Well maintained and marked trails over light rolling hills give good exercise without being too mentally or physically taxing. Not too crowded the day after Thanksgiving. The scenery is varied, there are woods slopes, fields and river and marshlands to see.
Jacki M. on Ivy Creek Natural Area Trails
For a local trip and first trail hike with my kids it was perfect. Unfortunately the lake and streams were nearly dried up (we haven't had much rain lately) but if there was more water it would've been beautiful. Going around in circles got a bit boring but there were some beautiful, peaceful views. I also really liked how every trail was marked and color coded. That took away any uneasiness of getting lost with my children. I plan on going back and do recommend it.
If you have younger children & want to explore the woods with them, this is a great place. The trails are easy to navigate with varied terrain and none are very difficult. You pass through meadows, woods, ravines, stream bank, and along the reservoir. Great place to spend the day, picnic, and just enjoy the great outdoors. No need for "hiking gear" - athletic shoes do just fine. Surprisingly close to Charlottesville with good parking. It can be crowded if you are there during an event or a school trip, but most times it does not feel too busy. For experienced adult hikers, it will seem too tame.