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Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve - Crozet, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
4.3 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
3.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,220 ft
Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve
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Crozet VA Weather Forecast
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Parking at Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve. 38.22104, -78.64951

This is a great little hike not too far from Charlottesville and is the newest park in the Albemarle County Park system. It was donated by the Byrom family to be used as a county park. There is a nice vista at the Gibson Mountain Overlook at about the halfway mark, and is a great workout to get there climbing 1200 feet in 2.1 miles for the payoff. At one point in the hike, if you hiked almost directly north, you would be only 1.4 miles from Loft Mountain Campground in Shenandoah National Park. Trail intersections are well marked, however there are no trail blazes.

The drive to the trail head will remind you of many of the trails in SNP as you drive on Brown's Gap Turnpike and cross over Doyle's River.

  • Mile 0.0 – The trail begins just behind the information kiosk and starts to climb very quickly on the Great Mountain Trail. In 0.5 miles there will be a view of the creek on the left.
  • Mile 0.6 – Bear right onto the Blue Ledge Trail and very quickly you will bear to the left to stay on the trail.
  • Mile 1.0Small bridge, not far after the bridge bear right onto the Little Flat Mountain Loop trail.
  • Mile 1.4Reach a Picnic Table. Follow sign to continue up the Little Flat Mountain Loop trail. Note: From the picnic table if you hiked directly north you would reach Loft Mountain Campground in 1.4 miles, it would be one tough hike with over 1400' feet of elevation gain. There is no trail, we just mapped it out on our topo software from that point to see how close we were.
  • Mile 2.1Arrive at the Gibson Mountain Overlook looking south to the parking area and Blackwell Hollow. There is a nice bench to take in the views and catch your breath. Continue on the trail and quickly bear to the left and start heading down.
  • Mile 2.3 – Catfish Rock on the left, big rock, no views.
  • Mile 2.4 – Intersection with Blackwell's Trail. If you continued straight on the Little Flat Mountain Loop, it is a very steep descent. We did both trails and recommend Blackwell's Trail.
  • Mile 2.6 – Continue on Blackwell's Trail, there is supposed to be a Winter View here, we did not see much but maybe there was still too many leaves on the trees.
  • Mile 3.3 – Reach intersection of Little Flat Mountain Loop trail again and bear to the left.
    Note:  This is where we hiked back up Little Flat Mountain Loop trail to see how tough it would be coming down that way and is why we made our recommendation at Mile 2.4.
  • Mile 3.6 – Little Flat Mountain Loop trail bears to the left, stay straight to continue to the Great Mountains Trail.
  • Mile 3.8 – Reach the Great Mountains Trail and continue down to the parking lot.
  • Mile 4.3 – Parking Lot, end of hike.
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Hiker Reviews For The Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Jo Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 17, 2017
This is a great hike for folks in the Charlottesville area if you don't want to drive up to Shenandoah, but it is steep. My family (middle school/HS aged kids) and I have now hiked it twice - once in May, once in September. In May we went counterclockwise around the outer loop, and for me, with knees that have trouble on the downhills, it was tough, as we hit the straight (no switchbacks) steep part on the downhill. In September, we hiked clockwise, and this was much, much better since we hit the steep part with no switchbacks on the uphill - it's really steep and aerobically challenging - but we knew it would be a climb going in. The downhill steep part going clockwise meant switchbacks, which saved my knees. The only issue is that in September there were a HUGE number of acorns on the path between the summit and Crooked Tree, and it was like walking on ball bearings on occasion - no one fell, but you need to be careful. I'd like to go back when the leaves are down, for better views. Ticks were bad in the spring, but not in September (though we did use a higher DEET spray in September)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 13, 2017
As rated, overall a nice hike with nice views as long as the leaves are off. I was there on a weekday and had the whole place to myself except for some workers next to the parking lot. Take heed to what they are saying about the steepness. It isn't a long distance to the top, but there are sections with grades that left me gasping for air. I'm a believer in the saying "hiking uphill gets you tired, hiking downhill gets you hurt." I hiked down the Little Flat trail on the west side. It seems to be an old jeep trail they inherited, but there are sections I'll swear are over 25% grades. I then hiked back up Blackwell for a comparison. The trail narrative is accurate and I'll also recommend Blackwell. If do you hike down Little Flat, please be careful. Twice I slipped on lose materials and landed on my ass, but no injury except my ego.

By: DiGiSav Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 30, 2016
It is a good short hike, the trees provide excellent shade for a summer hike. I'll echo the previous reviewer that commented regarding the lack of switchbacks making for a near constant ascent, and descent. The deer tick and Lone Star tick population however is BOOMING there. I do not exaggerate when I say my daughter, my dog and myself had over 40 ticks. I was still pulling them off hours later, and now every time I feel a little tickle on my skin I get a little panicked...

By: Sally Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Nice climb towards highest point where you can take a break and enjoy the view on a bench. The surrounding country is very beautiful. Clear evidence that the path is being just by horses too...Big bummer was the three ticks (Lone Star and Dog Ticks?) that came home with us, one fell out of clothing and two where on my daughter's scalp, hiding under the hair on the back of her head. We have been hiking in the Shenandoah area for several years now, but this is the first time we've encountered them. Be aware (wearing long pants is not sufficient)!

By: Josh Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 19, 2015
Beautiful hike and other reviews are comprehensive, though I was disappointed to find that this is another trail that horse riders are not using horse manure catchers. If you ride, please be responsible and follow Leave No Trace principles.

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Mid November
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