Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail Reviews    

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Scenic but wish it was longer!

By tarwheel in August, 2014

We rode the entire Virginia Creeper Trail over two days last weekend. We stayed at the Hikers Inn in Damascus and rode from there to White Top Mtn and back on Saturday, and to Abingdon and back on Sunday.

The section from White Top to Damascus is much steeper, altho still not that bad, and much more crowded due to the bike shuttle companies hauling cyclists who are too lazy to ride to the top! We enjoyed the ride but the downhill portion was a little too crowded to fully enjoy.

We liked the Damascus to Abingdon section better due to fewer crowds and gentler terrain. Scenery was not quite as spectacular but very nice.

I highly recommend the Hikers Inn as a place to stay. Altho the inn does not serve breakfast, rates are very reasonable and rooms nicely furnished and clean.

fun

By barbie.mathenaamick in July, 2014

awesome trail, me and my husband and kids 8yr old and 6 yr old rode this trail, very well kept up!! We will go back kids had fun and so did we. The last 3 miles is work but fun its all flat and you have to pedal instead of coast. Best trail ever!!!

Abingdon, VA to NC line

By hatterasman in June, 2014

Awesome ride last weekend. My wife and stayed at the Quality Inn in Abingdon Friday night and left from there Saturday morning. The trail from Abingdon to Damascus is flat with a couple of beautiful trestles. One is brand new, having just reopened after being destroyed by a tornado. It's quiet and secluded with very few riders. The main Virginia Creeper Trail activity is bike rentals and shuttle service to the top. Most riders ride down from White Top to Damascus, very few ride up. Starting up in the morning we were ahead of most of the downhill traffic. We could see the bike shops loading up for their first run (around 10 AM) as we passed through Damascus. When we arrived at White Top around lunch time the area was buzzing with groups preparing to leave for the ride down to Damascus. We noticed the trail kept going and we rode another mile to the NC line - End of the trail sign. We ate lunch and by the time we started back most of the Downhill traffic was ahead of us. We had a great time and would recommend this to anyone looking for a long trail ride...total distance 70 miles out and back.

PS. We rode straight bar road bikes. We changed our 23mm road tires for 40mm cyclo-cross tires and had no trouble navigating the smooth gravel.

Abingdon, VA to NC line

By hatterasman in June, 2014

Awesome ride last weekend. My wife and stayed at the Quality Inn in Abingdon Friday night and left from there Saturday morning. The trail from Abingdon to Damascus is flat with a couple of beautiful trestles. One is brand new, having just reopened after being destroyed by a tornado. It's quiet and secluded with very few riders. The main Virginia Creeper Trail activity is bike rentals and shuttle service to the top. Most riders ride down from White Top to Damascus, very few ride up. Starting up in the morning we were ahead of most of the downhill traffic. We could see the bike shops loading up for their first run (around 10 AM) as we passed through Damascus. When we arrived at White Top around lunch time the area was buzzing with groups preparing to leave for the ride down to Damascus. We noticed the trail kept going and we rode another mile to the NC line - End of the trail sign. We ate lunch and by the time we started back most of the Downhill traffic was ahead of us. We had a great time and would recommend this to anyone looking for a long trail ride...total distance 70 miles out and back.

PS. We rode straight bar road bikes. We changed our 23mm road tires for 40mm cyclo-cross tires and had no trouble navigating the smooth gravel.

Virginia Creeper Trail...the other part.

By vacaver in October, 2013

Having ridden the Creeper Trail from White Top to Damascus many times, I decided to ride "the other part" a couple of weeks ago.

From the caboose in Damascus to Abingdon and back was 32 miles and was a very pleasant ride. Pretty flat...any "uphill" parts were barely noticable.

While not as pretty as the White Top to Damascus portion, the ride was actually more enjoyable due to the fact that there were very few people. On the day I went (a Sunday), every bike in town was rented and the White Top to Damascus porton was one continuous line of people. Ugh...no thanks.

I'm sure I'll take out-of-towners on the White Top to Damascus ride again in the future, but "the other part" has become my favorite. I can easily see making it a monthly excursion.

FUN IN THE RAIN

By myndertp in September, 2013

We did the trail from Damascus to Whitetop on the Labor Day weekend and had a lot of fun. The weather was cool and enjoyable. The trail showed some wear-n-tear, especially after all the summer rains. Lots of ruts, but still a fun experience. On our return journey back to Damascus we got caught in a rain storm and got soaking wet. Eventually we made it back to Damascus, only to realize that we all looked like skunks, (and maybe also smelled like them) because we had a black mud stripe all the way down own our backs from the mud that came off of the tires. Thankfully we found a garden hose and was able to wash down and get cleaned up. We stayed at Green Cove Cabins, a jewel in the mountain and highly recommended! No cellphone service, only peace and tranquility!

Loved this Trail!!!!

By lynngon in September, 2013

We had decided to stay in Abingdon and take a shuttle to Whitetop. The plan was to ride back to Abingdon. We made it to Damascus and were enjoying a wonderful lunch when the storms rolled in. No problem, we took the shuttle back to Abingdon. The next day we started in Abingdon and planned to ride to Damascus and back. This time we made it about 2 miles from Damascus when the skies opened up. We put on our "emergency" ponchos and continued on to Damascus. We ended up back on the shuttle to Abingdon. Despite the weather problems this was a great trail. The downhill from Whitetop was a lot of fun with great sights everywhere you looked. The ride from Abingdon to Damascus was beautiful with grazing cattle and awesome bridges. There is a detour that was kind of steep around one of the bridges that is out. We walked our bikes and got a little workout.All in all it was well worth the drive from Michigan.

