Ragged Mountains

What is 980 acres, 4 miles long, and contains sassafras and witch hazel ?


If you guessed one of C-villes many wonderful parks, you’re on the right track. Today, the Ragged Mountains contain hiking trails, two lakes, and several historic structures. The one in the photo to the right is located along one of the original dams. Please submit a comment if you can explain why it rests atop so many courses of rocks. The original reservoir was built in 1885 due to an increased demand for water from the city and university.

Two hundred years earlier, Edgar Allen Poe featured this locale in a story by the same name.

A Portrait of Edgar Allen Poe

In it, a person named Bedloe seeks solace in the “wild and dreary hills.” I advise reading Poe’s atmospheric “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” (1844) before you go (and grabbing a RMNA Trail Map). To enjoy Poe a little closer to home, visit Poe’s former dorm room on the UVA campus. Poe entered UVA in 1826, but was expelled within the year for not paying his debts. During his short sojourn in Charlottesville, he and a mysterious friend named Nella were seen hiking in the mountains mentioned above. To see a hand-colored black and white photo of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir in 1920 from Dave Norris’ historic postcard collection, visit his blog, Cville Dave.