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Explore the best rated trails in Lenoir, NC, whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail and Railroad Grade Road . With more than 33 trails covering 158 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
I have biked and hiked this entire trail. Very scenic and much to see. Can be VERY busy during the weekends.
First, let me preface this review by saying my standard to which all trails are measured is the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. It is a high bar.
Second, I rode the VCT in less-than-idea conditions: Autumn leaves obscured much of the trail surface, temps 32-42 with some frozen ground and fallen walnuts.
I rode a road bike with 33" tires -- acceptable for the Abingdon-Damascus section, very rough for the Damascus-Whitetop section. I noticed that folks on fatter tires bumped right up over bridge decks, where I often had to stop and walk my bike over the ridge between the trail and bridge deck. On the ride to Whitetop from Damascus I averaged 7 mph, partly because of the elevation gain, but partly because the trail surface was so rocky I was afraid to bounce right off my seat. On the trip down from Whitetop I only averaged 7.5, for the same reason -- braking hard to miss as many rocks as I could see in the leaves. I was happy to have the trail almost to myself so I could weave back and forth to the best side of the trail when necessary. To take in the beautiful scenery along the trail, I stopped rather than looking up and hitting a rock. On the Damascus-Abingdon section I averaged 11mph in both directions, stopping most often to pass through pasture gates.
The scenery is worth stopping for though. I saw a trout jumping up one of the many small cascades in Laurel Creek, saw a hawk swoop down and pick a fish out of the creek, saw turkey vultures picking clean the bones of a carcass on the trail, and saw a Great Blue Heron and deer. Laurel Creek is in view for much of the Whitetop section. The Holston River (South Fork) and Berry Creek are also scenic, but not always visible from the trail. I can imagine how colourful the trail is when the rhododendron are blooming in June.
I didn't have trouble determining the trail direction, although had to stop to read the small signage at a few junctions. The info boards provided really interesting history and nature facts. Frequent, decent toilet facilities and having them marked on the trail map were very much appreciated. It is also a great trail for all the access points and available accommodations within a short drive of them.
As a community volunteer myself, I know that the work of maintaining a trail, bridges, historic stations and signage on public land is never done and is done in inches and feet when materials are finally available. Kudos to the volunteers who maintain the VCT!
If the Damascus-Whitetop section had the same type of trail surface as the Damascus-Abingdon section, I would have given this trail 5 stars.
This trail was just gorgeous, well kept, & clean. The first half was very wooded and scenic. The second half was thru the town congested and had lots of streets and lights to go thru. We enjoyed it because we wanted to see what the town had business wise.
There are some older reviews on here that are no longer accurate. The trail is paved from end to end. It is also well maintained as witnessed by me following guys pulling a leaf blower behind their parks Dept ATV.
The next day after having a great ride from Damascus to Abingdon I rode the section from Damascus to White Top and back. I had heard about poor trail conditions and many riders speeding down from White Top so I left Damascus at 8:00am. I’m an experienced rail trail rider having ridden more than a dozen Hall of Fame trails in the past two years. The trail conditions here are the worst I have ever experienced. The crushed gravel is covered with regular gravel over many of the miles which makes your bike harder to control. Hidden rocks partially protruding on the trail are a real danger to someone descending at more speed than they should while looking at scenery. The trail also has ruts from water runoff that are hard to negotiate. On the positive side going early meant that I encountered only one group of 8 going down. They looked to be experienced mountain bikers who slowed down and were courteous when we met on a rather narrow section. Other than that, I came across one other rider going up and two riders on e-bikes going down. Using an e-bike to ride down from White Top is actually a bit of an oxymoron. This trail conditions are suited for golf carts not bikes. I’ll never ride this trail again. In my opinion it is dangerous.
On a sunny fall mid-afternoon, I rode the section from Damascus to Abingdon. It’s a pleasant 34-mile round trip ride with a modest uphill grade to Abingdon. Overall, the trail is well maintained, unlike the section from Damascus to White Top. The first five miles are along the highway which is currently undergoing heavy construction which takes away from the scenery during those miles. The trail here is mostly in the sun and as a result is smooth double-track crushed gravel. Once away from the road and now along the river and through the woods the trail earns its reputation as a Hall of Fame trail with wide well-groomed crushed gravel surface, beautiful scenery, high trestles over flowing river. There is a bike repair station at Alvardo but no places to stop for refreshments. During our ride we encountered 20 other rides which is more than most trails I ride. Thirteen of them were on e-bikes which is by far the highest proportion of e-bikes I’ve come across. No wildlife other than 4 squirrels. Closer to Abingdon the trail becomes a quite a bit busier with walkers. We’ll be back again in the spring.
The section from Magnolia Dr to NC 73 is about 3 miles.
We rode our EBikes from Abingdon to Damascus and back to Abingdon for a total of 32 miles. The trail is wide and very well maintained. It was mostly shady and we had a fantastic time looking at the gorgeous scenery. The trestles were wonderful. Everyone we encountered was very friendly. We stopped in Damascus at the park for a picnic-break. (Most restaurants were closed due to Labor Day). We’ve ridden from Whitetop to Damascus in the past but LOVED this part of the trail too. Mostly flat with some ups and downs but no problem on our e-bikes! We will definitely return!
My wife and I ( we are in our 60's) rode our ebikes and it was a great workout. I don't think we would have made it on our mountain bikes, but we saw a guy on a regular bike. Make your way to the gravel and it's about 5 miles out and 5 miles back. It is very similar to a rail trail, but it does have some hills. Well maintained and not crowded on the gravel trail. We'll be back.
The rail to ROAD conversion provides an excellent asphalt surface for road bikes. We train a lot out on the roads in SC and found this 20 mile course (10 miles out and back) so enjoyable. While we experienced local road traffic, drivers were very courteous. We never felt unsafe and saw several other riders. When we come back this way we will definitely does this again.
Beautiful scenery! A lot of the ride is shaded through the trees. The trail is well maintained. Love how long it is too!
Our group of 4 just did the Va. Creeper Trail from Whitetop to Damascus on our e-bikes yesterday! We used Shuttle Shack to get us and our bikes to the top. It was no problem at all, saw many other e-bikes too. Maybe the non motorized just means gas engines like mini bikes? It was a wonderful day on a magnificent trail… we all loved it!
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