Great Ride

By tobyj912 in July, 2013

We left from the B&B we stayed at in Abingdon and rode to Damascus, then took a shuttle up to White top and rode back to our B&B. A 52 mile round trip. The section from Abingdon to Damascus seemed to have less traffic.From Whitetop to Damascus, you can coast if you want.Lots of traffic at Whitetop with families. So be patient because, little children don't want to move to the left and you can very quickly run them over. You generate a lot of speed on the descent from Whitetop. Lots of scenery to take in. Enjoy it all. May try to ride it again in the fall.
BTW, There is a section between Abindon and Damascus with a slight detour, as the longest trestle was destroyed in a storm, So the detour travels thru a hilly and curvy pasture with very loose gravel. Unless you an experienced rider, you may want to walk it. It's very short and should only take about 5-10 minutes (walk time)

Needs some work

By youker in May, 2013

A few years ago I had biked the Whitetop to Damascus section twice but not the Damascus to Abingdon section so we came back with this nice weather in late May. My wife drives shuttle so I need to only bike one way. The Creeper Trail is one of the most popular in the whole USA and rightly so. This western section running along white water Beaverdam Creek and South Fork of the Holston River from Damascus is just as lovely as the mountain section and is well shaded. I did the slightly up hill Watauga to Abingdon section 4 miles the late afternoon the day before so I only had the 13 mile section from Damascus to Watauga to do in the morning. It is a nice ride but the trail needs some work. There are many muddy spots that need some crushed stone. A few other spots have too much crushed stone and your wheels are not firm. The horse droppings seem continous but you can bike around them. Two years ago about mile 5 a tornado had taken out an entire trestle resulting in a steep long down and up hill with again very deep and loose crushed stone requiring walking your bike to be safe. Toward the end I did find the mileposts but they need to be highlighted in some way to be more visible to the bikers. The many gates are easy to open and close automatically. Great trail with a surface that needs some work. Bob

Motivational Blast

By shirlsjeans in November, 2012

My husband and I are both sixty eight year old with some mobility problems and trying to find ways to have fun with good exercise. This trail was doable on our hybrid step-thru frame bikes. We had a blast. Next spring I have planned a trip with my daughter, granddaughters and niece. They are experienced riders and I know we can have fun and it will be like play for them. I now plan on more trails with more difficulty. VC is a beautiful trail with many spots to stop and see the white water trout stream that flows along beside much of the trail. The many trestles and bridges are another bright spot. We had bread to feed the trout at #33 and sure enough rainbow trout darted out to nab the bites. I can imagine that as busy as the trail was on mid week in October that summer weekends might be crazy crowded. We did make the mistake of parking at Whitetop and planned getting shuttled back to our car and even if all the services say they run until 6:00 in actuality most stop runs back to Whitetop after 2:30. We had a hard time getting a shuttle and after calling all of them got the last one at 5:30. Next time we will park at the bottom either Damascus or Abingdon and shuttle to the top. Then we don't have to worry when we arrive. Our car will be waiting at the end.

outstanding

By fatliberal in August, 2012

Excellent riding

By reid.church in May, 2012

My friend and I rode the Creeper the summer of 2011. It was completely reopened at that time. The surface is mostly excellent with gravel fines. The grade is more than manageable. The ride from Damascus to Whitetop was the steepest. As other reviewers have said, those who ride only down from Whitetop are a hindrance, not obeying the rules of the road, etc. Many times we were told we were going the wrong way--sad. It took awhile to get up to Whitetop but the trip back was lightning fast, riding the brakes most of the way. We did ride from Whitetop toward the border and the trail here is pretty rough. The rest of the Creeper was very enjoyable and I definitely will be going back to ride again.

Delightful trail

By maryharroff in November, 2011

We rode from Damascus to White Top on our recumbent tandem. You do climb for most of the trip but the steepest grades are no more than 5%. The trail surface is good, perfect if you have a hybrid or mountain bike.

So much fun to climb to the top and coast all the way home.

Great Family Trail

By neschultz3 in October, 2011

Drove up from Charlotte, NC and stayed overnight in Damascus over Labor Day weekend. First time for us and probably a very busy trail weekend.

Rode up to Whitetop and back on Saturday and to Abingdon and back on Sunday. Wife and I were on singlespeeds with our 10 & 12 year old boys. No shuttle here. Knocked out the "uphill" sections before the gentle descents back to Damascus. There was once a train on this line so we didn't find it all that difficult. If you have gears, some experience and the time no need for the shuttle. By the time you go through all that you'll be halfway up.

Did have some motivational issues with the 10 year old going up to Whitetop. Stopped frequently, took 3.5 hours that included watching a folk band at the Green Cove Station. Trail well marked. Had to watch out for inexperienced cyclists coming down. Made it back down to Damascus in 1.5 hours without really stopping. Kind of a thrill ride, very fun and easy pedaling.

The section to Abingdon the next morning was less of an uphill. Entire section was open. Very nice, scenic and pastoral. Managed to get there with frequent stops in about 3 easy hours. Again coming back was about 1.5 hours. Less people on the Damascus to Abingdon and back section.

Happy to have covered the entire trail basically twice over the weekend. Nice trestle bridges, kind of tight in some areas. Need to bike defensively with less experienced cyclists on the trail. You can tell some of them biffed by their skinned up shins. Nothing technical on the trail, just stay to the right. Downhill to Damascus from either endpoint is an absolute breeze.

Check out hikes at nearby Grayson Highland State Park about 1 hour away from Damascus.

We plan on going back again! Highly recommended.

Fun trail, run like an amusement park - but still fun.

