Greenbrier Park and the Meadow Creek Trail

Description

Greenbrier Park and the adjacent Meadow Creek Trail are nestled within an area known as the Meadow Creek Valley. The area provides an oasis for wildlife amidst a busy suburb of Charlottesville. The Valley contains a diverse complex of habitats: Meadow Creek, its surrounding woodland, a meadow, and wetlands, including Greenbrier Marsh, which is one of just two natural marshes in Virginia’s Piedmont region. Greenbrier Park offers easy access to the area with a crushed gravel, multi-use trail that parallels Meadow Creek. The “Meadow Creek Trail” is an unpaved hiking trail with a rock hop that crosses over Meadow Creek. Both of these trails are part of the Rivanna Trail system, a 20-mile rustic trail around Charlottesville.

Over 150 species of birds have been observed in Greenbrier Park. Numerous species of migrating warblers take advantage of this habitat in both spring and fall. In the late spring and summer months, look for orioles, wood thrush, eastern wood-peewee, blue-grey gnatcatcher, common yellowthroat, and indigo bunting. Red-shouldered hawks, eastern bluebird, a diversity of woodpeckers, and other common woodland birds may be seen year-round. In the cooler fall and winter months, look for kinglets, winter wren, a diversity of sparrows, and yellow-rumped warbler.

In addition to birds, Greenbrier Park provides excellent habitat for white-tailed deer, which may be observed year-round, and amphibians, including spring peepers, American toads, green frogs, and pickerel frogs. Frogs may be heard calling from late winter through the summer. In late winter, spotted salamanders migrate and breed in the park’s complex of forested wetlands.

Conservation Efforts in the Area

Once identified as an “impaired waterway,” largely due to excessive sediment from steambank erosion, Meadow Creek underwent a major stream restoration project from 2012-2013. The stream restoration project was a collaborative effort between the City of Charlottesville and The Nature Conservancy and was funded by the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. The project restored 9,000 feet of Meadow Creek and protected over 75 acres of forest and wetlands. As part of this project, the entire Meadow Creek Valley, including Greenbrier Park and the Meadow Creek Trail, is now protected under a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy. This easement protects this habitat corridor in perpetuity.

Directions

Physical Address: 1933 Greenbrier Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Street parking for Greenbrier Park and the Meadow Creek Trail is available at the intersection of Brandywine Drive and Greenbrier Drive.

From US-29, north of Charlottesville: Travel south on US-29 and exit VA 631/ Rio Road. Turn left onto VA 631/ Rio Rd. Continue 1.2 miles to Greenbrier Drive. Turn right onto Greenbrier Drive and travel 0.4 miles to the stop sign by Greenbrier Elementary School. Turn right at the stop sign to stay on Greenbrier Drive. Travel 0.2 miles to the three-way stop at the intersection of Greenbrier Drive and Brandywine Drive. Greenbrier Park will be on the left at that intersection. Turn right onto Brandywine Drive for street parking.

From the intersection of I-64 and US-29: From I-64, take exit 118B for US-29 North. Travel 4 miles, and then continue straight onto US 250 East. Travel 0.3 miles, then turn left at the traffic light onto Hydraulic Rd. Carefully watching for merging traffic, take an immediate right onto Brandywine Drive. Continue 1 mile on Brandywine Drive to the three-way stop with Greenbrier Drive. Greenbrier Park will be on the right at that intersection. Turn left onto Brandywine Drive for street parking.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: City of Charlottesville: 434-970-3656, trails@charlottesville.gov, gensic@charlottesville.gov
  • Website
  • Access: free; open daily 6 am – 9 pm

Birds Recently Seen at Greenbrier Park and the Meadow Creek Trail (as reported to eBird)

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Blue Jay
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Carolina Wren
  • European Starling

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails