United States

Charlottesville, VA

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in Charlottesville

Located east of the Blue Ridge Mountains,  Charlottesville — sometimes referred to affectionately as C’Ville — is a historic city best known as the home of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Visitors travel from all over to see Jefferson’s “Monticello” plantation and The University of Virginia, but Charlottesville is also popular for its Downtown Mall, arts and culture festivals, and as a gateway to Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. Running in Charlottesville features great beauty and variety.

Charlottesville nurtures a dedicated and widespread running community, where training groups are abundant and athletes frequent a variety of routes in spite of the hot and humid summer weather. Favorite places to run include the University of Virginia campus (known as ‘the Grounds), sections of the 20 mile urban Rivanna Trail, the downtown streets, and the Saunders Monticello Trail. For a gorgeous residential run, it doesn’t get any better than the Bellair (Foxhaven) neighborhood. Just outside the city, scenic dirt roads split out in every direction, making rural runs possible on Dick Woods Road, Sugar Hollow Road, and in Keene. Aside from easy access to the Appalachian Trail and other major networks, trail runners will enjoy the level ground of Preddy Creek Trail Park.

While there is no public transport to some of the rural routes mentioned here, getting around the city of Charlottesville is easy on the Charlottesville Area Transportation buses, or the free trolley service around major city attractions.

Special thanks to the Ragged Mountain Running Shop, Visit Charlottesville, and the Charlottesville Track Club for their help and  providing many of the route maps listed below!

Editor's Picks

Some of our favorite runs in Charlottesville, VA

Rivanna Trail

The Rivanna Trail encircles Charlotteville for about 20 miles, covering prime ground on the banks of the... more...

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  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

Charlottesville has hot, humid summers and cool winters. Summer temps typically rise into the high 80s (28-30C), with nights remaining warm. Most rain in summer comes from downpours and thunderstorms. Winters are cool, with highs in the mid-40s (6C) and nights dipping below freezing, with occasional snow and ice. The gorgeous fall and spring are the best seasons for running in Charlottesville.

See VisitCharlottesville.org for hotels and more info. For access to the best running right outside your door, try to stay a mile or two from the UVA campus or downtown.

When it comes to running stores near Charlottesville, Ragged Mountain Running Company and Crozet Running are the top choices! They were super helpful in helping us with this guide.

The Charlottesville Track Club and the Charlottesville Area Trail Runners host frequent group runs.

Runners can find a race almost any given weekend in Charlottesville. Here’s a good event calendar, courtesy of Ragged Mountain Running Shop.

Some of the most popular events include:

Charlottesville Marathon

Charlottesville Ten-Miler

Charlottesville Women’s Four-Miler