One of the things I enjoy most about many of the trails I hike is their seclusion from the congestion of traffic, or the city. However, I also love when I find a trail that offers challenging distances, opportunities for interaction, and leisurely passes through towns. Today’s Trailhead focuses on such a trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail, which offers all these features and more. Keep reading to learn more about the trail.
The VA Creeper starts in Abingdon, VA and stretches 34 miles through some of Virginia’s most beautiful regions, including small towns, mountains and along the Whitetop Laurel River. Open to bikers, hikers, horseback riding, and runners, the trail is also open year-round to all of the above.
Traveling along the trail is pretty straightforward. It winds through several small towns where you can stop to use the restroom or purchase refreshments. There are eight locations along the trail where you can park and find access to the trail if you don’t want to do the entire length. Along the way, you’ll find three visitor centers (the Damascus Caboose, the Green Cove Station, and the Whitetop Station) where you’ll have access to trail information and history.
From the Abingdon trailhead, you’ll make your way along the trail about four miles until you reach the middle fork of the Holston River. A mile and a half from there, you’ll arrive at the curved trestle, which is one of nearly four dozen trestles on the trail. Nine miles in from Abingdon, you’ll reach Alvarado, which is a small town that offers food and a chance to rest a bit before continuing. At the sixteen-mile mark, you’ll reach the Damascus Caboose and another parking lot, as well as the first of many trestles that will cross over the Mountain Laurel Creek. One really cool point is around the 22-mile mark, where you’ll find access to the Appalachian Trail, should your ambition take hold. Mile 30 brings you to the Green Cove station, and then fourteen miles later, you’ll reach the trail’s end at the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
One cool thing about the VA Creeper is that, along the way, there are outfitters that offer bike rentals and shuttles to the various parking lots along the trail. The prices vary depending on which outfitter you choose and how much equipment you need, but you won’t need to spend an arm and a leg.
While there’s a motto that states, “Virginia is for lovers,” I believe we can add that Virginia is for lovers of the outdoors, and the Virginia Creeper trail is a great testament to that. This long, scenic trail is rich with beauty, community, and opportunities to experience some of the area’s small town charm. It makes for a great day trip for the family, a date, or just some exercise for yourself and shouldn’t be looked over if you find yourself in Virginia anytime soon.