By brookster in October, 2011

I met my uncle down in southern Virginna for two days of late October trail riding. We hit this trail the second day, after riding the New River trail the day before. Both were great, but for different reasons.

After having done 55 miles the day before we wanted a more leisurely ride, so parked at Abingdon and called a shuttle service to take us to the top of Whitetop mountain, from where we would ride back to our cars at the other end of the trail. There are a lot of people that do this - I mean a lot. While were were being unloaded, with the 10 other passengers in our shuttle, two other full vans showed up to unload. The shuttle service we hired had at least 8 vans, and they weren't the largest outfit. I can only imagine the crowds they get barreling down that mountain on summer weekends. Yikes! Mental note - only do the Virginia Creeper off summer, on a weekday.

That being said - it really is a very fun trail. I was glad I brought my mountain bike for this trail, especially the first half going down off the mountain to Damascus, although most folks were on hybrids. The trail surface isn't nearly as smooth as the New River Trail, but still wasn't too bad. You can basically coast for about the first 15 miles - it's all downhill. I would love to get up there pre-dawn to do a run off of the mountain without having to worry about running into someone - I bet you could beat the shuttle back down. Too many folks going down to do this - but it's still pretty sweet.

I actually enjoyed the run from Damascus to Abingdon more. It's more remote feeling as most of the shuttle born folks stop at Damascus. You cruise through cow pastures and across many high bridge trestles - great scenery. I'm told some of the last three miles is uphill...if it is it's so gradual you won't even notice it. The whole trail is a very easy ride - you won't get a great workout, but you will enjoy great scenery and have a fun morning in the saddle.

Virginia Creeper is completely open

By tncruiser in July, 2011

I was on the damaged section of the Virginia Creeper the last of June, 2011. The debris from the tornado has been cleared. The minor damage to two small trestles has been repaired and the wood from the large trestle through the pasture has been removed. It was reduced to small pieces and completely demolished. There is a short, but steep gravel section now allowing access until the new trestle can be built. It is rideable or easily walkable - your choice, but dont let this stop you from going. It's a wonderful experience throughout this beautiful trail.

**UPDATE - ENTIRE TRAIL IS ACCESSIBLE**

By creeperfan in July, 2011

The Virginia Creeper Trail is open from Whitetop To Abingdon.

Please click on the link below for more details.

http://vacreepertrailbikeshop.com/Creeper-Trail-Opens.pdf

Thanks.

Great trail for the whole family

By nomadmatt in June, 2011

We biked the stretch from Whitetop to Damascus with a 3 and 1 year old. The trail was in good shape and the scenery was beautiful. We especially enjoyed the many bridges that span gorges and the ever present mountain stream (the stream holds native trout so pack your fly rod if like). Creek Junction was my favorite place on the trail. It provided a good place to get the kids out and cool off in the stream.

The Trail Link map, description and reviews were a huge help! Thanks for the great resources. If you haven't seen them yet, check out the Rails to Trails series of books for a great on the trail resource.

One minor improvement I can think of is to provide a little more signage on the trail itself.

There are nice rental cabins available near the trail and the bike rental shop at the top of the mountain was awesome. They ran a late shuttle for us back up the mountain because we got a late start. Good people and great service.

I highly recommend this area for a enjoyable family destination. Grayson Highlands State Park is nearby and provides plenty of incredible hiking as well.

FYI, we couldn't get any cell phone coverage on the trail and very little in the entire area.


Matt

Neat trail but has been damaged by recent weather

By tjwagner in May, 2011

I rode this trail from Whitetop Station to Damascus. The Green Cove Station was amazing and well worth a visit. The volunteers working the day I was there were delightful and shared a wealth of knowledge. I stopped in Damascus and found it to be a lovely town. The folks at the town library will let you use the internet for free if you want.

Conditions:
Dirt pathway. It was fairly muddy in spots owing to recent heavy rains. Also, contractors were doing maintenance to some of the bridges and may close the trail for short periods of time (though I only had to wait about 10 minutes before they let me through).

A suspected tornado destroyed one of the trestles on the western end. I was told that the section from Abingdon to Alvarado was closed indefinitely. The trail is open from Alvarado east to the NC line.

Scenery:
Mostly wooded with periodic river views.

Access/facilities:
Trailhead in Whitetop is well marked and easy to find. There were several outhouses along the trail.

Recommendations:
Do not even attempt this trail on a road bike; it was manageable on a mountain bike. If you want an easier ride, arrange a shuttle to drop you off at Whitetop. Several outfitters in Damascus are available. If you're doing a round trip, start in Damascus so you get the uphill part out of the way first.

Virginia Creeper Trail Damage

By Mtwnrocket in May, 2011

Severe storms at the end of April 2011 damaged or destroyed some trestles. Trestle 7, east of Abingdon and one of the largest on the trail, was completely destroyed by an apparent tornado. Some sections of the trail's western half (Abingdon to Damascus) are closed. I have no other information at this time.

Tornado Damage to Trail - 2011

By Linda and Bill in May, 2011

We've ridden this beautiful trail before and have plans to go back this summer. Unfortunately a tornado touched down on the trail close to the Abingdon end recently and totally demolished the LONG, beautiful trestle bridge and damaged another one. Currently (May, 2011) the first 10 miles of this trail are closed to riders until repairs can be done. It's going to take a long while. I suggest calling one of the bike shops in Damascus to get updates. In the meantime, start in Damascus and cover the other 24 miles, then come back to ride the whole 34 miles when the bridge is repaired. You'll be glad you did. It's gorgeous..........all 34 miles!

The Best Trail I've Ever Been On

By MasonDi in September, 2010

We love rails-to-trails and have done many in our local area of NJ/PA. This September my husband and I made the 34 mile Virginia Creeper Trail our vacation destination, and, wow, I was so glad we did.

We parked our cars at the trail head in Abington (the low end) and had the nearby bike shop shuttle us and our own bikes to the top of the trail at White Top (the high end). It was approximately an hour shuttle ride, and the drive to the top was on beautiful twisty mountain roads.

About the first quarter of the trail is down hill (you barely peddle but you'll wear out your brakes), through lovely mountain scenery and along a tumbling river. The next quarter of the trail starts to level out a bit as you peddle towards the small town of Damascas, which is the half-way point, crossing the AT along the way. Damascas is a great place to take a lunch break (we bought huge icre cream cones) and see some civilization. Many riders stop in Damascas, call it a day, and will have had a terrific ride. If you have the time and strong legs, plan to continue on.

The second half of the trail is different from the first. The second half is mostly through privately owned farmland with the river now slow and rather still continuing to follow beside you. You probably will peddle past some cows enjoying the river. It is also mostly a gentle uphill grade, and you'll feel it. Then just about when you think you have had enough, the last little bit is downhill, and you zoom back into Abington on a strong finish ending where the day began at the parking lot at the trail head. If you brought your own bikes, there is no need to return to the bike shop.

You would think the ride would only take a couple of hours at the most, but plan on stopping, and stopping, and stopping some more to take pictures and enjoy the surroundings. I do not have the words to describe how beautiful this trail is. Be sure to set aside the entire day to enjoy it.

Great Family Trip

By rberanek in August, 2010

My wife, my son, my five year-old daughter, her little brother (in the trailer) and I did the downhill run into Damascus. It was a beautiful trail, through rocky terrain along streams and occasionally through farm fields. There were plenty of opportunities to stop and let the kids throw rocks in streams, or take water, snack or potty breaks. There were a phenomenal number of trestles, from short things to a striking long high wooden bridge to an iron trestle right before Damascus. We stopped for only a few of the many geocaches along the trail, and the places where the Appalachian Trail joined with the Virginia Creeper Trail captured my wife's imagination.

Unfortunately, the top of the trail was closed, and so we could only start at Green Cove. We had tried to get information in advance of closures or trail work, but we could only get information from the shuttle company. There was work on some of the trestles, when a number of riders would pile up, but the workers allowed us across when they could. We didn't see the crazy bikers bombing down the hill that other folks mentioned, but we were travelling during the week. Hopefully, our delays will pay off for years to come.

Damascus was a wonderful town, although I don't understand their affinity for cute B&Bs that are not family-friendly. There was a playground for the kids on the west side of town.

Hopefully, the next time we make it out to Virginia, we'll be able to do more, both at the top of the hill and west of Damascus.

Love the Creeper!

By Connie in TN in July, 2010

I'm totally convinced you find what you're looking for. Think about it. The Creeper is a wonderful trail which winds through both mountains and scenic farmland; definitely not the place for pavement! We have ridden the upper section (Whitetop to Damascus) many times.....admittedly we took the shuttle up to Whitetop Station and 'coasted' down. But it was enjoyable, exhilarating, and downright beautiful! In Nov 2009 we parked in Abingdon, rode our bikes to Damascus, caught the shuttle up to Whitetop Station and rode all the way back to Abingdon. The trip was approximately 51 miles and although it was pretty cool (the temperature, that is) , we loved it! It was a really good experience......and would definitely NOT have "been the same" had the trail been paved!

This spring (early April 2010) we parked in Damascus, rode to Abingdon then back to Damascus where we stopped for lunch. Took the shuttle to Whitetop and "coasted" back down to Damascus. Again, another 51 mile trip, and yes, it was cool in the early morning, but the wild flowers were blooming, the creeks were full, the birds were singing, the sun was shining.....need I go on and on? We've met lots of really nice folks on the trail, both locals and visitors

We ride Trek hybrids and have had no problems whatsoever. Oh, and did I say we drive over 100 miles to do this, and that we're "seniors?"

A few helpful tips

By ajw in July, 2010

The trail looks flat, but it has several different grades. From Abingdon to Alvarado (7mi) is gradually downhill. From Alvarado to Damascus (7mi) is gradually uphill. From Damascus to Whitetop (15mi) is a strong uphill. Most people park in Damascus and take a shuttle to the top, and then coast most of the 15 mi back to Damascus. A great family outing. Going uphill from Damascus to Whitetop is a real thigh burner only for the athletic. But don't overlook the other half of the trail. Park in Alvarado (follow signs to the winery off US58, then about 1/2 mi past) and take the gradual ride uphill 7mi to either Abingdon or Damascus. Then when you turn around, it is an easier ride back to the car. In 2010 and 2011, they will be working on some of the bridges. Call a local Chamber or one of the bike shops in Damascus to find out if there are any detours before you head out. Path is not paved, but the small gravel is very easy for a hybrid bike.

Bad News

By kwcopp in July, 2010

On July 9 we rode the portion from MM20 to Damascus & back. It was very diasappointing in that it, in no way, compares to the many nicely maintained trails, which are asphalt or concrete surface, that we have ridden in other parts of the country. Most of the people who rent shuttle bikes & roar down from Whitetop are a hazard to those of us who are recreational bicyclists. The portion from Abingdon was a more enjoyable ride. We don't plan to return to this trail.

May 2009 Great ride

By ltbike in December, 2009

We biked this trail for the first time in May of this year. We ride Trek Hybrid bicycles. There were a few rough spots at the beginning, but no problem. Beautiful trail and we loved it. Rode the entire trail and would do it again. We are from Arkansas and were there hiking and biking.

