Observatory Hill - Trail, Charlottesville, Virginia

Observatory Hill - Trail, Charlottesville, Virginia

DESCRIPTION

Tecnical and rocky and rooty and at some times of the year, covered with leaves. Typical Virginia riding at it's finest. If you've never been into the big hills of the west, this is a great testing ground. For those of you with technical skills it will test you. For those of you without technical skills, it will teach you. But don't be intimidated. This is what it's all about. And just before the downhills get to you they end (which has the depressing side effect of LOTS of climbing) This is a great place to train for the Va championship series if you're a racer, and there's also a race here held every March.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 23  
[Dec 09, 2009]
Rich
Cross Country Rider

Been riding here a couple of years. Took a little to grow on me but it has become a favorite ride. Very challenging, exspecially if you make the climb up from Fontaine Ave up through the rock garden. Prepare for alot of climbing. You can also easily access parts of the Rivanna Trail to lengthen your ride.

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Walnut Creek Park, Pleasant Grove

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 29, 2009]
jmumford
Downhiller

Good trail. Not being local it was a little confusing. Ran into a local rider who gave me little advice on where to ride. But always ended up on what looked like a large fire road or a pave road. That was probably just my since of direction. Good climbs and found a few long down hills through rock gardens and one with a switchback which were fun.

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Buttermilk and northbank

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Sep 21, 2008]
surfnvb7
Cross Country Rider

New to the area, and rode there once. I definitely think I took the wrong routes, as I seemed to be riding uphill more than half the time through rock gardens.

I don't know the area that well, so someone give me a good loop to go through using this map:
http://www.cambc.org/images/OHill_Trail_Map.pdf

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if you are ever in southwest virginia, its worth checking out the pandopas pond & Brush Mtn area. best natural single track trails I've ever been on.

no room for bridges and other man made obstacles, its all natural here.

plus, there are lots of really cool trails that are not on the maps. I think they were actually older trails that have been "forgotten" about.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Mar 31, 2008]
dave_n_va
Cross Country Rider

Observatory (OHill) is packed with about 7 miles of steep, rocky, rooty, technical single track. There is not much here for the beginners but if you are an intermediate to advanced rider, then this is a little slice of heaven right in the middle of C'ville and next to the UVA campus. Unlike all of the riding in the Virginia Piedmont that labels inclines as "cardiac hill" or "lung buster mountain", OHill has the climbs of sufficient duration to put you in "a spot of bother" to say the least. Some free ride obstacles have been setup but it is unclear if these are sanctioned by CAMBC (cambc.org). Part of the Rivanna Trail passes through OHill along the base of the hill parallel to RT 29. OHill is a piece of cake to navigate since you just go up hill to get to the observatory or look at the cars on RT 29 traveling north to point you, well north. There are a few maps for OHill, one on http://www.gpstrailsource.com/Maps.aspx?MapID=19 and another at http://cambc.org/rides.php.

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Sherando
Walnut Creek

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 08, 2007]
cbdad1972
Cross Country Rider

Echo the previous comments...

Customer Service

I was on business here for a week and rode the trail 3 times. I parked by some stores close to Ivy & I29. There is a small fire house just before I29 where you can pick the trail up and ride about 2-3 miles through small hills and a few jumps and bridges. Just keep going right at any splits in the trail. This will bring you out to the southern part of O-Hill on Fountaine/JPA. From there you go double back or just keep follwoing the trails up.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 23, 2006]
schlakovic
Cross Country Rider

O-Hill is killer for being on the UVA grounds. I have ridden it a few times, and I can say that it has a LOT of stuff. It has a freeride park, some ladder bridges, a few rock gardens, logs, fast downhills, and grueling climbs. the one downside is that it is way overcrowded (too many trails merging and cutting into each other).

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 16, 2006]
eggraid101
Cross Country Rider

This trail packs a lot of punch. It has a little bit of everything, and is very convenient to Charlottesville and especially UVa. It is mostly singletrack, but it also has a good fireroad climb, as well as a paved road that bisects the trails. You can get as big a workout as you want here, and it offers enough in the way of technical riding to keep your skills honed. UVa used to have a race here at least once a year, called the O-Hill Meltdown, and it was a lot of fun.

Customer Service

There is one main loop around the "mountian" with many trails branching off from there. You can pretty much go in any direction, and if you get lost just keep going up and you'll eventually run into the road.

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OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Sep 25, 2005]
lawhoo
Cross Country Rider

This is a great set of trails that are very convenient to central Charlottesville. It's a small place, but there are lots of great climbs and downhills linked by rolling and techincal singletrack. Prepare to climb up to the top of the mountain a few times using different trails to get in a solid ride. There is enough trail here for one or two hour rides .

Customer Service

Check out the UVA mountain bike club site for a map of the race course. The 5 mile race loop is tough, but it serves as a good overview. It almost goes around the entire area and intersects the other main trails.

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OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 18, 2004]
Billy Brown
Cross Country Rider

These are my favorite trails around. I ride them about 3 times a week. The problem is that they are short. I usually don't get much more than 40 minutes of riding out these trails. But I'm not usually trying to make loops either. I just ride up on the road, then back down through the trails to my doorstep. There are many possibilities I haven't explored, but most of the longer loops I would guess require intensive and technical climbing. There are sections for all skill levels, though it is not really a great place for beginners. It depends on your route, but you often have to ride on more advanced sections to get to or leave the lower skill level sections. For example, the second half of my recommended route has some nice, fast trails without much climbing or techinical stuff. But the first half has some treachorous decents that beginners should approach with caution. A good place for short weekday rides. Not such a good place for the longer weekend rides.

Customer Service

Start at the trail about 100 feet past the main trailhead, which runs along the fence. You'll cross a road. On the other side of the road, take the trail that veers left (as if you were taking the short loop). Take either the 2nd right off of this trail and wind your way down to the actual Rivanna Trail (the stuff near the highway). Take the Rivanna Trail out of the woods, ending up at the intersection of Ivy and 250. Ride home or to your car.

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OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 19, 2004]
deighvx
Cross Country Rider

Some parts of this trail are certainly better than others. As a C-ville resident, I enjoy riding up there and then playing around on the loops for a while before heading home. Most of the loops are pretty short and just when the going gets good, it ends.

Customer Service

Any

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OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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