Tucked a mere 20 minutes west of Charlottesville, Beaver Creek Reservoir plays an integral part in supplying the nearby town of Crozet, Va., with its essential water supply. And hold water it does. But it’s really the reservoir’s greater recreation opportunities that are the main draw to this hidden gem. Take in views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, cast out a line for hungry lunkers, or use the park as a hub for your next cycling adventure.
Hunting for a mixed gravel and road ride near Charlottesville? Perhaps your idea of a great day in the saddle includes semi-spicy gravel climbs, unpaved backroad descents, scenic views, worthy pit-stops and other recreational foray side-adventures. If so, look no further than the ride starting in Crozet and circling well beyond the Beaver Creek Reservoir Park.
Beaver Creek Reservoir Park spans 219 acres, though half of that acreage is covered by the reservoir. The park itself is lined with mesmerizing views in every direction; whether you’re gazing upon a sunset over the Blue Ridge or admiring the wildlife. And don’t forget to pack your favorite fishing rod for a pre- or post-ride angling adventure: Target the abundant populations of largemouth bass, catfish and panfish that call this manmade lake home.
This mixed-surface route’s starting point—the parking lot south of Beaver Creek Park road where it splits off the Browns Gap Turnpike—offers ample (and more importantly, free) parking, plus clean restrooms courtesy of Albemarle County.
Though the route consists of a nearly even 50% split of paved-to-unpaved roads (see turn-by-turn directions here), you’ll quickly be acquainted with a number of said unpaved climbs between miles 1 and 2. After conquering those initial gravel challenges, by Mile 3.7 you’ll hook a right onto Whitehall Road (passing the famed Henry’s Orchard). Nearly 14 miles later, you’ll have conquered both chunky gravel and smooth pavement, passed multiple vineyards, and arrived prepared for the route’s most notable POI: the “Cheese Nuns” (more on them later). You need to focus on a handful of impressive climbs and descents throughout the remaining 13 miles—be sure your water bottles are topped off. Finish your ride with a smile as the last half-mile is a smooth descent back to the starting point.