Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail


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Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Grayson, Washington
Length: 34 miles
Trail end points: Green Spring Rd & Gibson St (Abingdon) and Dolinger Rd (Whitetop)
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017233

Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail Description

Inducted into RTC’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2014, the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail offers scenic wonders ranging from dense forests, open fields, and lush waterways to railroad relics and delightful small towns. Visitors and residents alike love the length of the trail, its multiple access points, and the wide range of uses; in addition to walking and biking, horseback riding is permitted on the full length of the trail.

There are so many trestles along the route that each is numbered, with an identifying plaque at either end. Originally, there were more than 100 trestles spanning the region’s web of picturesque creeks and rivers; 47 remain on the rail-trail today.

Many bike shops in Abingdon (the western terminus) and Damascus (roughly halfway through the trail) offer bike rentals and shuttles to the eastern terminus at the Whitetop Station trailhead (elevation 3,500') at the Virginia–North Carolina border. Most trail users opt for a shuttle from Abingdon or Damascus up to Whitetop Station and then hike or ride back down. Riders can also head to Abingdon directly from Damascus or, for a more challenging route, bike up from Abingdon or Damascus to Whitetop Station.

The first 17-mile stretch heading west from Whitetop to Damascus travels downhill through terrific scenery, from Christmas tree farms and grazing cattle to river views and deep forestland. It includes four access points, some of which are housed in restored railroad depots. Green Cove Station, the oldest station on the trail, was once a post office, general store, and cargo location. Today, it serves as a museum with artifacts on display—including original mailboxes—and frequently features photography exhibits and live music from local groups. The Appalachian Trail weaves on and off the Creeper as well.

Around the midpoint of the Creeper Trail, you’ll reach Damascus. If you’re continuing to Abingdon, you can enjoy this charming town’s restaurants and shops before tackling the rest of the trail. From Damascus to trail’s end in Abingdon, the constant downhill is exchanged for a flat grade with gentle rises and descents. It’s not strenuous, but it is a change from the first section. This stretch also includes some of the trail’s most beautiful river and farmland views.

On a ridgeline high above the South Fork of the Holston River, you’ll emerge onto a bridge offering invigorating views of South Holston Lake below. As you continue toward Abingdon, you’ll pass through cattle gates marking your entrance to the Creeper’s expansive grazing meadows.

About half a mile from Abingdon is a public park with restrooms, picnic areas, and a water fountain. Just across the last bridge, you’ll reach the Abingdon trailhead and the Virginia Creeper Trail Welcome Center, open almost daily in season (April–mid-November). Here, you’ll find trail merchandise, maps, water, and knowledgeable staff. You also can find several campgrounds nearby, including those operated by the U.S. Forest Service in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

Parking and Trail Access

In Damascus, parking is available at Green Cove Station (41259 Green Cove Rd) and Taylor’s Valley Trailhead (Waccamaw Ln & Taylor Valley Rd).  

In Abingdon, parking is available at Alvarado Station (21198 Alvarado Rd), Watauga Trailhead on Watauga Rd, by the Abingdon Terminus (300 Green Spring Rd).

To get to the Whitetop Station trailhead, follow US 58 east from Abingdon into Grayson County. Turn right on State Route 726 and head south toward the North Carolina border. You will see the parking area off of 726.

To get to the Abingdon trailhead, head south on Main Street/US 11 in Abingdon and turn left onto Pecan Street. There is a large locomotive engine on display by the trailhead, which you can see to the left of the parking lot.


Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail Reviews

Fun for all

The is a fun trail but you need to be careful going on and off the bridges. Not rode bike friendly. Well worth the Hall of Fame statue.

By far my favorite trial

Beautiful scenery, great hangout spots along the river, mostly downhill.

Still a favorite trail despite tree barrier

Rode an out and back from Damascus to ABD Trailhead. Trail was in great shape except for a large oak tree blocking the entire trail at approx the 6.75 mile point from ABD. A challenging social path has formed on the river side of the trail. The smart move is to just turn around and ride back the way you came. We weren’t that wise today so we bushwhacked around the tree and did our out and back. The trail surface was in great shape and obvious trail maintenance is keeping the “Creeper Trail” at its “creepy” best. At least the stretch we rode today.

Loved Abingdon to Damascus

I am training for the Virginia Creeper Marathon on 4/7/24 and love this section of the trail. It is through woods and farmland, along a river, and over more than a dozen trestles. There are good parking and restroom facilities along this route. Looking forward to the marathon!


I have biked and hiked this entire trail. Very scenic and much to see. Can be VERY busy during the weekends.

I have biked and hiked this entire trail. Very scenic and much to see. Can be VERY busy during the weekends.

Fewer rocks or more bum padding?

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.

Damascus to White Top - Awful

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.

Damascus to Abingdon - Awesome

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.

Simply the Best!

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!

Loved it!

Beautiful scenery! A lot of the ride is shaded through the trees. The trail is well maintained. Love how long it is too!

To jnjtenn who did a review in March 2023

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!

Beautiful trail

My wife and I completed the trail yesterday and it was a pleasure to ride. The scenery was beautiful and the trail was maintained very well. We hope to ride the trail again this fall.

Great Trail

Everything you read and hear is correct. Shuttle up and ride down or ride up for a well deserved ride back down. Can be crowded at times but during the week it is usually very peaceful.


I am 70 and handicapped with a heart condition. I have an e-bike that allows me some mobility. I have exercised to a point where I could physically ride this and enjoy it, but am prevented from doing so by regulation, as this is a “non-motorized” trail. What can we do to get this re-classified?

Stress Release Ride

10/25/22 Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful on a beautiful Fall Day. Maybe 20 people on the trail. Did Whitetop to Abingdon. Lunch break in Damascus. 6 hours seat time. Rid the everyday life of stress & enjoy the Creeper.