Fantastic part 2

By funriding in October, 2009

I failed to mention the ride between Abingdon and Damascus -- it is just as wonderful. Just around 7 miles from Abingdon is a long bridge -- it is picture perfect view of two rivers coming together. I highly recommend this ride of the trail. On this part of the trip there are fewer places to stop for food and drink so be prepared with plenty of water and snacks to keep up energy. Remember to be considerate of others riding the trail by staying on the left when riders are coming around you or you see riders coming toward you. Please remember to put your trash in a trash can and not on the ground along the trail.

Fantastic

By funriding in October, 2009

This is a wonderful rails to trails. In Demascus there are plenty of B&B places to stay, but if you care to have a bit more rustic experience, you can stay at the Iron Horse. Iron Horse has individual connected cabins with just a bed and place to hang some clothes. The clean showers are in a different building just a short walk or 1 second bike ride. It is really nice sitting on the deck enjoying the peaceful setting with a nice creek running close by. We really enjoyed staying at the Iron Horse. Now, to the bike trail. It is a wonderful trail. If you happen get a ride up to White Top and don't feel ready to head down the hill, try going the other way for a few miles. That part of the trail isn't kept up as nicely but it is a easy ride all the same. There are lots of places going down the hill to catch your breath to get a bite to eat, an ice cream cone, almost anything really, or just enjoy the view. Just remember one thing - watch yourself when crossing roads, stay to the left when people are riding by you, give people a nice heads up to let them know you're passing, and last but not least -- please do not litter.

Don't Fear the Creeper

By jtditillo in May, 2008

Following the advice of others, we arranged for a shuttle to Whitetop Station through the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop in Abingdon. We arrived at the Whitetop Station just as several bus loads of elementary school children were preparing to start their ride downhill. Hoping to give them a head start, we cycled in the opposite direction toward the VA-NC line. The trail in this direction looks rarely used and is in poor shape. Other than one beaver dam there wasn’t much to see in this section. We returned to the Whitetop Station to find groups of children still being “released” in groups of ten or so. After weaving our way through the remainder of the group we headed downhill toward Damascus. The trail between Whitetop and Damascus is quite steep, rough in spots and contained numerous wash-outs. There are long stretches that require no pedaling at all. The scenery is stunningly beautiful but unfortunately the quick descent makes site-seeing somewhat difficult. We were fortunate to arrive in Damascus during the 2008 Appalachian Trail Days celebration. The town plays host to hundreds of trail folk and hikers as well as food, craft and equipment vendors. Everyone was quick with a smile, a wave and pleasant conversation, bolstering Damascus’s claim as the “Friendliest Trail Town”. Leaving the celebrating crowds behind, we continued our ride toward Abingdon. The trail west of Damascus is quite different from the previous section. The trail flattens considerably and takes you through the rolling farmland of southwest Virginia. After reaching about Milepost 9 the trail ascends gradually, but noticeably, into Abingdon. Overall this is a beautiful trail. Although the surface is not as smooth as many rail-trails, my daughter had no trouble navigating with her narrow tired, no-suspension fitness bike. Despite the distinct differences, the two halves of the trail are both nice and would recommend riding the entire trail for your first visit

Trail Etiquette

By Borgia in October, 2007

"This trail is great exercise going uphill. I suggest that the shuttle companies educate their customers a little better on trail etiquette. Those going uphill shouldn't have to be blocked constantly by coasters on the left (wrong) side of the trail. This situation not only impedes the momentun of those who actually seek exercise from this trail, it also creates a dangerous situation for the coasters who would have to stop quickly in case of a crash.
"

Beautiful Scenery

By mjerabek in October, 2007

We made a round trip between Alvarado and Damascus. Parts of it were quite rough and could be considered off-road. There were sections that were just single track and very narrow at that. It is obvious that the best part of the trail is between Damascus and Whitetop.

Damascus to Abingdon

By sandymo in July, 2006

"This piece of the trail is by far the flatter of the two pieces. It's a totally different ride than the one from Damascus to Whitetop. It's a nice easy ride with some good ""refreshment"" stops along the way. We actually went down a piece of the river by the trail the day before on tubes that we rented from the Ironhorse Campground. They do the shuttle for you. As with the the rest of the businesses we visited, they were the most accomodating people imaginable. My only dissapointment was at the Abingdon end. It very hard to know where to go once you reach the end of the trail. They need a few signed to direct us tired bikers to food and water. Other than that, it was another nice piece of the Creeper Trail. Again, don't miss the local flavor in Damascus. The people are the dictionary definition of southern hospitality. "

Damacus to Whitetop & back

By in July, 2006

"If you are a regular bike rider, don't miss the enjoyment and satisfaction of making the uphill ride as well as the downhill. It's not that tough and even if you have to stop a few times, the pride of having earned the downhill is a great feeling. My wife on her bike and our six year old on a trail-a-bike behind me had an awesome day of riding. The trail is beautiful and if you miss the opportunity to take a dip in the stream, you've missed a piece of the experience. Do watch for the going-a-little-to-fast downhill crowd as I agree that there are a few riders who missed their drivers test. All in all it was a great ride. Don't miss the ""local"" music as the townpeople call it, the good eats at several places, and the great attitude of the people who live in the ""friendliest town on the trail"". "

Trail get Crowded on Weekends

By in June, 2006

The Va Creeper Trail is SO popular with the 17 miles of downhill that I would not recommend Saturday for the serious rider.
All of the other 6 days of the week are recommended.

A National Treasure

By in June, 2006

"My bike team, reduced to only three this year, did our early summer tour on the railtrails of VA/WV, including the Creeper, New River and Greenbrier in early June 06. It was a great week of riding and pleasant scenery. By far the most spectacular scenery is on the Creeper. The 38 mile roundtrip from Damascus to the NC line and back was definitely the highlight of the week. The 17 mile climb was fantastic. We wouldn't make it more than a mile or two before hopping off for photos. We spent about 4 hours going up and 1.5 coming back down. (Without stops we averaged 11 mph r/t.)

We were also impressed with the people we met in the area. At every stop that week the townspeople were justifiably proud of ""their"" trails and made us feel welcome.

Obligatory word about the shuttle downhillers: Beware. Most of these people are novices, not bike tourers who put thousands of miles a year on their tires. A few could barely ride, much less comprehend the rules and courtesy of trail riding or touring. We knew to expect this, compensated accordingly, and did not let it detract from our enjoyment of the climb or descent. But it was still a bit unsettling having semi-controlled tonnage freights roaring downgrade at us, or trying to pass people who couldn't track a straight line on a smooth trail.

The Virginia Creeper is truly a national treasure and any cyclist would do him or herself a huge favor by riding it. I'll certainly be going back in the future. Barry (from GA), with Mike (Ala.) & Joe (Ind.)"

best ride I've had

By czatpsych in May, 2006

I want this trail in my backyard!!! - flew in from MA and worth the trip hands down - planning on returning in the Fall with more friends - think I'll move here

Beautiful Trail - Must see!

By in April, 2006

"I rode the top half of this trail via shuttle to WhiteTop Mnt. and then 17 miles DOWNHILL last fall. It was cold, misty rain but what a ride! I had the trail almost to myself because of the rain. Just got off the the trail this weekend. Left Abingdon intending to ride to Damascus and back (the flatter lower end of the trail) but by the time I got to Damascus, I could not resist the challenge of seeing how far UP the mountain I could go. Made it 10 more miles up the mountain. This trail is incredible. Ranges from lush pastures with cows on the trail to steep mountain terrain in the middle of a forest. Saw three deer standing in the middle of the trail in no particular hurry to move and then on a rest stop under a rock bluff on the return trip between Damascus and Abingdon, I heard a rustling above my head followed by a swish of falling leaves as a wild turkey flew off of the cliff above my head and down into the river valley a hundred feet below! I will do this trail again."

Beautiful Ride

By in October, 2005

This was a great ride (except for the crowded trail with lots of children and people standing in the middle of the trail) this was the most enjoyable ride ever. My husband and I did the whole 34 miles. Many places to stop to grab a snacks or lunch!! Definitely plan to do again!

When can I go Again???

By in September, 2005

"We loved it! Lots of great people we met on the trail! We will definately be returning asap! What a fun and beautiful ride! We have not stopped talking about it since we returned last week, and are conviencing some friends to go next weekend!"

Amazing!

By in September, 2005

"What a GREAT experience! If you ride only one rail-trail in your life, make it this one!"

The Best!!!

By in August, 2005

Well we two old folks have now rode it all! Both ways! It is great. The uphill to White top was the best!

Best ride ever.

By leoebecker in June, 2005

"Took our 5 grandkids, 8 to 3 on the trail. Finished it all in day and half, we cheated kind of, went from White Top to Taylors Valley (downhill) then had lunch, then to Alvarado (mostly downhill) on the first day. Then started at Abingdon and went to Alvarado the second morning (mostly downhill).
Great stay at Creeper Trail Cabins in Taylors Valley."

Worth the Trip!

By rhoude in August, 2004

"Reviews had declared the Virginia Creeper Trail one of the best trails in Virginia. Well, they were true, and then some. We detoured from Virginia Beach on our way back to Montreal, Canada (yep! a bit of a detour). We stayed in Abingdon at the Summerfield Inn (Janice and Jim are among the best hosts we have ever met and the Inn is top-class).

We decided to take the shuttle to White Top Station and ride all the way back to Abingdon. The White Top Station to Damascus section of the trail is absolutely breathtaking. The trail meanders through the country side right along the river for a good part of the way, crossing from one side to the other. There a a good number of very impressive bridge crossings.

The Damascus to Abingdon section is a complete change of scenery. Although not as impressive as the first section, it has its definite charm. The Damascus/Abingdon section is in poor shape in spots, shrivelling down to barely a single track on some of the private properties. Also, be aware that some of the bridges are getting a new deck surface and rails on this section of the trail and you are advised by work crews that you cross the bridge at your own risk.

A recommendation for occasional bikers. Do not let the White Top Station to Damascus section of the trail lure into believing that this is an easy beginner`s ride. The Damascus to Abingdon section goes uphill (although ever so slightly) most of the way, which can become tiresome for the unexperienced.

All in all, this was one of our most memorable trail rides this year."

Scouts Loved the Trail

By in April, 2004

"The Boy Scouts Troop 5 from Clarkesville, Georgia, loved this trail. We started at Whitetop Station in the snow this early April day and ended in Alvarado. The scenic spots and trestles along the trail really kept the interest up.

The Damascus to Alvarado segment had much beauty along the river. There are many shear rock cliffs in that section. "

Great Adventure

By in February, 2004

"We adventured out from Michigan to this natural beautiful excursion in October of 2003. It was a wonderfull week spent outdoors with my wife. There were many scenic spots and it was a very relaxing ride from Whitetop to Damascus. Separate yourself from the rental riders and ride the second half of the trail from Damacus to Abington. This portion of the trail is less traveled. It only has one store and rest stop along the way.

