Azalea Park. The park contains 23 acres and is located off Old Lynchburg Road. On the south side is Moores Creek, which adds to the park’s charm as it winds its way along the entire length of the park. Recreational facilities include a Little League baseball field, a concession stand, basketball courts, swing sets and playground. A fenced-in area is provided for off-leash dog activities. Dog owners need to clean up after their dogs; a plastic bag dispenser is provided. Garden plots are available for rent. For plot information, call 970-3592. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.**
Bailey Mini-Park. Small, quaint landscaped area at the corner of the U.S. 250 Bypass and Hillcrest Road. A park bench near tall trees offers a shady spot for lunch to those within walking distance of the park. There is limited on-street parking in the neighborhood. **
Belmont Park. This 3.1-acre park is between Stonehenge Avenue, Rialto Street and Druid Avenue. The park contains a full basketball court, benches, playground equipment, large shady oak trees and a courtyard with shelter for outdoor concerts such as the Annual Belmont Bash. A spray ground is operational from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is available on the street. **
Fifeville Park. A small neighborhood park within Grove, Spring and King streets. The fenced-in park rises above the surrounding streets and contains a basketball court, a shelter and playground. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is available on the street. **
Forest Hills Park. This 7.35-acre park provides spectacular views of Carters Mountain and is located on Forest Hills Avenue. An open recreation field and paved neighborhood trail lie at the lowest end of the site. The park also has a full basketball court, swing set, large spray ground, two pavilions and restrooms. Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be on a leash at all times. Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. **
Greenbrier Park. Consists of 28.3 acres in the Greenbrier neighborhood with walking/biking trails along Meadow Creek. There are views of sycamore groves, a meadow and Greenbrier Marsh, believed to be one of only two such natural marshes in the Virginia Piedmont region. Trails in the park are scheduled be restored and improved during the ongoing Meadow Creek stream restoration project. Construction activities may create intermittent closures. Open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. **
Greenleaf Park. This park contains 14 acres of grassy hillsides with hardwood and evergreen trees and is located on Rose Hill Drive. Greenleaf offers a playground area, a seasonal spray ground area, a picnic shelter with restrooms and a half-basketball court. There is a wide soft-surface trail that follows the creek near the U.S. 250 Bypass that connects the park to Walker Upper Elementary. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. **
Jackson Park. Located near the heart of downtown Charlottesville, this park includes a large equestrian monument of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson by Charles Keck. The monument was presented as a gift to the city in 1921 and is ranked as one of the three best equestrian statues in the world and is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails. The park also contains well-maintained flowerbeds and a number of benches. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. **
Jordan Park. The neighborhood park consisting of 3.1 acres is at the south end of Sixth Street Southeast and borders Moores Creek. The park has a basketball court, playground with area for children ages 2-5, grills and picnic tables. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking available on the street. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. **
Lee Park. This one-acre park is in the area between Jefferson Street, First Street Northeast, Market Street and Second Street Northeast. The park provides a lunchtime oasis in the downtown area, with benches, a number of checker/chess tables and colorful flowers and shrubbery. Part of the Virginia Civil War Trails. **
McGuffey Park. This 1.1-acre park is atop a hill next to the McGuffey Art Center at Second Street Northwest and Jefferson Street. Contains playground equipment, a basketball court and a “weeping water well” feature. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking available on the street. **
McIntire Park. One of the most popular parks in the city, McIntire is just off the U.S. 250 Bypass. There is a major community focus on the lighted softball fields, baseball field and the three shelters, which are used extensively from spring to fall. The park also contains a wading pool and a nine-hole sand and green golf course. There are nature trails on the west side of the park near picnic shelters and a new bridge to Charlottesville High School. The park is currently going through a master planning process that will likely result in some major changes. In April, McIntire Park hosts the carnival for the annual Dogwood Festival. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are separate entrances to the three major parts and parking is available at each. **
McIntire Skateboard Park. Located at McIntire Road and the U.S. 250 Bypass, the park is free and open to the general public. Equipment includes ramps, jumps and boxes. Safety equipment provided. Open 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with extended weekday hours in the summer. There is an attendant on duty during operational hours. Hours are subject to change and helmet, elbow and kneepads are required and available at site. The park location may be changing as part of a master planning process currently under way for McIntire Park. 244-0166. **
Meade Park. Houses the state-of-the-art Onesty Family Aquatic Center. The 15,750-square-foot center features a water slide, zero-depth entry family area with multiple water play features, lazy river, diving board and three lap lanes. The park also has a picnic pavilion, playground and an open field. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dogs are allowed outside the aquatic center and must be on a leash and under control. **
Meadowcreek Gardens. This 20-acre park is off Morton Drive near the intersection of Emmet Street and U.S. 250. Originally acquired in 1963, the park has since evolved into a set of 73 community garden plots where residents can rent space to grow flowers and vegetables. The remainder of the 20-acre park has been left undeveloped. Meadow Creek meanders through the woods along the entire southeastern portion of the park. The Rivanna Trail system runs through the park. To rent a garden plot, call 970-3592.**
Northeast Park. This 4.8-acre neighborhood park is at the corner of Sheridan Avenue and Calhoun Street. There is a full basketball court and playground facilities with area for children ages 2-5. A footbridge connects the park to Marshall Street. Picnic tables are available. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking available on the street. **
Pen Park. This 280-acre park is off East Rio Road and is considered the “gem” of the city’s park system. The largest park in the city, Pen Park includes the Meadowcreek Golf Course, eight tennis courts, a Little League baseball field with batting cage, fitness trail equipment, volleyball court, three outdoor picnic shelters and a large playground. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. **
Quarry Park. This 9.1-acre park is off Monticello Avenue. Facilities include a major baseball field, a minor baseball field, a T-ball field and a concession stand with restrooms. There is a parking lot near the restrooms and some off-street parking is also provided. The park has views of the nearby mountains and derives its name from the road that once led to an old stone quarry. The Rivanna Trail, a system of foot trails in and around the city, runs near the park. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. **
Rivanna Trail. A 20-mile rustic “urban wilderness” hiking trail built and maintained by volunteers that encircles the city. The handicapped-accessible trail begins at Riverview Park and meanders north about 2.3 miles, crossing under Free Bridge and U.S. 250 East along the Rivanna River. It serves as a community-wide resource for play, exercise, relaxation and nature-related recreation. 923-9022; www.rivannatrails.org.
