The Rivanna Trail loops around Charlottesville and Albemarle county, almost exclusively along privately-owned land. Hikers trek across pathways cared for by a couple hundred volunteers. The rustic trail is the best place to get away from it all without leaving the city, a fact that is increasingly recognized by developers, landowners, and government officials.
That’s a far cry from the early days of the trail, according to Diana Foster. She’s the past president of the Rivanna Trail Foundation, which runs the 20-mile pathway. Currently about 18 miles of the loop have been built, with another five miles of companion trails.
Every November, Foster leads a one-day trek around the trail to draw attention to the natural beauty of the urban wilderness. I recently took a much smaller trip with Foster through a small section of the Rivanna trail from Jordan park in southeast Charlottesville, to Fifth Street near the Willoughby section of town. I asked Foster to tell me about the ultimate goals of the Rivanna Trail Foundation.