There are some fantastic views as you follow the rocky rolling river and pass over the old, wooden railroad bridges. My wife is physically challenged with fibromialga, yet she managed the journey just fine. It was an excellent adventure to reconnect with nature to and get away from all the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It's really peaceful and quiet when you ride the trail on a weekday."

Two days on the Creeper

By walt.ebbert in May, 2003

"My wife and I recently rode the Creeper starting from Damascus and going toward Abingdon. It's a very scenic ride with a very slight uphill into Abingdon. The scenery is fantastic and filled with delightful views. There were a few gates that we did have to stop for but that just added to the experience. The only drawback was no water along the trail.

The second day we rode from Damascus UP to Whitetop Station. I must emphasize up. It is a steady uphill climb for the best part of 17 miles with the steepest from Green Cove to Whitetop. The scenery is of lush forest land and creeks. There is an especially pretty waterfall about halfway up that was a refreshing stop. At about 2 miles from Whitetop there is a trail that cuts off to the right and leads out to a fantastic view of the surronding area, a great spot for a snack stop on the way up or for lunch on the way back down. We brought our own food that we purchased at a Subway in Damascus; we were told that there was no place to purchase lunch on the trail.

Be especially careful going up the last three miles or so from Green Cove. The trail becomes narrow in some places and it seems that most people take a shuttle up to the top and ride back down. My wife was run into by a younger rider going quite a bit out of control coming down the trail. Thankfully no one was hurt but, for some reason her parents saw nothing wrong with riding 2-3 abreast. This was a common sight for us. We could always tell when a shuttle had just left. Please make sure to stay to the right of the trail and keep a sharp lookout.

It was about a 4 hour round trip and all in all a delightful ride. "

Enjoyable Ride

By Jeff in April, 2003

"We rode the creeper on Friday and had most of the trail to ourselves. I don't know if that was because of the threat of rain or because it was a weekday. We called upon the fine folks of Adventure Damascus for a shuttle ride to Whitetop.

Whitetop to Damascus was very enjoyable and required many stops just to admire the scenery. With very little work we reached Damascus where we stopped for lunch. My wife drove back to our hotel in Abingdon while I rode the Damascus to Abingdon portion of the trail. This section was also scenic and relatively flat with a slight uphill toward the end. All in all, it was a very enjoyable ride."

Nifty trail

By bobmcmu in October, 2002

"I recently rode from Whitetop Station to Damascus and enjoyed every minute. The drive along route #58 from Galax is also a visual treat -- it's a constant series of visual and sound delights. Make sure to take the time to look and listen.

As a result of the downlhill slope, very little energy will be required to peddle so take some food and enjoy! I'll return soon to finish the ride from Damascus to Abingdon.

One minor complaint is that some sharp embedded rocks caused a pinch flat about 5 km downhill. I recommend carrying an extra tube.

-Bob"

I'll do it again!!

By OldTerry in July, 2002

"My wife Deborah and I rode from Abingdon to Damascus on July 20. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and the ride was quite easy. On the 21st we rode from Damascus to White Top Station. I didn't have a problem with this uphill ride but it was the first time I've had to ride in gears two and three for any extended period of time. I believe my wife would disagree with John Rocap (see ""Our trip on the Creeper"" review) about the difficulty of this part of the ride as she walked and pushed her bike off and on for about thre miles of the 17 mile climb.

The trip back from White Top Station to Damascus was a BLAST! It took us about one hour and would have been quicker had we been brave enough to hold off using our brakes. But then life is more important than foolhearted bravery.

I would encourage folks who ride the Creeper to take their cameras. We did and will do so next time too."

Loved it!

By kelly3 in May, 2002

"My husband and I went on our first ""Rails to Trails"" ride by accident. We took our bike to Abingdon not realizing the Virginia Creeper trail was right there. We hooked up with a shuttle service called Blue Blaze. We rode from Damascus to Abingdon, about 17 miles. We loved it! We heard the real thrill is from White Cap Mountain to Abingdon, but we were novices and had a great time. The scenery, once you got past the city of Damascus, was gorgeous. It was a thrill to ride on the trestles and by pastures and cows and over rivers. We didin't even mind the opening and closing of gates that ran through farms. We are ready to try another trail! There was a nice little store about halfway between Damascus and Abingdon (Alvardo? or something like that) that sold bottled water and other things. The trails were mostly tree-lined. A few rocky areas that jarred your head a bit, but we had a ball. "

Our trip on the Creeper

By in October, 2001

"My wife and I recently (Oct. `01) did the Creeper. We stayed in Damascus at a Bed & Breafast and did the trail on Saturday and Sunday. On the first day we road from Damascus to White Top Station. The grade is gradual and steady and a good (but very manageable ) workout.

The trail is beautiful. There is only one downside. There seems to be a couple of shuttle companies that rent people bikes and then carry them to the to White Top Station and disgorges them 25 at a time to ride downhill for fifteen miles. Many of these folks are inexperienced and many are children. The result is CHAOS!!! Our experiece was seriously diminhished by out-of-controll groups running headlong into us. It's an accident waiting to happen. I guess it's good that folks are getting out and enjoying the trail. But I don't see what they are accomplishing. It is being treated as if it were an amusement park ride. This is a beautiful trail and (in my opinion) this type of use is a perversion.

Our second day, we rode from Damascus to Abington. This is a very easy trip(31 miles round trip). It is also a very beautiful ride. There were very few people on the trail until after noon. We went to a very nice restuarant in Abington, had a nice lunch and then rode back to Damascus at a leisurely pace. A very enjoyable trip.

To avoid the amusement park aspect of the Damascus to White Top run, I'd suggest that you do it during the week. But if you haven't experienced this trail, please do so. But don't ride they ""weenie bus"" to the top and glide down effortlessly to the bottom.