Easy Fall Ride

Over the course of two days, we took a shuttle from Damascus, VA (there are several) to Whitetop Station and rode basically all downhill about 17 miles to Damascus. Beautiful scenery and many trestles. The second day we rode from Damascus to Abingdon, VA and back for a total of about 32 miles. Damascus to Abingdon is relatively flat so you are constantly pedaling. I would highly. recommend this trail to anyone.

Not Perfect but pretty close

Just finished the entire trail. Very beautiful and well maintained. Lots to see and do along the way. Much easier ride from Damascus to Abingdon than Whitetop to Damascus. If you ride midday the sunlight filtering through the trees while beautiful can interfere with your vision. More crowded in Abingdon. I think it deserves the designation as a Hall of Fame trail.

Creeper Trail is worth the trip

Drove from Northern Virginia to ride the Creeper Trail. Used a drop off service to get to the top and then enjoyed every mile of our 17 mile coast back to Damascus.

The most significant trail issue I had was the transition from the man bridges to the trail bed. Sometimes there is a lip of several inches that can be 3 or 4 inches of level change as you transit from path to bridge to path.

Otherwise the scenery is awesome and the downhill effort is minimal. Continuing west beyond Damascus is a gentle grade with more nice country views and worth the visit.

Beautiful trail being neglected.

I rode this trail a dozen times and it was always my favorite trail. My wife and I even thought about retiring close enough that we can ride/walk the trail every day. Rode the entire trail from abingdon to White Top and back in August 2022. I haven’t ridden the trail in two years and I was a little surprised at how eroded the trail has become and it seems as almost no maintenance on the trail during that time except the underpass as you come into Damascus. Much of the cinder trail on the famed white top to Damascus section was showing its base layer. It was so unstable riding up that you could not enjoy the scenery as I remembered. Was too concerned with keeping my eye on the trail. I kept thinking how difficult this must be for young children on small bikes, kids being towed in bike carriers and for older people. This is no longer a gentle ride.

I kept thinking another two years like the last and the Virginia Creeper Trail becomes the first HOF trail to be delisted. I actually rode Jeb Stewart hwy down from white top station instead of the creepers trail.

Going to try the New River Trail just north of abingdon.

virgin creeper trail.

The best trail in the state Abington to Damascus is pretty flat and places to park. Damascus to white top is the real Challenge. 7 miles uphill. Most people take the ride service up and ride down (hold on for your life ) beautiful I’m the fall

One of the most scenic

Always a great and beautiful ride! Streams, waterfalls, lots of trestles, shade - it’s great.

First Ride of the Season

Spectacular scenery, especially the first 12 mi from Damascus to Whitetop. We rode hybrid ebikes, up and back, and the trail conditions were rougher than other rail trails we’ve ridden- but it might have been better with different tires or later in the season. A beautiful sunny day, but not many other riders on the trail this time of year.

Top notch experience

We accessed the Virginia Creeper trail in Damascus in December 2021. The first day we rode downriver for 6 miles or so and returned the same way. It is a lovely ride with some road noise but after a few miles the trail separates from the road and it becomes a pleasant country ride. On day 2 we booked a shuttle to Whitetop, the top of the trail, with Sundog Outfitters. The 17 mile ride back to Damascus was nothing short of spectacular! We pretty much had the trail to ourselves, which I hear is not the case in the summer and fall. The views were amazing, the trestles intriguing, and the trail was in great shape. One of favorite trails to date.

Real fun, great scenery but get an early start!

Had my wife drive me up the narrow winding road up to Whitetop and drop me off for the ride all the way down to Abingdon where she picked me up and I bought dinner (of course).
Word of advice: Get an EARLY start. Just as I was setting off from the top, three rigs of bikes and bikers were ferried to the top to ride down.

Few of these are frequent bikers as is evident by their attire, and that's fine and I'm glad they're there to enjoy the experience. But I really enjoyed the fast ride down the first 17 miles and if I was in a group or came up on a group it would not be enjoyable at all.

The scenery is top-notch, but in a group it would be hard to pay attention and not crash down the ravine.

Whitetop to Damascus is not all downhill, there are plenty of relatively flat spots. The trail is mostly dirt and some rocks that can throw the tire if you don't watch out. But I just loved the speed I gained and the clear trail ahead. If you're riding uphill please watch out for those coming down - they probably don't expect an uphill rider nor know trail etiquette.

Damascus has several incredible bike shops. I had a great time visiting, checking out equipment and talking with the owners.

Eat at Wicked Chicken! Fantastic menu and quite varied and the food is amazing. There's also an ice cream shop on the premises, and bike lock-up is safe. Service is first-rate.

Damascus to Abingdon is actually much more scenic that the downhill portion, going through beautiful farm country, very small towns, plenty of river crossings and open fields.

My only criticism of this trail is the trail transition on to the trestles - not smooth and one must lift up the front tire. In some cases (not all) its like trying to jump a curb. Hopefully in time this is fixed.

Next year I'm considering either staying in Abingdon or Damascus and riding the trail from there. Frankly, there's too much scenery to absorb in just one ride - and the food in Abingdon and Damascus is fantastic.

Two days in October

The Virginia Creeper Trail is beautiful. My husband and I stayed in Damascus and rode our e-bikes, we are in our 60s, from there to Whitetop and back, then Damascus to Abington the next day. The trail was crowded the first day going against the people who were shuttled to the top but nice on the way back. We rode on a Wednesday. It was a wonderful ride. One which I would recommend to anyone.

Good ride from Damascus to Abingdon, be careful around town

Parked at the town park in Damascus. There were tons of people around gearing up to ride on a nice Friday morning. Assumed that most were riding/shuttling east up to Whitetop, so we decided to ride west to Abingdon to avoid some of the crowds. Just leaving the town park headed west had to cross the busy main road. No crosswalk was painted on the road, a huge oversight given the number of people crossing the road. First short section of the trail was narrow, with soft fill, so had to proceed with caution. First three miles or so were close to the main road, not such a great section of trail. After Alvarado, trail rose gradually up to Abingdon, nice views of the river and some sections through farmlands. The bridge surfaces were in great shape. Trail surface was usually very good, 32 mm wide tires. Saw quite a few riders heading east from Abingdon towards Damascus. Watch out for the gates that require you to stop and open them!

