Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail Damascus VA
A group of friends took a weekend trip to Damascus Virginia to bike a portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail with Traveling Ink, Sundog Outfitter, and Adventure Damascus. The ride was 17 miles and took just under 3 hours. There were a number of streams and scenic overlooks to stop and take in the great outdoors and the trip was a gradual descent so it was less of a workout and more of an enjoyable ride. It was a great way to spend a weekend!
The Virginia Creeper Trail Damascus, VA Virtual Tour - Bike Rentals & Great Food
The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and a must do! Check out our bike ride down the mountain with some of the most amazing views you'll ever see.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is located in Damascus, VA in the Southwestern Part of Virginia near Bristol, TN. Just a 2 hour drive from Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains, it's definitely worth the trip if you're ever in the area.
Bike the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus, VA
I had heard great things about the Rails to Trails Conservancy, which repurposes decommissioned railways into a nationwide trail network. So I jumped at the chance to ride one of their biggest success stories -- the Virginia Creeper Trail.
The U.S. Forestry Service estimates that over 200,000 people visit this trail each year. That provides enough business for eight bike rental and shuttle services in Damascus. I went with Bicycle Junction. The shuttle carted us up to Whitetop Mountain for the group to enjoy the 17 miles of downhill, dropping 2,000 feet in elevation.
For TransAmerica cyclists whose bikes can handle the gravel, the DIY way is to pedal yourself up to the top of Whitetop Mountain on the road, which is on the route anyway. For Westbounders, you could even take the trail down into Damascus instead of the road!
As the saying goes, Virginia is for lovers. You can find the photo-op to prove it at the Damascus Old Mill Inn. My stay at this historic landmark hotel stands out a lodging highlight of the entire cross-country trip. It's the perfect retreat for trail-weary hikers and bikers. They even have a special room rate just for us.
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Virginia Creeper Trail Mountain Biking Adventure, Damascus, VA
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 35-mile (56 km) multi-purpose rail trail in southwestern Virginia. The trail runs from Abingdon to Whitetop, Virginia, near the North Carolina state line – through National Forest and crossing numerous restored trestles and crossing the Appalachian Trail.
The trail descends from Abingdon to Damascus, traversing rolling farm countryside and numerous parcels of private property – requiring opening and closing private gates along the route. From Damascus, hikers, cyclists and equestrians ascend to Whitetop, following Laurel Creek. Cyclists can use a shuttle service to Whitetop for the 17-mile (27 km) return descent.
The trail runs on a rail right-of-way dating to the 1880s — first belonging to the Abingdon Coal and Iron Railroad. After investing sizable capital without actually opening, that company went out of business. In the early 1890s the company's assets were purchased by the Virginia-Carolina and Southern Railway. It too had financial trouble and its assets were purchased by the Virginia-Carolina Railway.
In February 1900, the Virginia-Carolina Railway began operating in Damascus, Virginia. By 1912, the railroad extended to Whitetop and by the end of the decade to Elkland, North Carolina (now Todd). The train ran to Todd until 1933, when the terminus moved to West Jefferson.
In 1957 the last steam engine retired, replaced by diesel powered engines. By 1974, the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line. In 1977 hard rains flooded and damaged most of the line, which was left un-repaired.
In 1977 removal of the track began and the land in Virginia was secured by the US Forest Service for a recreation trail. The land in North Carolina was returned to the land owners. In Virginia, the right-of-way is owned by the Towns of Abingdon and Damascus, and by the National Park Service and the National Forest Service.
Driving through Damascus, Virginia
Damascus is a town in Washington County, Virginia, United States. The population was 814 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Kingsport–Bristol (TN)–Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the Tri-Cities region.
Damascus is the home of the annual Trail Days festival, and is known as Trail Town USA due to the convergence of four scenic trails in the town, including the Appalachian Trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 76, The Iron Mountain Trail, and the Virginia Creeper Trail. Damascus also is on the route of the Daniel Boone Heritage Trail and the Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail. The Trail Days festival is held around the middle of May each year and draws in excess of 20,000 tourists, making it the largest single gathering of Appalachian Trail hikers anywhere.
