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Your Guide to Outdoor Winter Activities


Winter Activities Around Charlottesville:
Where to Go and What to Do

Charlottesville is a wonderful city full of activities and experiences all year round. In the winter, the city offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages. Whether you are looking for a leisurely winter stroll around a park, a challenging outdoor adventure, or something in between, you will find plenty of options in Charlottesville. So, grab your gloves, scarf, and hat, and get ready to explore the great outdoors! 

 Parks and Trails to Explore 

Parks and trails are a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors in the winter. There are many beautiful parks in Charlottesville, and no matter which one you visit, you’re sure to enjoy the experience.  

 Pen Park is the largest park in the city. The park has an outdoor physical fitness course with ten exercise stations winding through the natural setting toward the Rivanna River. There is a 1 1/2-mile-long trail along the Rivanna river at the end of the nature trail. The park offers excellent recreation and leisure facilities including a playground and picnic area to enjoy. 

McIntyre Park is one of Charlottesville’s most popular parks. There are trails, a playground and picnic shelters. Should it snow, you will want to head to the Botanical Garden area for smooth sledding. 

Meade Park is also a great spot for winter sledding, with its large hill at the corner of Meade and Chesapeake. Just be careful not to sled into any playground equipment. 

The Rivanna Trail– This is a fantastic trail for hiking, running, or walking. The trail is 20 miles long and situated along the river surrounding Charlottesville. You can make your hike as long or short as you like as there are several spots where you can enter or leave the trail which makes it perfect for a peaceful stroll, or a more rigorous hike.  

Shenandoah National Park  is one of the most popular national parks in Virginia. It features miles of trails, stunning views, and plenty of wildlife. It is also home to Skyline Drive, a scenic road that runs through the park.  

 Skiing and Snowboarding Near Charlottesville 

If you are looking for some winter fun on the slopes, check out Wintergreen Resort or Massanutten Resort in nearby Harrisonburg. Both resorts offer world-class skiing, tubing, and snowboarding experiences with plenty of runs for all levels of skiers and riders. However, at Massanutten there is also an outdoor ice rink.  Wintergreen resort is located about 50 minutes away from Charlottesville and Massanutten Resort is located a little over an hour away from Charlottesville.

 Winter Camping Near Charlottesville 

Central Virginia’s more temperate climate makes winter an exciting time for a quick camping getaway. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful area to visit in the winter, and the cooler climate offers a fantastic insect-free outdoor experience. Not only do you get a unique opportunity to see the area in a different season but you can also enjoy a stunning night sky clear from summer haze.  

James River State Park has five campgrounds altogether. Three of them, Branch Pond, Walnut Grove, and Canoe Landing, are open year-round for primitive camping. Canoe Landing is the only campground on the river. These campgrounds include pit toilets but no drinking water. Potable water is available at five of the six picnic shelters. 

Misty Mountain Camp Resort is open all year round and within easy driving distance of Wintergreen Resort. This campground offers a variety of amenities and sleeping accommodations.  

 Shenandoah National Park is quite stunning in the wintertime, while the park’s campgrounds are closed in the winter, primitive camping in the backcountry is still available with a permit. I would recommend this type of adventure to only those who are experienced and well-prepared.  

 Tips for Enjoying Outdoor Winter Activities 

When you are participating in winter activities, there are a few considerations to bear in mind. Before you set off, consider checking the weather conditions, including the temperature, the wind chill, any possible precipitation, and how cold the temperature may become. Dress accordingly to keep warm. Remember to bring gloves, a hat, a scarf, and multiple layers of clothing that you can put on if you need more warmth while outside. It is also wise to let someone know your destination and expected time of return to make sure you are safe. 


Winter is a fantastic time to explore the outdoors in Charlottesville. There are a wide variety of activities and experiences to enjoy during the winter months, and there is no better way to experience the city than by getting outside. From skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and sledding, there is something for everyone. Whether you are visiting the city for the first time, or are a long-time resident, there is no better way to experience Charlottesville than by getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors. So, bundle up and get ready to explore! 


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