Trail is in disrepair (Damascus to Whitetop)

The trail is in horrible condition. Ruts and large rocks are plentiful. Plus the trail is full of people who have been shuttled to the top riding down with little regard for anyone riding up. I went on a Wednesday and it was packed. I can't imagine a weekend. Stunning scenery though, but I won't return.

Don't go against the flow

From Damascus to Whitetop going uphill, the trail is hazardous. Not only are there droves of people coasting down, not all are experienced riders, there are children and people just not paying attention. Add to that that the trail is fairly narrow, the surface can be rocky, so it is not an enjoyable experience. Going downhill is not much better since people randomly brake or stop. The surroundings, however, are beautiful. We went on a semi-holiday (Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day) so maybe it's better during the week.

Watch out for idiots

The trail is fairly enjoyable except for the endless waves of idiots who are bussed to the top and coast downhill side by side. Rode the whole trail from Abingdon-Whitetop-Abingdon and thoroughly enjoyed the ride except for the Damascus-Whitetop section. It wasn't the climb that bothered me but the droves of people riding downhill on the wrong side of the trail. I was nearly hit head-on at least six or seven times in the last 5 miles before reaching Whitetop.


Took a shuttle to White Top Station and biked the length of the VCT back to Abingdon. A wonderful 34 mile ride with a stop in Damascus for lunch. Leaf color starting to pop and so many amazing bridges to cross. This was my second time and will return again and again. Two thumbs way up!!

Go get your Creeper on!

We did an out and back from Abingdon to Whitetop and it was an excellent adventure! Two items to take into consideration: 1st ~ There are outfitters who provide a service of taking riders up to Whitetop and they will descend to Damascus. This group will include all different skill levels of cyclists and there are some challenges on that section to include washout ruts, rock gardens {vertical, pointed rocks protruding 2" to 3" out of the ground} and tight corners. If you are still climbing up to Whitetop and they are on the descent ~ you could experience issues. 2nd - Most of the trestles/bridges do not have a smooth transition onto the bridges where some have a 5" to 6" or more drop especially in direction of the descent. With that being said, still a stellar trail, stop in Damascus and explore the local stores right by the Virginia Creeper.

trikes can do it

Triking Whitetop to Abingdon 8/9/21: couldn’t do the short backtrack to the state line as the trail is single track and a little overgrown, but rest of trail is accessible to trikes. Shocked at the vanloads of people getting dropped off by outfitters at Whitetop and entire trail was pretty busy for a Monday. Whitetop to Damascus I barely pedaled and aside from a few spots between Damascus and Abingdon where the trail opens up and grass grows between the two tracks, the flats were doable and pleasant.

WOW - just wow!

What an incredible experience. Took the shuttle from Abingdon to White Top and rode one of the more incredible trails I've seen. The upper portion (about 12 miles) is entirely downhill and bit rough in many areas. Just have to pay attention and it is very doable on a hybrid bike. Have lunch at one of the many places in Damascus, about mile 17 and then get ready for a smoother, flatter 17 mile ride to Abingdon. The views are incredible especially the 44 trestles and other assorted scenery. One of the very best rides ever!

Tough Ride, But Worth It

We set out on our gravel bikes from Abington and rode to Whitetop and back. We are avid road cyclists and I’ve got to admit that the stretch from Damascus to Whitetop was no joke. It was a slow, steady grind to Whitetop. We should have brought more fluid. Each of us brought two bottles and we burned through those quickly. We were able to stop for Gatorade and cold water on the way back at the Bike Exchange in Damascus. There was nothing open in Whitetop on the day we rode.

All I can say is Wow!

We rode from Damascus up to Whitetop snd back down again. The trip up is strenuous and well worth the effort. There are bike shops in town that will take you up so you can ride down as well which will be the beat best for some folks. The pristine natural forest, bridges and streams have a beauty that can’t be seen off trail. The ride is so pleasant and the day was amazing. The trail isn’t super wide and it is in great shape. There is some loose gravel here and there so you want to use caution and good sense.

Lives up to the hype

My wife and I rode a good portion of the trail in early spring. Although we rode the more difficult direction from west to east, the views along the way were outstanding. We will definitely be back!

The bridge abutments REALLY need smoothed out.

The bridge abutments REALLY need smoothed out.

Virginia Creeper Trail

The “Creeper” is a nationally recognized rail trail in southwest Virginia. People of all riding abilities can ride parts of this trail; it’s downhill from Whitetop to Damascus and you can get a shuttle to the top of the mountain! There are 46 bridges or trestles along this 34 mile pastoral ride between Whitetop and Abingdon, Virginia. Definitely worth a visit. We did a YouTube video of our ride that you can find on our channel, Bent on Bike Trails.

Beautiful but Bumpy!

Whitetop down to Damascus was a downright scary ride for me. When I was 15, I fell off my bike and broke my jaw -- this ride brought back that memory almost the whole way down. The scenery, however, was gorgeous. Would MUCH prefer to have hiked this, even part of it vs what we did. We had ridden the Abingdon to Damascus leg a few months ago, and that was a really nice ride. Thia surprised us both!

Good, not great

On October 6 2020, I pedaled round trip from Damascus, VA to Abingdon, VA on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

At Abingdon, I walked around town for an hour or so before making the return trip. Abingdon is a nice town with many historic buildings and markers that I enjoyed reading.

This part of the trail was uncrowded and has a lot of nice-to-beautiful scenery.

I had planned to ride a 2nd day on the trail, doing a round trip from Damascus to the end of the trail at Whitetop, but after seeing the crowds that were taking the shuttle to Whitetop, I changed my plans. I didn’t want to be pedaling uphill and having to avoid the crowds coming down. I was told by a couple of the shuttle drivers that I talked to that this is the most crowded time of year on the trail because people come to see the fall colors. Maybe I’ll return after the leaves have fallen to do the Damascus to Whitetop section.

