Virginia Creeper National Recreational Trail

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Jefferson National Forest

Virginia Creeper National Recreational Trail is a 33.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Whitetop, Virginia that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length33.1 miElevation gain1,368 ftRoute typePoint to point
Dogs on leashWheelchair friendlyKid friendlyStroller friendlyBackpackingCampingFishingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsRoad bikingWalkingBike touringBird watchingRunningCaveForestLakePartially pavedRails trailsRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlife
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Getting There

Over 30 miles long and beautiful, this trail weaves through forest, farms, and fields. It is used for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The Virginia Creeper Trail is rich in beauty and regional history. This is an easy adventure that you and your friends will talk about for a long time. From Abingdon, Virginia, it goes down thru the lovely town of Damascus, VA (known as the Heart of the VA Creeper) along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point Whitetop Station near the NC State Line at Whitetop, Virginia. This former rail bed passes through the Mount Rogers National Recreation area and the highland country of southwestern Virginia. Accessibility: It is unclear if there are any designated accessible spaces in the small paved parking lot off of Whitetop Gap Road at the southeast end of the trail. The trail surface is partially paved and partially gravel, and typically at least 4 feet wide. Bridges have edge barriers and railings. The most accessible portion of the trail is the first 5 miles heading westbound. The estimated grade is mostly gentle (5% or less) except for steep to very steep (over 8%) uphill and downhill sections at about 5.4, 7.5, 14.3, and 28.2 miles when going northwest. Trail goers/hikers using wheelchairs/mobility equipment or strollers may need assistance in the steeper sections or to avoid them for safety. All-terrain tires or motorized equipment may be needed for the unpaved sections. There are benches along the route for resting.

Abingdon Trail head - A gravel lot across the street from the trail head in Abingdon is a great place to park while visiting the trail. Abingdon has great access to food, lodging, shopping and Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop. N36 42.555 W81 58.298 Watauga Trestle - To the southwest of Abingdon between Hwy 75 and Hwy 58 on Hwy 677 is the small community of Watauga. There is limited but ample parking for users to park while enjoying the trail, good location for hikers or bikers to access the trail.There are quite a few nice cheap hotels in the area if you wish to make a weekend trip out of it. From here the trail head in Abingdon is an easy ride or for hikers a challenging walk. N36 40.687 W81 56.105 Alvarado - Off the beatin' path from Hwy 58 at Drowning Ford is Alvarado. This is a good spot to access the Holston River Trestle and Dry Branch Trestle. in the other direction Damascus is an easy ride. The depot is gone, but the old general store is still a for goods and refreshments. This area is mostly private property so please ask before leaving your car. N36 39.080 W81 53.218 Straight Branch - About 4 miles outside Damascus on Hwy 58 is Straight Branch. Great parking location for hikers, bikers, fishing or horseback riding. This has restroom, picnic table, bike rack and horse tie-outs. No over night parking. N36 38.647 W81 44.390 Taylors Valley - Nestled in a valley community is a good location for parking. From here the trail runs through the parking area and is a good entry for hikers, bikers, fishing and horseback riding. If you are hungry, stop in the Creeper Trail Cafe' to fill that need. N36 37.519 W81 43.046

I-81 South from Wytheville, take exit 17. Turn right onto Cummings Street, then Right onto Green Spring Road. Trailhead is located near the intersection of Gibson Street.

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Reviews (196)
Photos (216)
Recordings (147)
Completed (526)
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Jacintha Murphy
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Road bikingGreat!MuddyPrivate property

We took a shuttle up and rode the 17 miles downhill to Damascus. We had the trail to ourselves much of the time, and the weather was perfect! Would do it again- it was great even with a toddler!

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Rebecca N
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Mountain bikingGreat!

We biked 17 miles down the mountain. It was pretty and less crowded than in summer months. Pack your lunch and enjoy the ride.

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Parke Deans
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Hiking
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Kevin Johnson
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Bike touring
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Sherri Fesperman
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Hiking

Absolutely Stunning! A MUST DO Trail. The most gorgeous scenery!

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Lou A
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Mountain biking

beautiful day on the creeper! can't wait to get back with the whole family

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Michael Kolb
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Mountain biking
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Crystal Willett
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HikingGreat!

