Virginia Creeper Trail In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Virginia Creeper Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 33.4 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
  • Permit Required?: No.
  • Website:

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a renowned recreational trail located in southwestern Virginia, United States. The trail follows the path of an old railroad line that was originally constructed in the late 19th century. The railroad, known as the Abingdon Branch of the Norfolk and Western Railway, was primarily used for transporting timber and other natural resources from the region.

The construction of the railroad began in 1887 and was completed in 1912. It played a crucial role in the economic development of the area, facilitating the transportation of goods and providing a means of travel for the local population. The name “Virginia Creeper” refers to the steam locomotives that were used on the line, which were known for their slow and steady pace, resembling the creeping vine of the same name.

However, with the decline of the timber industry and the rise of more efficient transportation methods, the railroad gradually fell into disuse. In 1977, the last train made its journey along the Abingdon Branch, marking the end of an era. Recognizing the potential of the abandoned rail line as a recreational asset, the local community and government officials collaborated to transform it into a multi-use trail.

The Virginia Creeper Trail officially opened in 1984, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the scenic beauty of the region while immersing themselves in its rich history. Today, the trail spans approximately 34 miles, stretching from Abingdon to Whitetop Station near the North Carolina border. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, who come to enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding, all while appreciating the historical significance of this former railway.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Abingdon Trailhead: Located in Abingdon, Virginia, this is the starting point of the Virginia Creeper Trail. It offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Alvarado Station: Situated approximately 5 miles from Abingdon, this access point provides parking and restroom facilities.

3. Damascus Trailhead: Located in Damascus, Virginia, this is a popular access point for the Virginia Creeper Trail. It offers parking, restrooms, and bike rentals.

4. Green Cove Station: Situated around 10 miles from Damascus, this access point provides parking and restroom facilities.

5. Creek Junction: Located approximately 15 miles from Damascus, this access point offers parking and restroom facilities.

6. Whitetop Station: Situated around 17 miles from Damascus, this is the highest point on the Virginia Creeper Trail. It provides parking, restrooms, and a picnic area.

7. Taylor Valley Station: Located approximately 20 miles from Damascus, this access point offers parking and restroom facilities.

8. Damascus Junction: Situated around 25 miles from Damascus, this access point provides parking and restroom facilities.

9. Watauga Trestle: Located approximately 30 miles from Damascus, this access point offers parking and restroom facilities.

10. Abingdon Junction: Situated around 34 miles from Damascus, this access point provides parking and restroom facilities.

Please note that these access points are approximate distances from Damascus, and the actual distances may vary.

Transportation Available

1. Creeper Trail Bike Rental – Offers bike rentals for exploring the Virginia Creeper Trail.
2. Adventure Damascus – Provides shuttle services for hikers and bikers along the Virginia Creeper Trail.
3. Shuttle Shack – Offers shuttle services for hikers and bikers along the Virginia Creeper Trail.
4. Sundog Outfitter – Provides shuttle services for outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Virginia Creeper Trail.
5. Blue Blaze Bike & Shuttle – Offers bike rentals and shuttle services for exploring the Virginia Creeper Trail.
6. Damascus Transportation – Provides shuttle services for hikers and bikers along the Virginia Creeper Trail.
7. Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop – Offers bike rentals and shuttle services for exploring the Virginia Creeper Trail.
8. Appalachian Trail Rides – Provides horseback riding and shuttle services near the Virginia Creeper Trail.
9. Creeper Trail Cottages – Offers shuttle services for guests staying at their cottages near the Virginia Creeper Trail.
10. Creeper Trail Campground – Provides shuttle services for campers visiting the Virginia Creeper Trail.


The Virginia Creeper Trail offers several amenities for visitors. Here is a list of amenities available:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities located at various points along the trail, including at the trailheads and some designated rest areas.

2. Parking: There are parking lots available at the trailheads, including in Abingdon, Alvarado, Damascus, and Whitetop Station. Some parking areas may have limited capacity, so it’s advisable to arrive early, especially during peak seasons.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not allowed directly on the trail, there are several campgrounds nearby where visitors can stay. Some popular camping options include Beartree Campground, Creeper Trail Campground, and Grindstone Campground.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables and benches for convenience.

5. Bike Rentals: If you don’t have your own bike, there are several bike rental shops available in towns like Abingdon and Damascus. These shops offer a variety of bike types, including mountain bikes and hybrid bikes, as well as accessories like helmets and bike trailers.

6. Shuttle Services: Shuttle services are available for those who prefer a one-way trip on the trail. These shuttles can transport visitors and their bikes to different points along the trail, allowing them to ride back to their starting point.