Why 4 stars instead of 5? Partly because the Creeper Trail is over-hyped, so my expectations were sky high. It is a nice trail, but I much preferred the New River Trail (which I rode on October 9 and 10) because it is less crowded, has better scenery, and is better maintained than the Creeper.

stay in Damascus for this ride and ride it twice

The best section of this trail is from White Top mountain to Damascus Virginia, so just stay in Damascus and take a few rides from there. Get a shuttle to White Top stop for lunch, swimming or fishing in the creek. Later on, or even same day, you can ride from your vacation house to the Abingdon winery. My wife and I didn’t really want to ride back after a bottle of wine, but we did. It’s an easy ride. There’s also lots of other great , close by outdoors options from Damascus as well .

White Top to Abington, then Demascus back up to White Top

Beautiful trail. Worth the time and effort. Completed the entire trail from white top to Abington once, trail is rocky and loose gravel in some places so keep your eyes open. From white top to demascus it’s a breeze, demascus to Abington is a bit tougher due to loosing the trees and river most of the way adding extra heat to the trail. But it’s manageable. Biked up from demascus to white top the 2nd and that was a workout especially after Taylor’s Valley area with the steady climb and having to watch out from the groups coming down the trail off and on. Gotta watch out for the fly byes and little kiddies but most are respectful. Good times all in all!

Very scenic

This was more challenging with a steady climb to Damascus and even steeper after Damascus. Very pretty scenery. Gravel was more challenging than paved and even the GAP but worth a trip to ride it.

Creeper Trail is Being Loved to Death in the Fall

I had a hard time rating my recent trip on the Trail. Since I began riding the Trail in 2008 I have promoted the Creeper Trail to others as Virginia's Crown Jewel of trails. After a five year lapse, we came back to bike our favorite section from Whitetop to Damascus. We always take the first morning shuttle up and enjoy taking most of the day to slowly enjoy the views with the sunlight through the trees in the woods and time along the creek. We have always avoided the crowds of the weekends and holidays.

Thursday Oct 10 was our recent visit. It looked like the weekends of earlier years with the group sizes and the families with children (not in school?). Everyone on the trail got to practice the "on your left" greeting. We heard it 1000 times and felt badly we were holding others up. Our joy was taken away. The volunteer at Green Cove said the previous Saturday set a record estimated at 3800 visitors. Whew!

I am happy to see the increased use and support for the trail and its economic benefits for Southwest Virginia. I am now saddened to find no predictable lighter use days in the Fall for those of us who 'march to a different beat' and want to experience it differently than others.

As an aside, the Tuesday after Labor Day in September, we biked our favorite section of the Greenbrier River Trail near Marlinton WV. During seven hours we saw five people and some were abutting property owners cutting grass. The Greenbrier is wonderful in so many ways, but it's not quite the Creeper Trail experience. My Greenbrier River Trail review in September, 2019 is on TrailLink.

A fine ride

I had high expectations for the Virginia Creeper Trail as I heard many great things about the trail. I feel the Creeper is an average trail that did not live up to my expecations but still worth my trip from Philadelphia.

I started at White Top Depot and rode to the terminus at Abingdon. I rode on Labor Day and started early to avoid the crowds I had read about. The section to Damascus is almost all down hill which I did not enjoy, I felt that I wasn't doing any work for my mileage. The path isn't in the best shape so I needed to always pay attention to my speed and the path ahead and couldn't take in the scenery as much as I would've liked to. Damascus is a cyclist town as there are multiple bike shops and places to eat and is a perfect half way point to rest.

The second half of the Creeper from Damascus to Abingdon offered a much better ride to me as I had to actually pedal and work a bit which I enjoyed. The trail seemed to be in better condition and I was able to take in the scenery more. The cattle gates do require you to stop but I didn't mind as it was a nice change of pace from the constant downhill from White Top to Damascus.

The scenry is beautiful and changes from farmland to breathtaking views from some of the larger trestles. There are bathrooms at each trail head but there is no cell service until you get close to Abingdon so plan accordingly. I was able to get ahead of the crowds if I didn't I don't think my ride would've been as enjoyable. The section from White Top to Damascus is narrow and I could see issues with unskilled riders. If you are looking for an easy 17 mile ride I would highly recommend the ride from White Top to Damascus, as an avid rail trail rider I found the Creeper to be average.

Aug 3, 2019 ride

The trail sites are spectacular. We parked at Damascus our first day and biked up the mountain. We were warned by two locals that I spoke to that the trail would be of heavy use of people coming down the mountain. The ride up is not that hard. If you are in fair shape the slope is not bad. The trail itself is more dirt and rock than crushed stone. The bridges that you cross all have 1-2 inch edges that make it difficult to get on the bridge. About 5 miles up we began to meet bikers in groups of 10-12 or more. Twice I had to yell lookout. These weekend bikers do not know the rules of the trail. 2-3 wide and not moving over. These groups are bused to the top so they can coast down. We easily met over 200 bikers. We will bike this part again but not on a weekend. The next day we parked 4 miles south of Abingdon. This part of the trail is in better condition with crush stone. We rode to Abingdon first and there is an old locomotive to see. Again the scenery is nice to look at. You will also cross over a lake between mile marker 7-8. The bad part of this trail, 6 times you have to open gates to ride this trail. I talked to a local and asked why. I was told this is private property and the farmer is trying to keep his cattle out. From what I read this is not private property but owned by Abingdon. Overall this is a beautiful trail. Well worth our trip from Pittsburgh. RDD

