A Few Charlottesville Area Hikes for Kids

October. It’s one of the best months in Charlottesville, and certainly one of the best for hiking, biking, being outdoors.

A friend emailed –

I’d like to start getting my kids more involved in family hikes. They are 8 and 7. Do you have favorite hikes to recommend as a place to start for them?

I’ve been riding my bicycle a lot more than hiking in the past two five years, so I asked a friend, Carrie, who writes the outstanding Comfort in the Wild blog, for her insight and she was was gracious enough to send a detailed response, and let me publish it. Thank you! Update: suggestions below in italics are my edits.

“One group for the family to check out would be Hike it Baby Charlottesville. They have a Facebook page and there is everything from toddler meet ups to family-adult paced hikes.

Hikes in or near Charlottesville

1. Pen Park fitness trail – 2 Mile hike – starts out paved then switches to dirt path in the woods.

2. Trails at Mint Spring in Crozet (various mileage/loops depending on their kiddos stamina)
3. Rockfish Valley Trail – a few loop options. Starts right near Bold Rock Cidery (bonus for parents!)
4. Ragged Mountain Reservoir off of 64 right between Crozet and Cville. Great trails that hug the lake. Some small hills, but not a whole lot of elevation, so perfect for families. (thanks, Joe)
5. Saunders-Monticello Trail – one of the closest, and easiest around. ” A maximum grade of 5% keeps it completely accessible to walkers, cyclists and those in wheelchairs.”

Shenandoah National Park

1. Little Calf Mountain – 2 miles or so. short hike to a grassy meadow with views
2. Bearfence – .8 mile – very short hike, great views. Short rock scramble.
3. Blackrock Summit – 1 mile – short hike with cool rocks to play on and amazing views
4. Story of the Forest – 1.8 miles – easier trail right off the Byrd Visitor Center in SNP. Meander through trees and over 2 bridges. No epic views, but cool trail and we always see lots of wildlife on this one.
5. Turk Mountain – 2.2 miles – love this hike for seeing fall color and a nice view at the top. but it is uphill most of the way.
6. Stony Man – 1.6 miles – this is one of my favorites, but it’s pretty far north on the skyline drive. Incredible views that you don’t have to work that hard for!”

I’ve said it before – let’s take time to appreciate what the amazing place in which we choose to live.

(One of my favorites remains Spy Rock.)

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