Riverview Park & Rivanna Greenbelt. This 26.6-acre park is at the end of Chesapeake Street. Features include a playground, grill, benches, an open field, and a large paved parking area. Dogs are allowed off-leash on designated portions of the Rivanna Trail on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Dogs must be on a leash and under control in all other areas. The adjacent Rivanna Greenbelt trail provides opportunities for walking, jogging, bicycling, fishing or observing wildlife. The park is open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. **
Rives Park. This 4.3-acre neighborhood park consists of a flat open space with a view of Carters Mountain in the distance. It is located on Rives Street between Monticello and Florence roads. Features include a half-basketball court, athletic field, shelter and playground with area for children 2 to 5 years old. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Off-street parking available. **
Schenk’s Greenway. This trail connects of the old Lane High School (now the Albemarle County Office Building) to McIntire Park. Volunteers with Art in Place and the Living Center for Education partner with the city to keep the park attractive and clean and to promote its use and natural state.
Starr Hill Park. This small neighborhood park is at Seventh Street Northwest and Elsom Street and is currently an open field. Dogs must be kept on-leash. Limited parking available nearby. Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. **
Tonsler Park. This 7.4-acre park is on Cherry Avenue at Fifth Street Southwest and is one of the city’s busiest parks. Features include a recreation center, tennis courts, life-sized chess board, lighted basketball courts, a Little League field and extensive playground equipment. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Off-street parking is available by the tennis courts and in front of the recreation center. **
Washington Park. This 9.25-acre park is at the intersection of Preston Avenue and 10th Street near the center of Charlottesville. The park has three basketball courts (one lighted), a lighted outdoor pool with a wading area and bathhouse, a recreation building with restrooms and a playground area. There is also a regulation softball field, a basketball court and a multi-use field available on site. Dogs must be on a leash and under control. Open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking lots are at upper and lower levels. **
** Get more information on Charlottesville’s parks by calling the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Golf at 970-3589 or visiting www.charlottesville.org (search under departments listing).
Beaver Creek Lake. This 219-acre park is at 4365 Beaver Creek Road, Crozet. The lake is 104 water acres and has a boat launch, but swimming is prohibited. There are four picnic tables scattered throughout the park and restrooms are available. Fishing is permitted with the appropriate licensing. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round. Take U.S. 250 to Crozet, cross over Mechums River, turn right on Route 680. *
Charlotte Y. Humphris Park. This 25-acre park is open during daylight throughout the year. On Whitewood Road, which is off Hydraulic Road. *
Chris Greene Lake Park. This 239-acre park is at 4748 Chris Greene Lake Road, Charlottesville. The park features two beach areas, hiking trails, a dog park and areas for fishing and boating. There are eight picnic tables, two picnic shelters and five grills located throughout the park. The beach area is open for swimming from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the summer. Canoes can be rented during this time for $5 an hour. Fishing is permitted with the appropriate licensing. The park is open for daylight hours throughout the year. Take U.S. 29 toward Earlysville, turn left onto Route 649 (Airport Road), turn right onto Route 606 and turn left onto Chris Greene Lake Road.