Five hours from Damascus to Whitetop

I have a somewhat different viewpoint from "The Better Half" review. I found the ride up from Damascus to Whitetop to be pretty strenuous, taking me nearly five hours to go the 18 miles (not 16). This includes numerous breaks, including the nearly life-saving one at Green Cove, which is about 3 or 4 miles from Whitetop. The ride down took only about an hour and 45 minutes, not including the break for a delicious burger at the Creeper Trail Cafe. After riding uphill for hours, the ride down was a blessed relief, though it can indeed be quite bumpy. Also could be quite dangerous. I'm sure there are some epic wipeouts. On my way up a large group of people were gathered around a teenage girl (who was wearing sandals!) on the ground with an injured leg who had apparently taken a spill. But the ride up is indeed where you can really appreciate the many spectacular views of the white water rivers. So many you may become blase' about them, particularly as you become more and more fatigued, because of course the trail gets steeper the further you go. On the way down, unless you stop, you barely take in the scenery. You're too focused on not having a wreck. I think it gives an indication on how challenging the ride up is that though many, many people were going down - often in large groups - when I went downhill I met not a single person - not ONE - who was going up. Don't be fooled into thinking it's not tough. And oddly, there are very few benches along the way for resting. Between Damascus and Abingdon, there are many benches.

This elevation chart is informative.

Weekday Ride

We rode the trail from Abingdon to Straight Branch Trailhead and back on Monday and from Straight Branch to NC Border and back on Tuesday. This would be an easy one day one way ride and most likely doable forward and back over entire trail for riders who are in good shape.

The trail has immense natural beauty and the trestles are cool. We saw turkeys, deer, snakes, geese, herons or cranes, ducks and many other wild birds along the way.

The trail is basically downhill from Abingdon to the Holsten River crossing and then uphill from there. The grade from Damascus to Whitetop is much steeper but not overwhelming. I would be scared to try and attempt the return from Whitetop to Damascus on a weekend due the steeper grade which allows you to drift easily to 15-20 mph. It was a little challenging getting around the downhill bikers who were bused to the top from bike rental shops in Damascus. This section of could be dangerous for inexperienced bikers such as young children or older adults who are not bike savvy.

The trail was generally in good shape with a few rough spots. The trail was primarily crushed stone. The last 1.2 miles from Whitetop to the NC border is relatively unmaintained compared to rest of trail. Quite frankly it is an incentive to ride to NC border and would encourage better maintenance, also would be nice to get NC to continue with the development (thank you Damascus and Abingdon for your efforts). I also think a short shunt to Tennessee would be cool since it is so close.

We ate lunch at the Creeper Cafe and food was good and filling.

The diversity along the trail from farm fields to falling rivers and creeks was very nice. Need to watch out for the cows in a few locations we almost had a collision. Stopping for gates was annoying but understand the need and appreciate the willingness of property owners to allow the trail to be used on their property.

Alvarado to Abingdon 16mi round trip

As most of the other reviews have said, the popular thing to do is 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, but it does not involve much pedaling. On the other hand, going uphill from Damascus to Whitetop is a real thigh burner only for the athletic. So 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 8mi to Abingdon. Then when you turn around, it is an easier gradual downhill ride back to the car. Very scenic, crossing a large trestle, farmland and woods. You can also go Alvarado to Damascus, but it runs along a road much of the way and is not as scenic. The Creeper trail is not paved, but the small gravel is very easy for a hybrid bike.

The Better Half

Most of the reviews you read talk about the van ride from Damascus to White Top for the long coast down. I told my wife about this and she informed me we could ride our bikes up the trail then coast down. This statement was accompanied by mutterings of burning calories and staying healthy. So I said what any good husband says...."Yes Dear". We rode the 16 miles up from Damascus to White Top. It's not that difficult. Most of the ride is only 1% or 2% grade with the last 3 miles being the toughest at a 3% grade. The slower pace allows the rider to see the more beautiful parts of the river. We continued beyond White Top to the North Carolina border (An extra mile) before doing the long coast back to Damascus and a meal. We did not enjoy the ride down, too bumpy and constantly riding your brakes. The ride up is better.
We stayed in Abingdon so we decided we would start the creeper at its most westerly point and ride to Damascus, eat lunch, then return. My wife and I both enjoyed this section of the Creeper much more than the eastern half that most people ride. Beautiful long trestle bridges, scenic overlooks and the red bud trees in their full spring pink. Be prepared to stop and open some farm gates but the ride is great with roughly a 300 foot elevation change over 16 miles.
After biking 34 miles the first day and 32 miles the second, we finished back in Abingdon with enough time to visit the local winery and then dinner at a place called "The Tavern". It's a little up-scale and expensive but we enjoyed an excellent meal, and they don't mind if you are wearing your biking clothes.
The reason for a four-star rating of the Creeper is the crowding of fast downhill bikers on the eastern half making the trail less peaceful and a very high local tax in Abingdon on top of state tax leading to 12.5% tax on your purchases.

Great Rides

We spent two days in Abington for the trail. One day for each direction. We came down to White Top on day one to Abington and reversed our direction on day 2. We saw deer, wild turkey and rabbits early in the morning. A shading canopy made it most delightful. Most people ride down from White Top but the ride up is great too. It starts at one percent for a few miles, then two and finally three. With 45 bridges and all the historical and info markers, it is quite a ride. I recommend avoiding weekends as it gets very busy. Damascus is fun and thecrestaurants in Abington are exceptional. And there are NO fast food joints. Go and have a great time. Oh yea, no cell service so take a spare tube and the necessary tools for the trip.

messy Monday

We took a shuttle to Whitetop Station and planned on riding the entire trail then back to Damascus where we parked. The rain was so heavy there only made it back to Damascus where the young man at Damascus Adventure hosed our bikes and us down. It seems to me the trail between Whites and Damascus could use a little grading and more gravel on the surface. The re could be some pruning on the trees and shrubs too. I wish the weather would have cooperated but it is what it is. I would love to go back and try again. There were plenty of friendly people on the trail and on the shuttle.

Abingdon to Damascus

Got a map and info. at Abingdon Creeper Trail office. Nice shady trail with some challenging grade changes. Beautiful ride. Damascus trail park clean and neat. Lots of bikes out with friendly folks. Enjoy !!!