7. Bike Repair: In case of any bike issues, there are bike repair shops located in towns along the trail. These shops can assist with bike repairs, maintenance, and equipment needs.

8. Food and Beverages: There are various restaurants, cafes, and snack shops located in towns along the trail, such as Abingdon and Damascus. These establishments offer a range of food and beverage options to refuel during or after your ride.

It’s always a good idea to check with local visitor centers or the official Virginia Creeper Trail website for the most up-to-date information on amenities and services available.

Nearby Services

1. Damascus Old Mill Inn – Historic inn offering comfortable lodging in the heart of Damascus.
2. The Bike Station – Bike shop and rental service conveniently located near the trailhead.
3. Creeper Trail Cafe – Casual eatery serving American fare and homemade desserts.
4. The Damascus Diner – Cozy diner offering classic comfort food and breakfast all day.
5. Sundog Outfitter – Outdoor gear store providing equipment and supplies for trail enthusiasts.
6. The Damascus Brewery – Local craft brewery offering a variety of beers and a welcoming atmosphere.
7. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area – Nearby national forest with camping and hiking opportunities.
8. Damascus Volunteer Fire Department – Emergency services available for any unforeseen incidents.

Virginia Creeper Trail Difficulty Notes

The Virginia Creeper Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans 34 miles and features a gentle incline, making it accessible for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders of varying skill levels. While the trail does have some challenging sections, such as steep descents and rocky terrain, these obstacles can be easily navigated with caution and proper equipment. Overall, the Virginia Creeper Trail provides a rewarding and enjoyable experience for adventurers seeking a moderate level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

1. Whitetop Station: Located at the highest point of the trail, Whitetop Station offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

2. Green Cove Station: This historic train station is a popular stop along the trail. It features a museum that showcases the history of the Virginia Creeper Railroad.

3. Damascus: A charming town located along the trail, Damascus is known as the “Friendliest Town on the Trail.” It offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and accommodations for visitors.

4. Backbone Rock: This natural landmark is a massive rock formation that creates a tunnel-like passage for the trail. It is a popular spot for hikers and photographers.

5. Abingdon: The trail ends in Abingdon, a historic town with a rich heritage. Visitors can explore the Barter Theatre, the Martha Washington Inn, and the Abingdon Historic District.

6. Laurel Creek Falls: Located near Damascus, this picturesque waterfall is a hidden gem along the trail. It offers a peaceful and scenic spot for picnicking and relaxation.

7. Alvarado Station: This former train station is now a rest area along the trail. It provides a great opportunity to take a break and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

8. Taylor’s Valley: This scenic valley offers breathtaking views of rolling hills, farmland, and forests. It is a peaceful and serene section of the trail.

9. Watauga Trestle: This historic trestle bridge is one of the highlights of the Virginia Creeper Trail. It spans the Watauga River and offers stunning views of the water below.

10. Creek Junction: This area is known for its beautiful creeks and streams that flow alongside the trail. It is a great spot for fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Virginia Creeper Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians share the trail, so be courteous and yield to pedestrians when cycling.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail, except for authorized maintenance vehicles.
5. Camping is not permitted along the trail, except at designated campgrounds.
6. Open fires are prohibited along the trail, except in designated fire pits or grills at campgrounds.
7. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it in designated bins.
8. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
9. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons or inclement weather.
10. Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property adjacent to the trail.
11. Do not disturb or harm wildlife or vegetation along the trail.
12. Bicyclists should wear helmets and follow all traffic laws.
13. Alcohol consumption is not allowed on the trail, except in designated areas.
14. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially at road crossings.
15. Report any trail maintenance issues or safety concerns to the appropriate authorities.

Seasonal Information

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a scenic and adventurous experience in the heart of Virginia. The best times of the year to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Spring and fall are generally considered the prime seasons to explore the trail, as the weather is mild and the surrounding landscapes are adorned with vibrant colors.

In spring, the trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are pleasant, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-25 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trail is less crowded during this time, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the Virginia Creeper Trail. The foliage transforms into a breathtaking display of reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventures. The temperatures are cooler, ranging from the 40s to 60s Fahrenheit (5-20 degrees Celsius), making it perfect for hiking and biking. Fall also brings the added bonus of fewer insects and mosquitoes, enhancing your overall experience on the trail.

It’s important to note that the Virginia Creeper Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. From December 1st to March 31st, the trail is closed to all users due to potential hazardous conditions caused by snow, ice, and fallen trees. It’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly and check for any updates or closures before making your trip. However, during this time, the trail transforms into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the surrounding areas.