Darden Towe Park. This 110-acre park is off Route 20 on Darden Towe Park Road. Jointly owned with the city, the park has three softball fields; four multi-purpose fields used for soccer, lacrosse and football; four tennis courts; and 3.8 miles of trails. Other park amenities include a wheelchair-accessible playground area, a picnic shelter with a seating capacity of 50, electricity and open grills, and restrooms. There is also canoe access to the Rivanna River. The park includes a one-acre dog park for dogs to run off-leash and owners to socialize. The park is open during daylight hours through the year. Take U.S. 250 toward Pantops Mountain, turn onto Route 20 North (Stony Point Road), turn onto Elk Ridge Drive. *
Dorrier Park. This two-acre park is at 250 Page St. in Scottsville. Park amenities include a softball field, soccer field, two tennis courts and walking path. The playground area is wheelchair accessible. The park has a picnic shelter with seating capacity of 50, electricity, but no grills. Restrooms are available. Take Route 20 to Scottsville, turn onto West Main Street and then onto Page Street. The park is open from 7 a.m. until dark throughout the year. *
Ivy Creek Natural Area. This 215-acre preserve is jointly owned with Charlottesville and managed with the help of the volunteer-based Ivy Creek Foundation. The area contains more than six miles of walking trails, but no pets, jogging, hunting, or collection of specimens is allowed on site. Take U.S. 29 to Hydraulic Road), turn onto Route 743 (Earlysville Road). 973-7772; www.ivycreekfoundation.org.
Mint Springs Valley Park. This 520-acre park is in Crozet. Amenities include swimming areas, five miles of hiking trails, fishing areas (with proper license) and boating access. The park also has six picnic tables and five grills scattered throughout and two picnic shelters with open grills and electricity. Park entrance fee charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Swimming: noon to 7 p.m. daily during the summer. Daylight hours, all year. Take U.S. 250 to Route 240, turn onto Route 788 (Railroad Avenue), turn onto Route 864 (Mint Springs Park Road). *
Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park. This 600-acre park features a series of multi-use trails for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding. Restrooms available on site. Open from 7 a.m. until dark throughout the year. From Charlottesville, follow Barracks Road (which turns into Garth Road) to the Piedmont Store in White Hall. At the store, go around the curve to Route 810 (do not go straight up to Sugar Hollow). Follow Route 810 for 7.8 miles and the parking area is on the left.
Preddy Creek Trail Park. This 571-acre park is at 3690 Burnley Station Road. The park has 8.6 miles of trails for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding. Trails range from easy to moderate. Restrooms are available. Open from 7 a.m. to dark, all year. Take U.S. 29 North to four miles beyond Airport Road, turn right on Burnley Station Road and park entrance is 2.6 miles on the left. **
Ragged Mountain Natural Area. (Closed until 2014 due to dam construction.) This 980-acre preserve surrounds the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and is owned by the city of Charlottesville. Features seven miles of trails through majestic forest, rugged terrain and areas rich with wildlife. 973-7772; www.ivycreekfoundation.org/raggedmountain.html.
Simpson Park. This 13.6-acre park is on Simpson Park Drive in Esmont. Features a Little League baseball field, a multi-purpose field for open use, two tennis courts and a basketball court. There is also a playground area and a wheelchair-accessible picnic shelter with three picnic tables and open grills. A three-feature water park area with sunning plaza is available from Memorial Day weekend through Oct. 1. Seasonal restrooms available. Hours are 7 a.m. to dark, all year. Take Route 20 to Route 712, left on Route 715, left on Route 627, then right on Simpson Drive. *
Thomas Jefferson Parkway and Kemper Park. Visitors are invited to stroll the parkway on Route 53, open from sunrise to sunset, year-round. The parkway features Kemper Park, an 89-acre expanse with an arboretum, pond, woodland theater and overlook. The Saunders-Monticello Trail stretches two miles along the south side of the parkway. The park is owned and operated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and manages Monticello. Limited parking is available at the base of Route 53 and additional parking is available in a lot off Route 20. Dogs are welcomed in some parts of the park, but must be kept on a leash and must not go past the pond on the Saunders-Monticello Trail. Open daylight hours through the year.
Totier Creek Park. This 209-acre park is on Totier Creek Road, Scottsville. Fishing (with proper licensing) and boating allowed on site. Three miles of trails. The are four picnic tables located in the park and restrooms are available. Open during daylight hours throughout the year. Take Route 20 to Scottsville, turn right onto Route 726, turn left onto Route 845.*
Walnut Creek Park. This 525-acre park is on Walnut Creek Park Road, North Garden. The park features 45 water acres with boat launch, 15 miles of single-track mountain bike trail, an 18-hole disc golf course and two beach acres for swimming. The beach is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the summer. There are four picnic tables scattered throughout the park and two picnic shelters available for rent. Open daylight hours, all year. Park entrance fee charged from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Take U.S. 29, turn left onto Route 708, turn right onto Route 631 and the park is located on the left.
* Get more information on Albemarle County parks by calling the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation at 296-5844 or visiting www.albemarle.org/parks.
Appalachian Trail. One-fourth of the Appalachian Trail lies in Virginia. Shenandoah National Park has 107 miles of graded Appalachian Trail and many side trails. The proximity of Skyline Drive — the trail crosses it 32 times — and connecting links offer an endless variety of trips never too far from a potential base of supplies. Visitors can enter Skyline Drive at the Swift Run Gap Entrance Station near the Greene-Rockingham county line or at the Rockfish Gap Entrance in Waynesboro. Views here are extraordinary. (540) 999-2170; www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm.