The Virginia Creeper Trail is a multi-use (mountain biking, hiking, equine) rails-to-trails conversion that stretches 33.4 miles from Abingdon through Damascus, Virginia and on through Washington County to the North Carolina line. The locals referred to the train that climbed eastward into the Iron Mountains as the "Virginia Creeper", a name taken from the native plant that grows along the route. A steam engine laboring up mountain grades with heavy loads of lumber, iron ore, supplies, and passengers was also a "virginia creeper" in every sense of the word.
Today thousands of people from all over the world travel to the towns along the Virginia Creeper Trail to experience an outdoor adventure; biking, hiking, birding, fishing, or just relaxing. After a day filled with outdoor adventures vacationers find solace in the many wonderful dining, lodging and shopping opportunities in the area.
A typical ride on the Creeper Trail should start in Damascus. The town of Damascus, VA sits in the middle of the Virginia Creeper Trail and is home to numerous bicycle rental and shuttle shops. Other shuttle shops are available in other towns but Damascus is easily the most convenient for most people. A ride to the top of the trail with one of the shuttle shops takes about 30 minutes. From the top, it's just a matter of enjoying the gently descending 17 miles back to Damascus. About three miles into the ride you'll arrive at Green Cove Station. It's an old train station that is now a small museum. It's worth stopping in if you're interested in local history or railroad history. After Green Cove it's about 8 miles to Taylors Valley. In the stretch to Taylors Valley you'll find a few swimming holes and lots of excellent fishing (permits required). In Taylors Valley you can stop in at one of the cafes and enjoy lunch or maybe just dessert. After Taylors Valley it's only about six more miles before you're back in Damascus. The ride to Damascus is along the river and the scenery is beautiful. Keep your eyes open and you'll probably be able to spot a beaver dam in the river, or at least some trees that beavers have felled. After arriving in Damascus, most people are finished with the trail. The Creeper Trail does continue another 17 miles into Abingdon. This section of the trail is mostly through farmland and is beautiful, but it sees very little use. It's mostly flat and a slight uphill ride into Abingdon, so most people elect not to ride that side of the trail.
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