Thia was an exhilarating ride. took shuttle provided by mom & pop company in damascus to top of mountain. 17 mile downhill ride. a little rough in spots but all in all a great ride. small restaurant once back in damascus for a quick bite.

Thia was an exhilarating ride. took shuttle provided by mom & pop company in damascus to top of mountain. 17 mile downhill ride. a little rough in spots but all in all a great ride. small restaurant once back in damascus for a quick bite.

Spring 2018 on the Virginia Creeper Trail

As a 60 year old man, I've wanted to do the VCT for quite some time. Last year, I got an e-bike to ride some of the hills in the Appalachian Mountains. It has made riding so enjoyable for a guy my age and since then, I ride so much more often. I have to say, it made riding up the hill from Damascus to White Top a pure pleasure and the ride back down...well that's what everyone seems to love doing. The scenery along this jewel of a trail is awesome. Don't forget to take a good camera. I'm planning to do the Abingdon, Virginia half soon. Can't wait!

Just an awesome rail trail to enjoy with bridges, rapids, old rail stops.

If you are anywhere close to this trail, I suggest you plan a day trip here. Road the VA Creeper Trail 11/1/17. Wonderful fall colors, scenic streams and rapids to see and hear. Many scenic bridges too. Stopped for a good lunch in Damascus. Look forward to my next visit in the spring or summer.

Don't Fear the Uphill

If you have been riding at all before you head to the VCT, don't be afraid to do the trail from Damascus to Whitetop. Yes it goes uphill, but it is not a steep grade and is easily accomplished.
The scenery along the VCT is nice, but the trail isn't as well maintained as many R2Ts on the East Coast. Three trails that offer as much in scenery and a better ride are the GAP (Western PA), Heritage Trail (York,PA) and Pine Creek (Wellsboro, PA).
Given the number of shuttle services in Damascus it looks like the crowds on the weekends are crazy.

One of the Very Best

Rode the Creeper on two warm days last November. The scenery is gorgeous--one of the prettiest rail trails anywhere. Abingdon and Damascus are very nice. I have ridden all sorts of trails from the Katy to the GAP/C&O and this is a pretty as they come.

October Dreamland

Do not miss this trail, even if you have to travel from Alaska to get to Virginia.

Very Very Vine!

Who would not like 18 miles of downhill? Early this fall, my non-bike riding family (NBRF) headed to the VCT. We stayed the weekend and rented our bikes in Abingdon, VA. I would recommend reserving your lodging and bikes as soon as you decide to ride. Arriving at the bike rental 30 mins. early we took the 50-minute shuttle to the top of Whitetop Mtn. The TH can become crowded even on an off-day so we waited until the “herd” left and took the spur, opposite direction of the trail, to the North Carolina state line. The first part of the 1 mile spur looked overgrown but it cleared out quickly and was totally worth the effort and is picture worthy at the NC sign. To me, the trail had a “back-country” feel to it with stops at vistas, multiple creek crossings, AT intersections and running creeks in the hollows for the entire length. We decided to lunch at the Creeper Trail Café, all I can say is that it’s located in beautiful Taylor Valley. If we do the trail again, I would take lunch and stop, eat & play along creekside. My NBRF was doing their best to get to the last shuttle pick-up so they would not have to ride the second half that they missed Damacus entirely. Having been to the town previously on the AT, I would recommend taking the time to explore the uniqueness of this community.
The 17 miles after Damacus to Abingdon, to me, was the better half of the trail. The trail meandered through a lot of private land, grateful to all the landowners, via working farms and through grazing cattle. I thought that I got off the trail when I hit the first gate but they operate on a weighted hinge. You will be riding along the beautiful South Fork of the Holston River until you encounter both the lengthy South Fork lake trestle and the magnificent curved trestle (best I’ve ever crossed) at the confluence of the middle & south forks. The remainder of the ride is slightly uphill through pastoral and residential settings. After 5 hours of glorious riding, I arrived at Engine #433 in Abingdon to a couple of cold Yee-Haws!

Awesome trail!

My husband and I rode this trail from Damascus to White Top and back in early September. Beautiful trail!! It was a fairly easy ride since we were stopping often to take pics on our way up. The first 3 of the last 3.5 miles were more difficult as the hill grade increased somewhat. It levels back out for the last 1/2 mile. We've ridden part of the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota and I found the Creeper to be an easier ride.
The only disappointment was no wildlife sitings. None. Not even a squirrel. Not many people on the trail as we started early but met a group coming down as we reached the top. Someday, I'd love to ride this trail in the fall when the leaves are changing color.

Exciting downhill on a touring bike

I'm normally a road cyclist, but rode this beautiful trail on a Surley touring bike. It worked, but a mountain bike with suspension would be better as the trail is gravel/dirt with a some small rain gullies here and there. Closer to Abingdon, the trail is basically two ruts through the grass, but easy to navigate. I highly recommend taking the shuttle from the bike shop at the Abingdon trailhead up to Whitetop. You won't even have to peddle for the first 1/3 of the ride down.

I started at the top of the mountain in fog and dense woods (chilly even in August) and biked down into bucolic farm land dotted with red barns, farm houses, corn fields and cows. This is a beautiful trail and I hope to do it again some fall when the leaves are in full color.

One of the BEST - Every Biker should do it at least once!

I have done the BEAUTIFUL & AMAZING VA CREEPER TR with several friends 3 times over the past few years. We live in Raleigh; our schedule follows: * Reserve the Hikers Inn @ Damascas VA for 2 nights * Drive in on Day ONE and ride out and back to Abingdon VA ~17 miles each way - the terrain on this half is a "big bowl" shape and not tough at all! * Day TWO ride/climb up the mountain to the NC end-point and "coast" all the way back ~about 17 miles each way - The ride up the mountain has incredible sights/sounds due to the many bridges with running water & rocks - On the way up, we stop at many bridges to soak it all in! * Day THREE, if we have a car ride up the mountain, we again "coast" down the mountain before driving back to Raleigh. My wife and I go several times a year to the BARTER THEATRE in Abingdon VA. Over 3 days/2nights, We will attend 3 different plays and ride the trail on our Tandem Bike for 6 miles out and back each day! This makes for a wonderful 3-day weekend any time during the year!

