Monday, November 7, 2011

The Virginia Creeper Trail

Riding the trails. 

As promised I wanted to share as many of the details as I could with everyone about this great adventure.  I had a little anxiety about this trip because I didn't know if what I was reading and hearing about this place was really what I would find once I got here.  The Virginia Creeper Trail is a mountain trail for use by hikers, bikers and horse back riders.  It is just a smidgen over 34 miles from end to end and there are a number of ways and areas where you can get on/off the trail.

 To start this adventure off first we had to get to Damascus Virginia.  Most everyone knows that Virginia is shaped a little like a boot.  Imagine where the toe part of the boot is....that is where Damascus is located.  And we live more in the central part.  We drove some 5 hours to get to this area.  It is very remote.  But don't be fooled by this.  The area is set up to handle the volume and I thought they did a smooth job getting everyone where they wanted to be.  

Adventure Damascus

There are a couple ways to do this trail from what I've learned.  You can be shuttled to the Abingdon Va end of the trail and work back to Damascus or you can be shuttled to the White Top Station end of the trail and ride back to Damascus.  Since you park at the shop in Damascus and the trail in only a block behind the store you just hop off trail when done and get back to your car.  There are several other bike shops in this area that offer bike rentals, shuttles and all things biking.  But I can only tell you how ours worked.  We used Adventure Damascus as our shuttle.  If you don't have a bike don't can rent one here.

Waiting for the ok to get loaded up

The trailer carrying our bikes

The van we rode in to the top

We chose the option of going to the White Top Station end.  By doing this you are taken to an elevation of close to 3500 feet and you bike down to around 1800-1900 feet.  You are dropped off at mile post 33.  We could have biked to the very end of the trail (mile post 34) but opted to just start towards Damascus.  The easier the better for us!  So we started our journey down the mountain and since almost all of this portion of the trail you are going down all you have to do is petal a small amount and enjoy the views!  This is the part I was worried about.  I had Emma in the bike trailer and was worried it would be very difficult.  But it was really not hard at all. 

The parking lot at the drop off area.  Those are Christmas trees.

About to start the adventure

Emma getting strapped in

Along the trail there are trestles, streams, Christmas tree farms, mountain views, animals.....and even a couple places to get hot cocoa. 


Christmas tree farm

Doesn't this look like a post card?

Green Cove Station

I was also a little worried about the need for bathrooms....but they have that covered too.  Along the trail there are a few bathrooms set up for use.  They really aren't much more than glorified porta potties but hey...they worked for me.

Cross the bridge here to get hot cocoa

Bathroom inside!

Some of the sights

This stream is next to trail for most of the way down
Along the trail are a couple places to grab a bite to eat.  Nothing fancy but a place to stretch your legs, let the kids run around, refuel on corn dogs and talk with the others about what they think of the trail. 

There were also cabins for rent at this spot

Now in the summer I might be tempted to jump in.

Our friends that suggested this adventure

Looking down on the water from a trestle

I wanted to stop so many times and just snap picture after picture so I could take all the sights home with me.  But Emma had other plans.  She was tired of the bike trailer and my butt was getting sore so we continued on until we got to mile post 16.  Making it back to this mile post you are back where you started the just hop off the trail and head a block over to where you parked that morning. 

Emma after the long journey

We started the biking somewhere around 10:50 and we got off the trail around 2:30.  You certainly can do it faster if you don't stop and really petal down the entire way.  And you can also draw it out longer if you like to stop and take more time on the trail.  I did see where the Appalachian trail intersected with this trail a few places.  So stopping for a hike, picnic, fishing wouldn't be out of the question. 

Over all it was a great experience.  Mark and I have said we would like to come back when we can take a few days and really spend a lot more time here.  I would like to do the other end from Abingdon to Damascus and I would like to do some hiking too.  I know there is a state park in the general area so maybe I can combine two of my loves :) 

Before the trail

After the trail!

 After the trail we did manage to squeeze in a few more fun things.  I will be posting that tomorrow!

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