The Three Notched Trail (TNT) is a proposed shared use path from the City of Charlottesville extending to Ivy, Crozet, and the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton. Additionally, the trail will connect users to the University of Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and the Appalachian Trail.
A "shared use" path is typically a 10’ wide paved trail that is physically separated from the motor vehicle travel way and allows bi-directional pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Once built, the TNT will provide local residents and visitors with car-free transportation and recreational opportunities.
We see the Three Notched Trail being a part of a larger Mountains-to-Sea Trail, connecting the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. This continuous trail would make Virginia a trailblazer in outdoor recreation, tying together the Virginia Capital Trail with the proposed Birthplace of America Trail and Fall Line Trail. Imagine a continuous trail almost 200 miles long!
The Three Notched Trail is a project of the Rivanna Trails Foundation (RTF), a non-profit established in 1992 with a mission to “promote, create and protect pathways, trails and greenways in the Rivanna River Watershed”. RTF has partnered with the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, the University of Virginia, and numerous landowners to build and maintain over 27 miles of rustic and paved trails. Thousands of people use the Rivanna Trails each year for transportation, recreation, and access to nature.
There has long been local and regional interest in the development of a shared use path along the historic Three Notched Road. A shared use path following the Three Notched Road is highlighted in the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan, the Crozet Master Plan, the Jefferson Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, and the most recent Virginia Outdoors Plan. Segments of the shared use path were prioritized in the 2019 update of the Albemarle County Transportation Priorities list.
In 2022. Albemarle County joined the RTF in actively planning for the Three Notched Trail. Details on the RAISE grant feasibility study are here.