I've biked it before and did a small hike through some of the creeper trail. Here's my video of the beauty this trail holds: https://youtu.be/Pa3s4FpGAF8

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Dong Chen
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Mountain bikingGreat!Rocky

Great trail to go through in a summer weekend. Lots of families brought their kids out for a downhill riding experiences. The riding was fun, but back uphill to the white top station seemed to be an endless struggle to me. Had to get down walking with the bike instead of riding on it. Lots of rocks on the trail and lots of viberations. Several people got a flat tire so it is certainly a good idea to bring a spare and the pump. The trail section to Abingdon is blocked at about 6 miles from Damascus. Somebody put a chain to block the entrance into next section west.

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James Worley
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Hiking
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Andrew Rollwitz
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BackpackingBugsMuddyPrivate propertyRocky

Such a fun ride from Whitetop to Abingdale. Make sure to stop in Damascus and have some wings and beer before continuing on. It definitely makes the leg pain more tolerable haha. For those newer to cycling I would recommend wearing a chamois for the entirety of the trails as well as lubing up your inner thighs and butt with some Body Glide or Chamois Butter...thank me later. The beginning of this trails is almost 18 miles of straight downhill fun into Damascus. There are a ton of places along this part of the trail that you can stop and cool off in the river or stop and eat lunch. It is a beautiful ride that is in the forest for 90% of the time. This means you won't have to put on your sunscreen just yet. Also, make sure that if you are a slower rider you keep to the right hand side of the trail just like a car would. Once you hit Damascus the terrain flattens out and then once past your start the slight uphill all the way to Abingdale. It is a much more manageable uphill to Abingdale than it is to Whitetop. Take your time and make sure you are loaded on water and salt...you don't want any unnecessary muscle cramps along the way. Happy Trails!

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T.J. Boris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Mountain biking

Great trail for all ages. There is a lot of shade and a scenic creeks parallels the trail. White Top to Damascus is mostly downhill, then slowly ascends along the trek to Abingdon.

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Ethan Graham
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Mountain biking

First half is the payoff coming down off White top. Second half is so so but good scenery.

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Carla Miller
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Great day for a ride the rain kept folks from coming out, only saw two other people riding today! Beautiful Cascades along the route, definitely enjoy the first 17 miles the most, more in the woods, also no rain till we started the second 17 miles from Demacus to Abington! Spotted several white tail deer and lots of water fowl!

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John Henderson
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Bike touringRocky
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Cary Merritt
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Road biking

Very scenic maintained trail mostly dirt and cinder. Road the entire trail from North Carolina border to Abingdon. Lots of trees and shaded areas. Quite a few bridges to cross. Well trafficked with runners but a 100 mile race was in progress while I was riding so not sure what it would be like on a normal Friday. Worth the trip. Enjoyed it.

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Crunchin Squirrel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2019
Hiking

Trail is smooth and easy to walk. Very scenic views. Tons of bikers passing you at all times. No campsites in the Damascus to Abbington stretch.

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William Mahoney
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The most important thing you want to know about a rail trail is the surface. The flat western half of this trail is crushed stone/cinders you could ride on a wide road bike tire. The hill/ eastern half is the same cinders but with occasional rocks, so you really need a mountain bike with at least a front shock. We started in the middle at Damascus, road up the hill to White Top, then back down to Damascus and on to the flat run to Abingdon. 52 miles total. not too hard beautiful trail Abington is a great town. Bike shop right next to the trail end in Abingdon was a great shuttle service, nice people. Eat lunch at Wicked Chicken in Damascus. This trail would be huge, if it was closer to more people.

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Michael (Sambo) Bussell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2019
Mountain bikingMuddy

Started just after a rain going up to Whitetops from Damascus trail was in good shape and not many people till I got within 6 miles of the top, the lower half from Damascus to Abingdon had some standing water and mud but should dry up quickly

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Robin Lindsay
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Mountain biking

Fun for the entire family young and old!

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Carla Foster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail! We had a wonderful time. Used Sun Dog Outfitters next to Subway for our bike rental and shuttle and they were awesome! So friendly and helpful. Will definitely ride this again.

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Scott Foster
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Hiking

Beautiful day to be on the trail, had no problems, trail was in really good shape, would recommend taking a bike that has shock absorbers on it. Took us about 2 1/2 hours because we stop and took pictures several times. We started late in the day, only place we found with a 3pm shuttle was by Subway. They were awesome and extremely busy even though they said it was a slow Saturday for them.

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Chad Macbeth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2019
Hiking

Dad and young kids. Walked over bridges 4, 3, and 2. Very well maintained trail. Nice breezes and partly cloudy.

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Isaac Johnson
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Hiking

Really nice hike

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