FAQ: Using the Virginia Creeper Trail during COVID-19
Updated Friday May 15, 2020
The Virginia Creeper Trail is open effective Tuesday, May 12 at 5:00 pm; however, facilities and services along the trail will remain closed. The Center for Disease Control’s guidelines related to social distancing will be required for use of the trail during the COVID-19 pandemic along with other steps aimed at protecting public health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Virginia Creeper Trail open?
Yes. The trail and all access points are open.
In compliance with the CDC’s guidelines, all trail users should maintain physical distancing, including maintaining at least six feet distance between individuals and others who are not in the same party.
We encourage users to wear face coverings. Face coverings may be removed while exercising as long as physical distancing is observed.
No groups of 10 or more should travel or congregate on the trail, at access points or in the parking areas.
What are the hours of the Virginia Creeper Trail?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is open dawn to dusk, all year long. Certain amenities, such as welcome centers, restrooms, and interpretive centers may have seasonal hours.
Who made the decision to reopen the trail?
The decision to reopen the trail was made jointly between the trail owners/managers – the US Forest Service and the towns of Abingdon and Damascus in consultation with the Mount Rogers Health District.
Are bathrooms and all other trail facilities open or closed?
For the protection of trail users and employees with limited personal protection equipment (PPE), all restroom facilities, visitor and welcome centers and picnic shelters are closed.
All visitors should plan to bring their own water and hand sanitizer. Most trash receptacles will not be available so trail users should plan to “pack-in and pack-out”.
Are shuttle services operational?
The situation is fluid, we encourage you to reach out to individual businesses for the most up to date information. Visit https://www.vacreepertrail.org/plan-your-visit/bike-shops-outfitters/ for a list of bike shops and outfitters.
At this time, Virginia remains under a Safer at Home order from the Governor's office.
"Under Phase One, the Commonwealth will move to a Safer at Home strategy, which continues the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people and maintains recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and wearing face coverings. All businesses should make modifications to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitization of high contact surfaces, and provide enhanced workplace safety measures.
See this site for more information: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia/
As a trail user, what are my responsibilities to myself and others?
- If you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days or if you have a fever or other coronavirus symptoms or an underlying health condition, you should NOT be on the trail
- Please follow the current Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines:
- Maintain at least six feet distance between yourself and others who are not in your same party.
- No groups of 10 or more should travel or congregate on the trail, at access points or in the parking areas.
- Please consider other trail users -- especially those behind you -- and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
- We encourage you to wear face coverings. Face coverings may be removed while exercising as long as physical distancing is observed.
While on the trail, what are some important points to remember?
- ALWAYS call out when passing on the left whether biking, running or walking and allow extra time to do so.
- Please allow others to pass through any narrow trail sections FIRST to provide for 6' distancing.
- Avoid touching smooth surfaces such as interpretive signs, kiosks, trashcan handles, and trestle & mile markers.
Will there be trail maintenance and bike patrols?
- Trail maintenance will be limited.
- Bike patrols will return to the trail when it is safe to do so.
Where should I park?
Please park in designated areas only. If the trail head or other access points are busy, please consider returning at another time or finding another location to enter/exit the trail.
Can I bring my dog?
Of course! But they must remain on a 6’ or shorter leash at all times. We require all owners clean up after their dogs.
Is there cell service along the trail?
Cell service is very limited and can be considered “spotty at best”. There is service in Damascus and Abingdon, however there is no service from Whitetop to Damascus (nor will there be bike patrols. In the event of an emergency, you will have to rely on someone in your party or passers-by to summon help.)
Who should I contact with questions about the trail?
Visit https://vacreepertrail.org/ for more information about the trail.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control for additional details on the coronavirus at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htmlReceive email updates about the trail