Virginia Creeper Trail: Whitetop to Abingdon
On an early weekday morning in June, I drove to the Virginia Creeper Trail Visitor Center located in historic downtown Abingdon, Virginia. Two blocks away, I caught a shuttle from Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop up to Whitetop Station, the most popular access point and considered the eastern trail head, even though there is another 1.3 miles of trail east of Whitetop Station (I too skipped this part). The first half of the trail is the 17 mile Whitetop to Damascus section. It's downhill almost all the way, with the first several miles being a fairly significant 5%+ grade. This section is characterized as mainly passing through portions of the Jefferson National Forest and follows Whitetop Laurel Creek, with many scenic creek views including small cascades and waterfalls. There are numerous camp sites along this section of the trail. The Creeper also host a few miles of the Appalachian Trail north of Damascus.
The trail passes through downtown Damascus, and continues west along the South and Middle Forks of the Holston River, passing the historic depot town of Alvarado, beautiful farm land, and peaceful woodlands with numerous rocky bluffs. The trail is mostly flat or slightly downhill west of Damascus until crossing the Holston River. There, the trail begins a slow, steady climb up to Abingdon. While there are a few long steady grades, overall the trail only climbs about 700 feet over 7 or 8 miles. It's mostly a gradual climb that is only really felt in a few short sections.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34.3 mile multi-use trail that begins in Abingdon, Virginia, and crosses the Holston River Valley to climb up the lower slopes of Whitetop Mountain and on to the VA/NC border. The trail has not be developed into North Carolina. The trail is open year-round for hiking, biking, and equestrian use. The trail is managed and maintained by the towns of Abingdon and Damascus, along with numerous other partnerships. The majority of the rail bed right of way is located on private property.
The Virginia Creeper Trail derives it's name from a type of plant, called Virginia Creeper, that commonly growns in the area. One can certainly imagine that the old steam locomotives, loaded with coal, iron, timber, passengers, and other goods, that slowly chugged up and down the line were quite literally Creepers as well. Construction of the railway began in the 1880s, but was not fully completed until the early 1900s. In it's day, Whitetop Station became the highest elevation standard gauge rail station east of the Rocky Mountains serviced by a regularly scheduled train. Many small towns popped up along the route of the railroad. The economic crash of the 1930s brought development of the area to a standstill, and by the 1950s there were no longer any trains servicing this line. In the 1970s, after heavy rains and flooding damaged much of the line, the tracks began to be removed. Thereafter, the National Forest Service and the towns of Damascus and Abingdon worked to establish the recreational trail along the old rail bed. Today, thousands of people visit the trail each year.
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Virginia Creeper Trail September 2017
So have you guys ever biked from Whitetop, VA to Damascus, VA down the Virginia Creeper Trail? If you have not you need to it is beautiful. Leave me a comment below your experiences on the trail if you have ridden it before!! Thanks for watching and don't forget to hit that LIKE and SUBSCRIBE for more!!
The 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail, traversing through two counties from Abingdon, Virginia, through Damascus, and ending just past Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, at the Virginia-North Carolina border. Today, the trail corridor lies half on federal land managed by the US Forest Service and half on property owned by local governments. In the 30 years since its opening, the Creeper Trail remains one of the country’s premier rail-trails, honored as the inductee into the 2014 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of numerous local, regional and national accolades.
Q & A about the trail....
*How far is the ride from Whitetop to Damascus?
17 miles, almost all downhill. You'll have to pedal the last 3 miles as it flattens out a bit.
*How long will it take?
From 2 1/2 to 3 hours (it took us about 4.5 to 5 cause we ate lunch) depending on how leisurely you want to be about it. I suggest that you take your time because there are many beautiful places to stop and take it all in.
*Are there water and food and bathrooms along the trail?
Yes, there are vault toilets at the trailhead at Whitetop Station, 3 miles down the trail at Green Cove Station and for customers at the cafe in Taylor's Valley. Water is available for free at Whitetop and is for sale at Green Cove and Taylor's Valley. The Creeper Trail Cafe, a nice little cafe at Taylor's Valley, about 11 miles down. There are numerous lunch choices in Damascus.
*What is the surface of the Virginia Creeper Trail like?
Crushed limestone and cinders left over from the train days. Firm in most places on the Whitetop to Damascus end, some rocky places on the Abingdon to Damascus end.
*Do cell phones work on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Not on the upper section. You are in a gorge and in the middle of the forest most of the time. Thank goodness we don't have cell towers out there! They sometimes work on the Abingdon to Damascus section depending on your carrier. Damascus has service provided by Sprint and Verizon. Some Verizon customers get a signal in the parking lot in front of Mojoe's Coffee Shop. AT&T does not work in Damascus.
*Is there camping allowed on the Creeper Trail and other camping?