Beautiful Mountains

Virginia Creeper Trail - Very different that most trails. We went during the week in June. No crowds but I've heard it's different on week-ends. The shuttle takes you to the top of the Whitetop Mountain. There is NO PEDALING on the way down - the last mile has a little pedaling. Not really exercise but I would still recommend the trip. It is almost all thru the woods. The woods are beautiful and the construction of the old rail trail is impressive.

Damascus To Abingdon - We took a shuttle to Abingdon and biked back to Damascus. The trip is 18 miles one way. Roundtrip would have been a little much for us since we did the Virginia Creeper trail in the morning. When leaving Abingdon the trail is slightly downhill most of the way to Damascus. Except for the last 3 miles, it is all shaded. A lovely scenic trail. Well kept.

We stayed in the lovely little town of Damascus.

Beauty and fun for all

So many ways to enjoy this trail! Today, my husband and I started at Abingdon and rode to Damascus and back. Love the trestle bridges! The trail alternates between green meadows and lush green shady forests next to the river. We have taken the shuttle from Damascus to Whitetop and ridden down before. We have parked in Damascus and ridden to Abingdon, lunched, and ridden back. ONE TIME we ride from Damascus up to Whitetop and back. We were pretty proud of ourselves for that one. We are both in our early fifties, fairly fit, but by no means do we ride regularly. It is a very do-able trail for all levels due to the variety of ways you can go. It does get busy on the weekends. We particularly enjoy it during the weekdays when it is less crowded.

If you're looking for a good climb!

Looking for a good climb I rode the Virginia Creeper Trail for the first time starting in Damascus climbing to top of Whitetop Mountain, the N.C. border and back down really enjoying the challenging ride. That Friday in late April it rained steady with temps in the low 50's. The good part was that I didn't have to compete with the crowds of bike tourists gliding down from the top that I'd read about on this site. I crossed paths with a couple of hikers and maybe five bikes heading downhill.
I rode my cyclocross bike with 32mm cross tires that worked great. The climb was a steady moderate grade with the last 3 miles or so becoming steep with what I'd guess was a 10-12+ percent grade good for some burning legs. Even with the rain the scenery was spectacular. The trail follows a beautiful rushing stream through dense forest the with large boulders, a good number of nice bridges some built on the old trestles, cool little villages and old train stations with relics such as old rail cars.
Given the chilly conditions and that I had become soaked to the bone the glide back down turned into a survival ride possibly verging on the beginning stages of hypothermia. My fault for not choosing the correct clothing for the conditions since I was expecting it to soon clear up to which it never did.

Overall I give this trail 5 stars and plan on going back during the summer heat to ride the entire length.

Not bad

plenty of runners, myself included.
trail little rough for running, however, beautiful scenery, enjoyed the several bridges
drove up from Johnson city, worth the drive

As good as it gets.

I have ridden plenty of rail trails and bike routes. This is among the best. The town of Abingdon is charming as well. The perfect trip is an historic downtown B&B in Abingdon, bike to the microbrewery by the tracks, and then the eclectic morning coffee shop, to the shuttle, get to the top and ride back to your digs. Don't drive your car for two days. We did the entire length. The portion from Damascus to Abingdon was delightfully underrated. I enjoyed it as much as the first half, and practically nobody was on the trail. October colors are magnificent. Do pay attention to bike path etiquette if crowded. Many folks will not respond to a bell but only a voice announcement prior to passing.

Beautiful Trail

Came to VA specifically to ride this trail. Although the weather could have been better, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The ride from Whitetop to Damascus was beautiful. I don't think I've ever coasted for 17 miles without having to pedal much. The section from Damascus to Abingdon was very enjoyable too. The farm land was lovely. When going through Alvarado make sure you stop at the Old Alvarado station store. They have the best home made pie and ice cream at very reasonable prices. I highly recommend this trail. It was very crowded on the weekend so I would recommend going mid week if possible.


This trail is absolutely beautiful and full of scenery and lots of stops to rest and to capture the beauty of nature.......we did take our road bikes and would not advise husband blew his tires 3 mountain tires for sure........the trails were in great condition and well maintained.....we will diffinitely do this again.

Very Family Friendly!!!

The trail is great for walking, biking, or horseback riding of all ages. Some areas are softer ground than others, but very easy to navigate. Lots of river and forest views, some farmland... Good for moderate riding/walking from Abingdon,VA .

Extremely Beautiful

Four of us-3 in our sixties and one 71 yr old were taken to Whitetop at the top by the company from whom we rented our bikes. We rode 17 miles to Damascus where the bike company picked us up. very nice ride; absolutly beautiful. That portion was mostly downhill, but fairly gradual since it follows the old rail line. Beautiful bridges. The section we rode was well marked with some occasional places to stop and sit down if you want. I would definitely do this again.

Once a year bikers!

My husband and I are in our fifties and take an RV vacation camping trip once a year or more. We like riding our bikes while on vacation but hardly do it any other time. The Virginia Creeper trail was our destination this year. Weather was calling for 60% thundershowers with a window during mid day. We didn't want to commit to the shuttle and downhill spin, so we started at a parking area just above Damascus. We rode 7 mile up, never getting off our bikes because of burning leg muscles. We stayed in second or third gear most of the time. I rode my daughter's bike from when she was in 7th grade and never thought we were actually going up that steep. When we turned around, we realized how steep it really was. I think I enjoyed the beauty more than most people by taking it a little slower.

I can not wait to go back!!!

My best friend and I took a shuttle to White Top Station and rode down. It was absolutely beautiful with the Laurel blooming & the sun shining thru the trees. I'm planning to go back with my kids and make another great day out of it!

