One of my favorite things about Charlottesville is the diverse landscaping. You can go for a morning or afternoon hike and see incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and then by dinner, you’re back in town, living the city life, enjoying one of the many restaurants Charlottesville has to offer. Today, we’re talking about five of my favorite hikes in Charlottesville: Old Rag Mountain, Crab Tree Falls, sugar Hollow, Spy Rock, and Humpback Rock, and we are starting right now.
Hello, thanks for watching my video, all about Charlottesville hiking trails. My name is Ashley Jurney, and I’m your local Charlottesville realtor. If you are new to my channel and you are interested in learning about Charlottesville or real estate, be sure to click the subscribe button, I post new videos every Wednesday, and I know you don’t want to miss any of them.
First and foremost, let’s talk about safety. Number one, use common sense. I feel like that one’s pretty self-explanatory. Bring water, sunscreen if it’s sunny, a change of clothes if you’re hiking a swim trail. Start small and choose the right trail for your fitness level, familiarize yourself with the trail, check the weather, tell someone where you’ll be, wear the right shoes and socks, dress for success, and keep it light.
Some of these photos were either taken by myself of my friend Tinzin, who is my longtime college best friend and hiking partner. So let’s get started on our first destination, Old Rag Mountian. The driving time from Charlottesville is about two and a half hours, and the hike is about four and a half hours. So it’s about a seven to eight hour day trip, so make sure you plan for that. Old Rag is by far the greatest hikes in Virginia. It’s 3280 feet tall and has the highest foot traffic of any hike in Shenandoah Mountain Park, and for good reason. This is likely the most difficult and fun hike in all of Virginia. With tons of rock scrambles and a steep elevation gain, not to mention the sheer distance of the hike, which is more than nine miles long. Don’t be fooled, though. Despite the distance and difficulty, Old Rag is a genuinely rewarding accomplishment.
Our second destination is Crab Tree Falls. This scenic, two and a half mile loop trail to Crab Tree Falls is moderate to strenuous, with a steep incline and rocky terrain. Hikers should allow an hour and a half to two and a half hours for the entire hike. At the base of the trail is a spectacular crab tree falls where water cascades over 60 foot rock cliff. Many types of ferns and wildflowers thrive in the hollow, benefiting from the waterfall’s cool spray. The wet rocks here are slippery, so don’t climb on them.
Our third destination is Sugar Hollow. I don’t have any exciting photos of Sugar Hollow because there’s multiple swimming holes and I typically don’t take my phone there. Sugar Hollow trail is a sweet escape into nature, combining swimming and hiking into a single afternoon adventure. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the Sugar Hollow trail and spend your Saturday skipping rocks, wading in the water, and enjoying a picnic with your family. An ideal option for people of all ages, there’s something for everyone. This hike is no secret to Charlottesville locals, so plan ahead and get hiking early.
The next destination on my list is Spy Rock. Spy Rock has spectacular views. The trek to Spy Rock is thrilling and challenging, it has some steep parts with varied levels of intensity along the way. You can pick between two trails or choose your own adventure. One path begins at the Crab Tree Falls parking lot, while the other begins at the Montebello Fish Hatchery. You’ll be traversing cascading Crab Tree Falls while flower dotted Crab Tree Meadows and part of the Appalachian Trail. The easy beginning mile that sticks you on a fire road is very misleading because once you get past it, it turns into a strenuous path to the peak. Near the top is a short rock scramble to reach the lovely reward of a 360 panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This breathtaking view makes the climb up seem a little less taxing. It’s a relatively easy path back down afterwards.
Saving the best for last, this is one of my favorite hikes that I do often. Humpback Rock. It is also one of the most popular hiking areas with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. It’s a short and steep one mile to the top, but the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park to the east are some of the best around. It’s somewhat of a tradition for students from the University of Virginia to hike up here for sunrise, but to live like a local, take a picnic and a beer from one of the many local breweries nearby to watch the sun set over the mountains. It isn’t a top pick for solitude on the weekends, but on a week night, you may find you’re the only one around.
Now you can be a hiking expert like myself or my friend Tinzin. Thank you for watching my video. If you’d like to know more about Charlottesville or real estate, I did this video about radon, you can check it out at the link above. Thanks for watching. I hope to see you next time.