Camping along the trail is fine as long as it's not on private property. The US Forest Service/Mt Rogers National Recreation Area also maintains some nice campgrounds. Look at them at southernregion.fs.fed.us/gwj/mr or click here.
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Virginia Creeper Trail - Damascus, VA - November 2018
Family bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail
Virginia Creeper Trail Ride
A bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. July 6, 2014
This ride took me from the town of Damascus to Abingdon and back for a total of about 30 miles. This section of the trail passes through farm land where the other section is mostly national forest.
Music by Jason Shaw.
Virginia Creeper Trail -Path Pedaler Episode 5
In this video Mary Jo rides the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34 mile long rail trail She starts her ride by catching a shuttle from Damascus to Whitetop Station. She then has nice downhill ride past Green Cove to Taylor's Valley where she has lunch at the Creeper Trail Cafe. From there she enjoys the spectacular scenery on her way back to Damascus. At Damascus she makes a pit stop at Mojo's for smoothie. Then continues on to Laurel Run Cabins where she talks to the owners Trudy & Joe before she get a good nights sleep.
The next morning Mary Jo rides the section from Damascus to Abingdon about half way there she stops at Avarado station. This section of the trail has a completely different feel, but is no less beautiful! At Abingdon she tours the Arts Depot and talks to Rick Rose from the Barter Theater. All in all this a great place to spend a couple days and a wonderful trail to ride.
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Virginia Creeper Trail - Whitetop to Damascus - Time Lapse
This is the first of several time lapse videos from the Virginia Creeper Trail. Whitetop Mountain (NC State Line) to Damascus, VA.
Most f the traffic on the Creeper is from Whitetop Mountain to Damascus. This section of the trail is almost completely downhill, with about 2000 ft of elevation change over 17 miles. Several shuttle companies in Damascus will carry you and your bikes to the top of the mountain and drop you off for the ride down. Or, you can do like we did, Wife, daughter, and I left our truck at the top, rode down the hill, then I pedaled back up to get the truck while they waited at MoJoe's Trailside Cafe'. (My ride up the hill is in another video.)
Fiddles McGinty by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
Virginia Creeper Trail | Fall 2016
The Virginia Creeper Trail kicks off in WhiteTop, VA and goes all the way to Abingdon, VA. The entire trail is around 35 miles in length, however, a lot of people enjoy just riding the top half of the bike trail from WhiteTop to Damascus. This section is approx. 17 miles and is at a slight decline all the way down. It's a great ride for the entire family
Wheels by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
more Downtown Damascus VA houses and community and Creeper Trail
lived here all my life and haven't seen you...well, just because I've never seen you either doesn't mean you don't live here either
Virginia Creeper Trail in Virginia.
This is the Virgina Creeper Trail. One of the most beautiful bike ride there is. I plan on doing thius again soon, Hope to find someone to ride it with me.
World Famous Chocolate Cake?! - Wet & Muddy Bike Ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail - Damascus, VA
We made a point to visit the Virginia Creeper Trail during our time in Damascus, VA after seeing the video from Less Junk, More Journey about the chocolate cake. I just had to try out some world famous chocolate cake, and family bike rides are one of our favorite things. This ride took us 17 miles down into town from the top of Whitetop Mountain. It was a beautiful ride through thick forest and over bridges alongside a stream. About halfway down it started to rain! We bundled up, but we all ended up wet and muddy. Check out the video to see if it was worth it in the end!
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Virginia Creeper Trail, April 2019
My first ride down from White Top Station to Damascus, Virginia. 17 miles of fun!
Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a great way to combine some physical activity with the great outdoors. It is a 34 mile long trail from Whitetop to Abington, Virginia. This past weekend, some friends and I decided to do the most trafficked 17 mile path from Whitetop to Damascus, Virginia on bikes. While our bums are sore, we enjoyed the Creeper Trail. Here’s a summary of our trip!
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2016 Family Bicycle Ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail Damascus VA
Some video we took on our trip down the creeper trail. Our camera literally bit the dust at one point so there isn't much footage of the second half of the trip. We had a lot of fun!
Virginia Capital Trail Bike Ride FULL (360 Video)
Experience the complete 51.2 mile trail in less than 15 minutes. Click & drag your mouse on the video to view 360 degree angles.
Richmond, VA is a city full of culture and history. In 2015 a trail was completed connecting the city to Jamestown, VA. Learn more at
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Virginia Creeper Trail October 2008
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34-mile rail-trail running between Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia. It has been described as the best mountain bike trail in the eastern United States.