“A pleasant creekside trail only a short drive from Charlottesville.”
— Chris Higby
River/Creek · Swimming · Waterfall
The trail is a little bit rocky and has a few creek crossings, but otherwise is a fantastic run. Can be combined with a road run along Sugar Hollow Road or a trail loop using the Appalachian Trail (AT), Turk Branch Trail
, and the SF Moormans River Road.
If starting at the lower parking lot, begin by running .5 miles up the road to the trailhead. There is only room for a few cars in the immediate vicinity of the trailhead.
About 0.4 miles into the run, you arrive at the first creek crossing. While it is only an easy rock hop across in the late summer, plan to take off your shoes and ford it in April or May. The creek opens up into a large swimming hole to the left of the crossing. Cross the creek two more times shortly after this (these crossings are easier).
About 1.9 miles into the trail, Big Branch approaches from the left. To see Big Branch Falls, run left before crossing Big Branch onto the Big Branch Falls Spur
. The falls are very pretty in the spring, but amount to a little more than a trickle down a rock face later in the summer. Another small and shallow swimming hole is located immediately beneath the falls.
After returning from Big Branch Falls, cross Big Branch to continue on the trail. About 3.4 miles from the start, the trail turns into a fire road (NF Moorman's River Road) which continues up to Skyline Drive.