Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Diana Foster; (434) 964-1022
  • Site Access: Free, open daily sunrise to sunset
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Hiking Trails Information Parking

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Site PMR04: The Rivanna Trail Melbourne Road


The Rivanna River Trail encircles the entire City of Charlottesville. In this stretch it follows the course of Meadow Creek passing through open riparian forest and scrubby meadows. Although still well within the city limits, this trail provides an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Once you wander down to the stream bank, the sounds of the traffic disappear and are replaced by bird song and insect buzz. Northern cardinals will probably be one of the first residents you will meet and you should probably find several family groups in quick succession. Of course Carolina wrens and Carolina chickadees are both heard frequently, although it will take a more deliberate search to find the mewing gray catbirds in the undergrowth. As you walk the trails, look for the subtle beauty of little wood satyrs fluttering down the path or gray squirrels making their mad dashes through the leaf litter. These woods can produce some surprising visitors during spring and fall migration. During this time, black-throated blue and magnolia warblers can be found clambering around in the canopy, while common yellowthroats chatter in the bushes near your feet. During the winter months, yellow-rumped warblers and ruby-crowned kinglets invade the canopy, and the yellowthroats are replaced by eastern towhees.


From Riverview Park return to Monticello Avenue. Turn right onto SR 20 West and follow it for 0.2 miles to SR 20/E. High Street. Turn left onto E. High Sreet and follow it to US 250/US 250 Bypass. Go left and continue for 0.7 miles to Park Street. Turn right on Park Street and continue for 0.4 miles to Melbourne Road. Turn left on Melbourne and proceed 0.1 miles to the trailhead on the right.

Loop Map