Kemper Park of Monticello

The advantage of living in Central Virginia is that many trails are available to me like Kemper Park in Monticello. This park seemingly hidden gives you the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for just a little while.

Trail Overview

Kemper Park is part of the Saunders-Monticello Trail system and has quite a few trails available to explore.

  • Saunders-Monticello Trail: This paved trail is a great option for a leisurely walk or bike ride. It winds through the woods, offering glimpses of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a serene two-acre pond.
  • Rustic Trails: Branching off from the Saunders-Monticello Trail, there are several rustic trails that delve deeper into the woods. These trails offer a more challenging hike with steeper inclines and beautiful natural scenery.
Kemper Park Trail

Kemper Park Trailhead and Access

Finding Kemper Park:

Kemper Park serves as the starting point for the Saunders-Monticello Trail. Here’s how to get there:

  • Address: Look for Kemper Park along Thomas Jefferson Parkway in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Parking: A small parking lot with 12 spaces is available near the park entrance. If it’s full, there’s overflow parking across from Piedmont Virginia Community College on Route 20.

Trail Conditions and Difficulty

Here’s a breakdown of trail conditions and difficulty at Kemper Park:

Saunders-Monticello Trail:

  • Conditions: This paved trail is generally well-maintained with a smooth surface. You might encounter some leaves or debris on the trail, especially after heavy rain or snowfall.
  • Difficulty: This mostly flat trail is considered easy and suitable for walkers, runners, cyclists, and even wheelchairs and strollers.

Rustic Trails:

  • Conditions: These trails can vary depending on the specific trail. They are generally unpaved and may have roots, rocks, and loose dirt. After rain, expect some muddy sections.
  • Difficulty: The rustic trails range from moderate to difficult. They tend to have steeper inclines and uneven terrain compared to the Saunders-Monticello Trail.

Points of Interest

  • Carter Overlook: Take in breathtaking views of Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Carter Overlook.
  • Arboretum: Discover a collection of native trees and shrubs, including special “outdoor rooms” for a unique perspective on the local flora.
  • Palmer Woodland Theater: This outdoor theater provides a natural setting for performances and events.
Kemper Park

My Experience

I enjoy visiting the rustic trails as dogs aren’t allowed on the Saunders-Monticello Trail section. Dogs also need to be on a leash in all areas. It’s a nice little workout and you have several trails to choose from that you can follow.

The trails are well marked and you can pull up a map on each post with a QR code to help you in case you get lost or want to see what trail you want to venture out into.

It’s a great alternative to get a chance at scenery from other local trails. Have you gone to Kemper park? What was your experience

German by birth, living, hiking, and camping in the US. Addicted to Coffee. Enjoys going to concerts. Also, Artist + Author. I love to encourage you to explore beyond your backyard. 

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