The air is crisp, and the leaves are changing to those beautiful fall colors of Virginia we have all come to adore. One can see winter is coming, but it’s not quite here. Instead, we are at the perfect time to go hiking! Lucky for us Charlottesville is in close proximity to some of the best trails east of the Appalachian Mountains. What are these trails you might ask? Well, the closest trail would be the Rivanna Trail. You can go to http://rivannatrails.org/ to find interactive trail guides in order to find the closest starting point for you!
One of the most infamous trails to go explore would be Humpback Rock! We’ve all seen the Instagram’s of students at the top of the mountain during their sunrise hike! Well lucky for you, (and your photo album) humpback is only thirty minutes away down I-64 W. Stop by Bodo's and bring along a bagel to enjoy at the top of the mountain. Overall the trail is about 2-3 miles, and is not too bad of a hike, of course unless you take the shorter trail, which is all up hill!
If neither of these trails make you want to lace up and go, have no fear! Off of Blue Ridge Parkway there is the Dripping Rock overlook, which only takes a ¾ mile hike to get to the overlook. Insider tip: make sure to park at mile post 10! Then, in the south district of the Shenandoah National Park, there is also Chimney Rock (3.5 mile round trip), Blackrock Summit (1 mile round trip), and Jones Run waterfall (3.6 miles round trip).
Amidst a very stressful time during school, take advantage of all Charlottesville and Central Virginia have to offer! These trails offer beautiful views, and a chance to get away from all the work school gives. So find those hiking boots adn get out there, because in the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!” So go celebrate Take a Hike Day the right way!
Brianna Burnett is a third-year College student majoring in Sociology. She's been involved in Madison House, Women's Leadership Development Program Committee, University Mediation Services, and Outdoors Club.