Ride this trail every third Saturday in October since 2011, and every Memorial Day with my church youth group since 2014. Also ride periodically with friends. Would love to see this trail opened into North Carolina at least to Lansing; it would bring in quite a bit of tourist dollars to Ashe County NC.

Great trail, awesome views

My wife and I rode this trail a couple of weeks ago from Abingdon to Whitetop, and back, and loved it. We've ridden many of the trails in Pa., Md, and W.Va. This one is right up there with the best of the others. One small detail that the description doesn't mention is the grade of the trail from Damascus to Whitetop. Over a distance of about 14 miles, there is an uphill climb of about 1600' which works out to a grade ranging from 2% to a maximum of about 5% closer to Whitetop. This is why many people take the shuttle to Whitetop, then ride to Damascus. You're able to coast the majority of the way. We were looking for a little bit more of a challenge than that, so we rode the entire trail both directions. Granted, we felt it in our legs by the time we got to the top, but if you're an experienced cyclist, looking for something a little more than the run-of-the-mill Rail Trail, this one's nothing you shouldn't be able to handle. As for it being a little rough, the eastern end (towards Whitetop), is just a little bit rough, nothing that I would consider terrible. We rode it on cyclocross bikes with 32mm tires, and made out fine. Don't know that I'd recommend doing it on a road bike though. The surface is all packed tight, (no loose gravel that you would sink into). In my opinion, its "roughness" is nothing that will prevent us from going back and riding it again. All in all, we both loved it, the diversity of the scenery is awesome, and if you ride the entire trail, it's a great work-out. Highly recommend it.


Breath taking beauty, this is by far my favorite trail to date. I have traveled from Ohio the last 2 years over memorial day weekend just to ride this gem. my friends that have gone along all want to go back. I think this one is the icing on the cake. I am looking forward to May already From White top down to Damascus is so beautiful but I would recommend a mountain bike or at least a bike with wider tires

Virginia Creeper trail ride

Rode this last week with friends on a Monday so not a whole lot of trail traffic. It was our first time but they had ridden it many times. We stayed at River Trail Cabins right next to the trail in Damascus and rode into town then took a shuttle up to Whitetop. It started out a beautiful day but about 10 miles into our trip it poured and never slowed down so just rode directly back to our cabins! We still had a great time and I would highly recommend it. A very easy ride with a lot of scenery! Looking forward to riding it again.

Nice ride

My wife, father and I rode from White top station to Abington. The first half to Damascus was a little rough. A lot of people coming down the mountain. The second half of the ride was much more pleasant. Not quite a scenic but a lot less people. We had a blast over the whole ride. We are looking forward to doing it again.

The trail of many bridges!

My trip review covers biking from Abington to Whitetop, camping overnight and then returning to Abington. For reference, I’m a 41yr old male riding a full rigid single speed mountain bike (27.5x2.5in tires) pulling a BOB trailer loaded with camping gear. Also biking with me was a 30-something year old female on a hybrid bike (700x38mm tires).

Day 1:
We parked in the parking lot at the Abington trailhead. This is actually the “end” of the trail if you are following the mileage markers and bridge counters. It’s a large gravel lot with plenty of parking that was able to accommodate the busy holiday weekend crowd. I felt comfortable leaving my car in the lot overnight (not the case on some other trails I have been on). Within the first few feet of starting the journey you cross your 1st bridge. At the end of the bridge is a restroom. It was clean and well maintained. The trail is covered with fine gravel and is fast rolling. It’s slightly downhill as it rolls past farmland. You will have to stop and open several farm gates on this section of trail. We passed a few other bikers, a couple joggers and some walkers. We did not see any horses using the trail. You often will find yourself in the direct sunlight due to less tree coverage.

When we reached the trail midpoint (Damascus), we stopped for lunch. It’s easy to find places to eat because they are in close proximity to the trail. This is where we noticed a LARGE influx of trail users. The Application Trail (AT) intersects her and we saw several hiker/backpackers. The trail increases in steepness as you head to Whitetop. The surface is slightly rougher with no gravel in many places. The tree coverage thickens and most of the trail is shaded.

And then it began…
Bikers. They started descending like a locust plague. There were 100’s and 100’s (no joke) of them and they generally came in waves. They were the people who were shuttled to the top and were coasting down the trail. It was very obvious none of them received any type of “trail etiquette” brief by the shuttle companies prior to being cut loose. They were all over the trail and oblivious to their surroundings. More than a handful of times I had to take evasive action to miss a head on collision. There was a couple of people who were riding along and smoking. You want some smoke or ash in your face? No thanks. They would stop in large groups on the trail and block it. Their existence on the trail ruined what was a pleasant bike trip.

Once we reached Whitetop we continued on the road (downhill) for about half a mile to the Creeper Trail Campground. Its location was perfect. However, I was not overall impressed with the facility. The sites were on top of each other. Be prepared for a short but steep climb to the campsites located further away. The bathrooms were clean and the staff polite.

We had blown a tire on the ride to the campground and had no spare. We contacted a local bike shop in Damascus and reserved a spot on their return shuttle the following morning.

Day 2:
Because we rode the shuttle from Whitetop to Damascus, we were able to miss all that fast downhill riding. Err…speedway debacle. The rest of the ride back to Abington went smooth.

I could not give it 5 stars due to the out of control downhill bikers. So -1 for them.

Scenic but wish it was longer!

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.


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

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 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

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 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.

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. 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.


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!!!!

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

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

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

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.


Excellent riding

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

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

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.

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

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.


The Virginia Creeper Trail is open from Whitetop To Abingdon.

Please click on the link below for more details.


Great trail for the whole family

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.


Neat trail but has been damaged by recent weather

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.

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.

Mostly wooded with periodic river views.

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

"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

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

"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

"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

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

"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

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!

"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

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???

"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!"


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

The Best!!!

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.

"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!

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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.


I'll do it again!!

"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!

"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

"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

"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 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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