The Virginia Creeper Trail
With picturesque scenery always at hand, the Virginia Creeper Trail takes you through some of the most rugged country and across some of the most beautiful mountain streams in the Eastern United States. It is widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful trails on the continent. We truly hope and believe that you will enjoy your visit.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34-mile multi-recreational rails-to-trail that is open to mountain biking hiking, jogging, and horseback riding. The former rail bed is located in beautiful Southwest Virginia and starts in Abingdon, Virginia near our shop. There are forty seven trestles and bridges that provide scenic views of the region's creeks, farmland, and mountain forests. The Virginia Creeper Trail is rich in beauty and regional history. The trails stretches to Alvarado and through Damascus and up to Whitetop Station, which is the highest elevation of the trail. A rare steam locomotive sits at the Abingdon Trailhead and several restored Train Stations sit along the trail itself. There are two railroad cabooses located along the trail, one at the halfway point in Damascus and other in Taylor's Valley.
Whitetop to Abingdon Excursion
The most popular way to experience the trail is to ride the entire 34 miles of the trail from Whitetop Station (highest elevation) back to Abingdon. You'll come to our shop in Abingdon and take the shuttle to Whitetop Station. You'll be able to take your time on this excursion and make it as relaxing or challenging as you want to. You'll experience all of the wonderful things that the Virginia Creeper Trail has to offer. This section features lush mountain forests, vistas of rolling farmland, mountain streams and some of the most beautiful of the trail's 47 trestle bridges, including the popular trestle #11 over the South Holston River. This excursion normally takes 5-6 hours to complete but could take more if you stop alot to enjoy the scenery and take time for lunch and snacks. After your ride, you'll end up within walking distance near our shop. Many people enjoy staying in the Abingdon area so you can enjoy evening dining at one of the many restaurants Abingdon has to offer.
Whitetop to Damascus Excursion
Another popular way to experience the trail is to take a shuttle from our shop in Abingdon to Whitetop Station, the highest point on the Virginia Creeper. From there, you can bike 17 miles, mostly downhill, to Damascus to be picked up there in the Town Park. The downward slope on this section of the trail makes it a breeze for even the most inexperienced cyclists...which makes it a perfect excursion with families with small children. Along the way, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the mountains, cool off in the creek and even break for snacks, lunch and restrooms.
History of the Virginia Creeper Trail
The trail runs on a rail right-of-way dating to the 1880's first belonging to the Abingdon Coal and Iron Railroad. After investing sizable capital without actually opening, that company went out of business. In the early 1890s the company's assets were purchased by the Virginia-Carolina and Southern Railway. It too had financial trouble and its assets were purchased by the Virginia-Carolina Railway. In February 1900, the Virginia-Carolina Railway began operating in Damascus, Virginia. By 1912, the railroad extended to Whitetop and by the end of the decade to Elkland, North Carolina (now Todd). The train ran to Todd until 1933, when the terminus moved to West Jefferson. In 1957 the last steam engine retired, replaced by diesel powered engines. By 1974, the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line. In 1977 hard rains flooded and damaged most of the line, which was left un-repaired. In 1977 removal of the track began and the land in Virginia was secured by the US Forest Service for a recreation trail. The land in North Carolina was returned to the land owners. In Virginia, the right-of-way is owned by the Towns of Abingdon and Damascus, and by the National Park Service and the National Forest Service.
Virginia Creeper Trail Facts
Length: 34 Miles
Surface: Dirt, tiny gravel, crushed cinder
Region: Southwest Virginia
Start/End Points: Abingdon Trailhead To Whitetop Station
Do you have some great photos of your Virginia Creeper Trail journey? Send them to email@example.com. We'll include them on this site and all of our Social Media accounts.