexperienced hikers or natural dangers. Only attempt Old Rag if you've got prior hiking experience.
The trail itself is an eight-mile circuit with significant altitude changes and a challenging rock scramble. Bring plenty of water and plan on having about seven or eight hours to complete the hike. For the best experience, hit Old Rag on a weekday; the mountain gets extremely crowded on the weekends.
If you've got limited mobility but still want to enjoy the beauty of Shenandoah, Limberlost Trail is the trail for you. This 1.3 gentle, green-laden trail was built for people with challenged mobility in mind.
White Oak Canyon Hills
This four-hour hike offers some of the prettiest waterfall views in the park. Though steep at some parts, the trail is still reasonable enough for children. White Oak Canyon Hills is not a loop, however; to return, you'll need to retrace your steps.
Humpback Rocks is separate from Shenandoah National Park. This popular hike is located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Due to its immense popularity, try to schedule a Humpback Rocks trip on a weekday. Though the hike is relatively short (just over two hours), the trail is immensely steep - but the panoramic views at the top are worth it.
Boasting the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, Crabtree Falls is one of the prettiest hiking trails in the area. As one of the best Charlottesville hiking trails, this four-mile hike is less difficult than the other trails on this list, but the falls make this hike a must-do for both new and experienced hikers.
Know Your Limits
Some of Shenandoah's trails
stay relatively close to access points, but others lead deep into the wilderness. While the latter is a wonderful way to literally get away from it all, don't push yourself. Each of Shenandoah's trails is marked by difficulty level. If you're a casual hiker, stick to the flatter trails; they're just as beautiful as the mountainous ones. Remember to always bring a compass and water; with 500 miles of trails, you don't want to risk getting lost.
Rentals in the Shenandoah Valley
Located South of Luray off of RT. 340 near Shenandoah, Va. 22849. Only 20 miles to Massanutten resort and 15 miles to the town of Luray.
350 ft. trail from cabin to private river access
Luxury Shenandoah Valley Secluded River Cabin with all the ...
Enjoy the serenity of country living and pamper yourself in our luxurious accommodations while relaxing your mind and body. A Awesome Shenandoah Valley View is everything you want for your perfect getaway. This beautifully restored and luxuriously...
Loacated South of Luray off of Route 340 near Shenandoah, VA 22849.
Serenity and Luxury await you....
Welcome to your luxury log cabin vacation get away. Deer Run Cabins offer you all of the amenities and luxury you require plus the comforts o...
Come make your Vacation Memories with us in the Shenandoah Valley. This gorgeous, luxury home is located directly on the Shenandoah River. Once you arrive you will not want to leave this beautiful serene centrally located hot spot, which offers al...
Serenity and Luxury await you at A Rustic River Cabin which sits directly on the Shenandoah River and will provide you with an unforgetable relaxing getaway! Come into this warm detailed cabin where you can sink down into the leather furniture in ...