Rails To Trails: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia
by Barbara A. Noe (The Globe Pequot Press)
© 2000 Barbara A. Noe/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.
Great family ride! Took a shuttle from Damascus up to White Top. Rode down and had lunch at Damascus and then rode on to Abingdon.
My family and I went to the Damascus / Abingdon VA area over Easter Break for our vacation. Damascus is a Trail Town with the AT running right through town. Very cool. You can hike Southward on the Appalachian Trail out of Damascus 3.8 miles and hit the VA / TN line. As for the VA Creeper Trail.....Absolutely incredible. We enjoyed it so much, we did it twice. We started at Whitetop Station and ended up in Damascus. The scenery is gorgeous and you ride over several bridges/tressels. This is a must see and was truly worth the trip from Michigan. The ride up from Damascus to Whitetop Station is a fun and educational trip do to the drivers personalities. Also the AT shares the VA ceeper trail at many points, so you see the through and section hikers. The trail is all down hill to Damascas and has a restaurant 2/3 the way down for sandwiches in a little town. I rate it a 10 out of 10!!
Have done the trail's entire 34 miles many times. The shuttle services up to Whitetop Mt. are great, esp. Adventure Damascus. The ride down is fast and fun and very scenic. Wear a helmet and watch out for less experienced riders at breakneck speeds. Seasonal views change as tree leaves bloom out, or are changing colors, or have dropped all leaves. A trail for all seasons. Go following spring rains and see kayaks negotiating the turns near/under the trestles. A ride up the mountain is not bad, but not for a beginner. Allow about 3 hours. The trail headed west from Damascus is not so spectacular for the first 6 miles or so. Tends to be rough (small rocks and tree roots) near the river. After that it smooths out. The many trestles and flat lands to Abingdon are very nice. Suggest parking in Abingdon and ride 10-12 miles east toward Damascus and return for a relaxing 20-24 miles. The Creeper drains well, so the day or even hours after a hard rain won't be puddled. Many cell phone services are non-existent, especially on the Whitetop Mt. section.
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