Overall, the Virginia Creeper Trail offers a unique experience throughout the year, each season showcasing its own beauty and charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring, the cool temperatures of fall, or the snowy landscapes of winter, there is a perfect time for everyone to explore this scenic trail.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trailhead for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are provided at various locations along the trail.
3. Trail Surface: The trail is mostly compacted gravel, which may be challenging for some wheelchair users, but generally accessible with assistance.
4. Trail Width: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
5. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to be accessible, with ramps and smooth surfaces for easy entry.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are equipped with accessible tables and seating.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available at certain points along the trail.
8. Accessible Lodging: Some nearby lodging options offer accessible rooms and facilities for individuals with disabilities.
9. Accessible Transportation: Local transportation services may offer accessible vehicles for individuals with mobility challenges.
10. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
11. Accessible Information: Trail maps and information are available in accessible formats, such as large print or braille, upon request.
12. Accessible Signage: Trail signage includes accessible features, such as raised lettering and contrasting colors for better visibility.
13. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the trail are designed to be accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
14. Accessible Fishing: Some areas along the trail provide accessible fishing platforms or piers for individuals with disabilities.
15. Accessible Shuttle Service: Shuttle services may offer accessible vehicles to transport individuals with mobility challenges to different sections of the trail.
16. Accessible Trail Experiences: Guided tours or programs may be available for individuals with disabilities, providing a more inclusive trail experience.
17. Accessible Emergency Assistance: Emergency call boxes or accessible communication devices may be installed along the trail for individuals who require assistance.
18. Accessible Trail Maintenance: The trail is regularly maintained to ensure accessibility, with attention to removing obstacles and repairing any accessibility features.

Safety Information

1. Wear a helmet: Protect your head from potential injuries while biking on the trail.
2. Use appropriate safety gear: Wear knee and elbow pads to minimize the risk of injuries during falls.
3. Stay hydrated: Bring enough water to prevent dehydration during your ride.
4. Follow trail rules: Observe posted signs and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all trail users.
5. Be aware of wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding or approaching them.
6. Use caution at road crossings: Slow down, look both ways, and yield to traffic when crossing roads along the trail.
7. Stay on designated paths: Avoid venturing off the trail to prevent accidents or damage to the environment.
8. Be mindful of other users: Yield to pedestrians and slower-moving cyclists, and pass with caution.
9. Maintain a safe speed: Ride at a speed that allows you to maintain control and react to obstacles or other trail users.
10. Carry a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries by having basic medical supplies on hand.
11. Check weather conditions: Be aware of potential storms or extreme weather and plan accordingly.
12. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know your itinerary and expected return time.
13. Stay visible: Wear bright or reflective clothing to enhance your visibility to other trail users and motorists.
14. Carry a cell phone: Have a means of communication in case of emergencies or if you need assistance.
15. Be cautious on bridges and trestles: Slow down and exercise caution when crossing these structures.
16. Avoid riding alone at night: For safety reasons, it is recommended to ride during daylight hours or with a group.
17. Stay on the right side of the trail: Keep to the right to allow faster cyclists to pass on the left.
18. Be prepared for flat tires: Carry a spare tube, tire levers, and a pump or CO2 inflator to handle punctures.
19. Use hand signals: Indicate your intentions to other trail users by using proper hand signals for turning or stopping.
20. Respect private property: Stay on the trail and avoid trespassing on adjacent private lands.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Virginia Creeper Trail is considered to be well-maintained and protected. The trail is managed by the United States Forest Service and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, ensuring its preservation and sustainability. Efforts have been made to conserve the natural environment and protect the trail’s unique features.

The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and open meadows, which are carefully managed to maintain their ecological integrity. Conservation measures are in place to prevent erosion and protect water quality along the trail. This includes the use of erosion control techniques, such as the installation of retaining walls and drainage systems, to minimize the impact of heavy foot traffic.

In addition to environmental conservation, the Virginia Creeper Trail also focuses on preserving historical and cultural resources. The trail follows the route of an old railroad, and remnants of the railway infrastructure can still be seen along the way. Efforts are made to protect and interpret these historical features, providing visitors with a glimpse into the region’s past.

Overall, the conservation status of the Virginia Creeper Trail is commendable, with ongoing efforts to ensure the preservation of its natural and cultural resources. The trail’s management agencies work diligently to maintain its ecological integrity, making it a sustainable and enjoyable outdoor recreational resource for both locals and visitors alike.

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