Distance: 15 miles of trails
Biking: yes; mountain
Wheelchair/stroller accessible: Not really. There is a small portion (less than .25 miles) of paved trail.
Fee: Memorial Day through Labor Day: $3 Adult/$2 child for residents of Albemarle County ($4.50/$3 for non-residents)
Check out the county website.
Take a virtual tour.
Walnut Creek Park has a lot to offer in the way of outdoor recreation. There is a disc golf course and fifteen miles of trails for hiking, trail running or mountain biking all situated around a beautiful lake. During the summer months, there are lifeguards on duty at the beach, and canoes available to rent.
There is a new playground located in the woods adjacent to the far parking lot.
The trails range from smooth to fairly technical.
Running at Walnut Creek is a treat for me. There are two loops that I like to do depending on how far I want to run.
Short loop (about 3 miles): This loop combines the Blue Wheel Trail with a small portion of the C’ville Bike and Tri Just Climb It trail. Beginning at the far parking lot (the one with the picnic pavilion, bath house and swimming beach,) Turn left at the far end of the parking lot and follow the steep rocky trail down and across the grassy dam. As you cross the dam, the lake will be on your right. Enter the woods directly in front of you and begin climbing with the lake still to your right. This is the Blue Wheel trail. After about half a mile, there will be a trail (also marked blue) on your right. Turn right. In a little over a mile, the trail will dead end back at the trail you started on. Turn right and follow the trail down. After a while, there will be a creek on your right and then a steep climb back up to the dam. Turn right out of the woods and cross the dam again. This time, look for a trail off to your right. Turn onto this trail and the creek you were running along before will now be on your right. The trail turns and climbs back up toward the road. When you hit the road, turn left and take the road back to your car.
Long Loop: (8.8 miles) This loop combines the short loop with another, longer loop. I start this one in the lower parking lot (the first one on the right after you enter the park.) Look for the trail that heads toward the lake near the entrance of the parking lot. Follow it along the lake and across the foot bridge, then turn left onto Luke’s Loop, then bear left onto Wilkin’s Way (red). Keep to the left to stay on Wilkin’s Way until you come to the Bike Factory trail (blue) on your left. Take this trail until it comes out at the entrance road, near the gate. Cross the road and take the trail (orange) into the woods. This is C’ville Bike and Tri’s Just Climb It trail. Follow this trail all the way until you come out at the dam. At the top of the hill, turn left and cross over the dam. Take the trail to the left (blue) and continue down, along the river and then back up. As you near the top of a long, gradual hill, look for a trail (also blue) on your left. Take this trail until it intersects with the trail you started on. Turn left again and follow the trail back down to the dam. Cross back over the dam and follow the trail up to the parking lot. Cross the parking lot and take the trail to the left of the playground (facing it from the parking lot). When you get to the grassy, open area, continue to follow the trail across and into the woods. The trail will take you back to the parking lot where you started.