Saunders-Monticello Trail


4 Reviews

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Saunders-Monticello Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Charlottesville
Length: 2 miles
Trail end points: Kemper Park and David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, Monticello
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 9755384

Saunders-Monticello Trail Description

While the Saunders-Monticello trail leads to the home of one the United States most prominent presidents, it is quickly becoming a destination in itself. It’s less than ten minutes’ drive from Charlottesville, but offers an immersive escape into nature and history.

You can begin your journey at the parking lot just off State Route 20 (SR 20). From there, head south on the wide gravel trail, cross SR 53 (Thomas Jefferson Parkway) into Kemper Park. It’s a lush, wooded park with a man-made pond and many smaller off-shoot trails threading through it. The trail slowly snakes up the slopes of Carter Mountain to the entrance of Monticello, but don’t worry: a moderate grade is maintained through-out, making the trail accessible for walking, biking and wheelchair use. As you ascend, raised boardwalks take you up into the forest canopy. From this vantage point, birding is a treat. On your descent, savor the picturesque views of Charlottesville through gaps in the trees.

The trail ends where the forest opens up into the Visitor Center, not far from driveway up to the mansion.

Parking and Trail Access

To get to the State Route 20 parking lot, across from Piedmont Virginia Community College. To get there from Charlottesville, take Exit 121 A from I-64 E. Merge onto SR 20 and head south. Make a U-turn at SR 53, head north for 0.1 miles the turn right onto Dairy Barn Road, and then another right turn into the parking lot.

The State Route 53 parking lot is in Kemper Park. Rather than  making the U-turn on SR 20, make a left turn onto SR 53, and followed by another left into the trailhead parking lot in Kemper Park. This lot is holds fewer cars than the one on SR 20.

Saunders-Monticello Trail Reviews

Not Rail Trail

Beautiful Trail 270' up in 2 miles if you're in shape stunningly beautiful 2 miles.

wonderful trail

It was beautiful walk with wooded views along well maintained paths. There is a slight incline that makes it easy to go up hill. Very enjoyable!

beautiful !

Found this trail while scrolling for new places with nice scenery and this was definitely it ! I loved the smell of flowers as you walk by the trees and flower bushes. Will say it can be a bit confusing if you go off a bit off the trail that leads directly to the Monticello visitors area due to the lack of signs, so It’s best to use this app to help with the map, However, it was still great seeing all the greenery. Also the boardwalk views are amazing, highly recommend this trail, will be returning soon.

absolutely beautiful

The trail is great. Hard packed gravel or boardwalks take you from the parking area to the Monticello visitor center. There are 10 stunning wood boardwalks that take you along this tree lined path. It is a slight uphill all the way up - but then it’s a refreshing downhill back again. There are bathrooms and a small cafe at the Monticello visitor center as well.

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