What is the Virginia Creeper Trail?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a National Recreation Trail located between Abingdon, Virginia and Whitetop Station. The 34 mile rail-trail begins at Whitetop Station, part of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The best way to ride the trail is from the top of the mountain down to Damascus, Virginia. This section of the trail is around 17 miles long. You must schedule a shuttle to carry your bikes to the top where you will unload and coast at 5% grade back to the city of Damascus. Most of the trail is downhill! With no stopping along the way, it only takes 3-4 hours to ride this section. There are so many beautiful places to stop along the way, including an old train station! Picnic areas, rolling farmland, trestle bridges and gorgeous streams grace the views along the trail. It is quite the adventure!
Tips to take Along the Trail
I highly recommend taking a good camera, lots of water, as well as snacks! If you are renting bikes from a local shop, they provide assistance if you have a flat along the way. If you are taking your own bike, take a tire pump and repair kit. Seventeen miles is a long way if you have any issues with your bike. You will want a comfy bike seat! I also recommend taking a first aid kit! On our first ride down the trail, my then 5 year old crashed only 3 miles into the ride. Thankfully he only scraped his knee! The trail is not dangerous unless you aren’t watching the people riding in front of you and they stop to take in the beautiful sight!
One additional recommendation is check the temperatures! In Fall and Spring- sometimes even in early Summer, it is quite cold at the top of the trail. You will need winter gloves for your hands, a wind breaker, and something to cover your ears if it is cold. We carried backpacks to put our gloves and things away when it warmed up outside. Backpacks are also great for carrying drinks, snack, and the first aid kit!
Take breaks and stop to enjoy the moment! There are wonderful places to stop along the way to skip rocks, listen to the babbling brook, and get some great family photos! I hope you will go visit this truly amazing place! It is such a great adventure!
The Historic Green Cove Train Station
Don’t miss stopping at the historic train station! Inside you will find an old store and even an old U.S. Post Office.
It’s easy to imagine what it was like back in the days when the train chugged it’s way through the mountains of Virginia as you ride along the trail!
Places to Stay
We stayed at http://www.laurelcreekrvpark.com the last time we traveled to Damascus, Virginia. It was a lovely spot, right on the creek. We did not spend much time at the campsite because we were only there for one full day, which is when we rode the trail. It was very convenient- within walking or bike riding distance to restaurants and the bike shuttle services.
There are other places to stay if camping is not your thing! Check out this website for more information on the area: https://www.vacreepertrail.org/the-trail-experience/.
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