Also, if you have the time, spend a little of it in Abbington, Va. This is a very scenic city with a lot of great amenities. My wife and I didn't really have the time to spend, but the next time we go you can bet that we will stay in Abbington and ride to trail from there. "

Choose your challenge level

By Dave Miller in May, 2001

"As this site indicates, this trail got its name from the steep grades which made the
locomotives ""creep"" up the tracks in different parts of the trail. However, only about half the trail is that difficult and only if you're going uphill. At Abingdon, the elevation is 2065 ft and gradually drops to 1900 ft at mile 8.1. The elevation rises gradually to 2000 ft as you come into town of Damascus (more on the town later). Then, the grade up to Whitetop Station (mile 33.2, 3576 ft) averages 2.2% to 2.85%. However, the actual grades can vary between 0% and 6% between Green Cove (mile 30.2) to Whitetop Station! Since my riding partner and I were up for a challenge, we decided to start at Abingdon and ride past Whitetop Station to the end of the trail. Then turn around and go back downhill ending at Damascus, making a 52-mile ride. Things started out well enough. We found the trailhead in Abingdon and marveled at the old locomotive that was there.
Parking here is more than adequate, but we could see it could fill up on nice days and weekends. Since this part to mile 8.1 is downhill, we were having a fairly nice ride with little effort and a variety of scenary. It would switch from lush hilly forest to wide open pastures and farmlands. There was a fly in the ointment, however. While the public has legal right to use the trail between Abingdon and Damascus, much of the land is privately owned. Therefore, we had to dismount quite often to open and close gates along this part of the trail. Still, there were two huge, curving trestles along
this stretch that you don't want to miss. There were two places I saw which you could
find something to eat or drink - the Riverside Market, not too far after mile 8, and
the Ironhorse Campground and Restaurant, think not too far after mile 12. The trail begins to parallel route 58 somewhere around this point and it becomes narrow in places, only enough for single file riding. In addition, between miles 13 and 15, the trail surface went from gravel to soft almost sandy material. This made for a fairly slow ride. At mile 16, we came into Damascus. Around mid-point, this quaint town caters to cyclists and hikers. The
weekend we were there (5/20/2001), the town was putting on its annual 3-day Trail Days event. In addition to the Creeper going through the town, the Appalachian Trail also runs through
it. This event is a celebration to honor the Appalachian Trail, the many trails that surround Damascus, and all the people who use the trails. You can learn more about Damascus
and Trail Days at http://www.damascus.org/default.htm. The great thing about this town is that it has 3 bike shops which have rentals and offer shuttle services to Whitetop Station. If you're looking for an extremely easy 17 miles of trail riding, this is it! You can
practically coast the entire way down from Whitetop Station to Damascus. Rentals range from $15-$25 depending on the length of rental time. You can also pay for shuttle service, separately or with a rental. You can visit Blue Blaze Bike & Shuttle Service for more info. There are plenty of other services as well at Damascus. The happening food place was Quincey's Pizza
and Callie's Dining. Reportedly pretty good and featured entertainment. However, it was too crowded the night we went due to Trail Days. You can get supplies at Cowboy's Exxon or CJ's Market. On Sunday
morning, I ate at Vicki's Restaurant. It featured ice cream in the afternoon and a fairly decent breakfast for a low price. Continuing on the trail, you cross over a few big iron trestles in and near Damascus from mile 16 to 18. Now the fun starts - uphill! Definitely started to feel the grade not too long after Damascus and it continued steadily all the way to
Whitetop Station. There were very few places where it leveled and you could up shift. There are a few places to get water and use restrooms but not much for additional supplies. Highly
recommend taking your own water and snacks - you will need to refuel often going uphill. There were many places to rest and picnic. Most of the land is now public and only a couple of gates that we had to open and pass through. Most of the scenary is mountainous and forest but there were two memorable places where it opened up into a wide pasture. We stopped both times just to take in the view. At mile 25.9, there's High Trestle - 550 feet long and 100 feet high. Also, there's a small river or wide creek which runs by most of the trail from Damascus. We saw many people cooling themselves or taking in the view on some rocks. At Green Cove Station, you can purchase trail items like tee shirts, hats, sweatshirts, and patches. There's also restrooms, refreshments, and water here. After Green Cove, it's only 3 miles to Whitetop. But, this is
some of the steepest grades as well. We were continuing to down shift into lower gears at this point and slowly counting the miles. One woman going the other way said we looked like salmon
going upstream as there was a fairly constant flow of folks coming down the trail, but not going up. At Whitetop, we found the renovated former station had nice facilities and a clean place to wash up after the effort. However, there are no supplies here. Then the trail actually continues for 1.3 miles downhill to the NC border. Since the elevation at Whitetop is so high, you may need a jacket for this part of the journey, especially if you shuttle/travel up there in the morning. After we rested a bit, we turned around and coasted (read, ""flew"") down the montain to Damascus. We then shuttled back to Abingdon. A few other notes: This trail is fairly far from the Washington DC area (6 hours driving). Might want to stay overnight and be well-rested. Be careful coming down the mountain, especially if you're on your own bike. While the trail surface is fairly compacted and smooth, there are are rocks to be aware of. I apparently hit one hard and ruined my wheel. Not enough to stop the ride but enough
to cause the bike shop to take one look at it and knew I couldn't use it anymore. This trail is definitely better-suited for mountain bikes. I have a hybrid and did fine with it, but the downhill was a bit rough. So to sum up, a great trail with lots of scenary, plenty of support, and various
challenge levels, depending on your time. Photos will be posted here later.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.


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