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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Looking for a Simple Hike Near Charlottesville, VA? Check out Preddy Creek!

Do you live in the Charlottesville, Virginia area and want to enjoy a hike but just can't make it to the AT? Preddy Creek Trail Park is only a short drive from Charlottesville up HWY 29 and is a great way to escape into the hills for a few hours. 

Note: This description is for hikers or trail runners, but there are also mountain biking and horse trails here.

My husband is a runner and I am not. I hate to run and the entire time I am running I am exhausting myself thinking how much I hate running. However, I love hiking. I can hike all day and I can kick my runner husband's butt with a pack on going up a mountain trail. The problem with this though is that I need to exercise, often, and I live in Gordonsville, about 20-minutes outside Charlottesville, Virginia. If you know the area, there are beautiful hills and forested areas, but you have to drive to get to the good mountain hiking, so my daily workout routines needed to involve something a little closer to home. This dilemma, ladies and gentlemen, is how my über-supportive hubby got me into trail running. He helped get me out of a gym and off the hard asphalt and into the woods and this is how we found Preddy Creek Trail Park.

Preddy Creek Trail Park is an area of over 570 acres and has 10 miles of loop trails. The park is well maintained with plenty of parking and there is even a bathroom (bonus!). The trails themselves are well marked and in my opinion are perfect for trail running because you can go the full 10 miles or just complete short loops. There are many loop options so you can switch up your route if your workout is getting too repetitive. The elevation gain is not significant, but you are in the hills, so your lungs and legs still get something out of the run. My husband and I like the Preddy Creek Loop which connects to the Creekside Trail (this is where you actually get to see Preddy Creek and yes, it has water). This loop is 4.4 miles with a nice flat section next to the creek part way through for a little breather.

Many people enjoy Preddy Creek Trail Park for easy to moderate hiking and there are also trails for mountain biking and horseback riding if that interests you. Because the park is used by hikers, runners, bikers, and horses you have to be a little more aware of who is on the trail with you (or behind you), but we have never had any issues. There are some trails that are specifically for mountain biking and they are well marked. The park opens at 7am and closes at dusk, so you have a lot of flexibility.

Enjoy this local spot and you can even find a place for a picnic! Another bonus is that is right down the road from some great wineries. I'm always up for a wine tasting after a work out - gotta reward yourself!

Click here for a complete trail map.


Pack List

  • Trail Running
    • trail running shoes (there is the potential for mud, so I have trail running shoes and gym shoes)
    • running clothes (dress for the weather)
    • CamelBak or hydration belt 
  • Hiking
    • hiking shoes or boots (personally, I do not think boots are necessary unless there is snow on the ground as the trails are marked easy - moderate)
    • hiking poles if you like/need them
    • hiking clothes
    • CamelBak or water bottle
    • picnic! 

    Hiking, Mountain Biking, Running, Horseback Riding

    Skill Level:
    Beginner (for hiking)

    Year Round

    Trail Type:

    10 Miles (full loop)

    Elev. Gain:
    550 Feet
You have a lot of route options!

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