The Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail is open to hiking, jogging, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The former rail bed passes through the beautiful back country of Southwest Virginia.
Forty seven trestles and bridges provide scenic views of the region's creeks, farmland, and mountain forests. The Virginia Creeper Trail is rich in beauty and regional history. From the trail head right in the historic district of Abingdon, VA, it stretches 34.3 miles through the trail town of Damascus, VA, and up to the North Carolina State Line near Whitetop, VA.
While technically considered a mountain biking trail, the Virginia Creeper is well-maintained and consists mostly of crushed stone, so it can be easily navigated on a hybrid or road bike.
Choose your style of adventure
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a dream come true for anyone who wants to become immersed in the beautiful scenery of the Southwest Virginia and get a firsthand look at its unique history and landscapes. Visitors can make their time on the trail as leisurely or as strenuous as they please, spending anywhere from a few relaxing hours to several exploratory days in the area.
Two of the most popular stretches offer a pleasant, downhill experience.
“Upper Section” – Whitetop to Damascus
One of the most popular ways to experience the trail is to take a shuttle from Damascus or Abingdon to Whitetop Station, the highest point on the Virginia Creeper. From there, visitors can bike 17 miles down to Damascus to be picked up. The downward slope on this section of the well-marked trail makes it a breeze for even the most inexperienced cyclists. Along the way, visitors can stop to enjoy panoramic views of the mountains, cool off in the creek and even break for snacks and restrooms.
This section of the trail can be quite busy during weekends on peak season, so call ahead to make shuttle reservations, and be sure to observe the rules of the trail for a safe, enjoyable experience.
"Lower Section" - Abingdon to Alvarado
IF you're looking for a more peaceful, leisurely ride, with a payoff at the end, you'll enjoy a nine-mile stretch of trail from Abingdon to the tiny community of Alvarado. Rent bikes in Abingdon, and request pickup at Abingdon Vineyards, just a few yards from Alvarado Station. This section features vistas of rolling farmland and forest, and some of the most beautiful of the trail's 47 trestle bridges, including the popular trestle #11 over the South Holston River.
The gentle grade is mostly downhill, ending in Alvarado, and takes about 2-2.5 hours to complete. In Alvarado, visit Abingdon Vineyards, just off the trail, known for its wine tastings, charcuterie platters, and stunning natural setting along the South Holston River.
The Whole Shebang
While most people complete the trail in this relaxed way, those looking for a challenge can opt to climb the 1,600 feet in elevation up to Whitetop Station, either on foot or on two wheels. Many people choose to break up the trail in to a two-day adventure, averaging about 17 miles per day, and spending the evening enjoying the dining and entertainment to be found in Abingdon.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trail has access points in the communities of Abingdon, Alvarado and Damascus (in any of these towns, the trail is signed and easy to locate). There are also access points at Watauga Road, Creek Junction, Green Cove Station and Whitetop Station, each with free public parking. Some also have restrooms, water, and information stands.
While it’s primarily a biking trail, it’s also a popular destination for hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and horseback riding.
Safety and etiquette: The Creeper Trail is a regional treasure shared by many. Visitors and locals alike also share the common goal to enjoy the unique experience the trail offers to its fullest. To that end, several “rules of the road” have been developed, and we ask all users to pay particular attention to these guidelines and help us continue to provide not only a really great experience, but a safe one as well. Visit the Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy website for a full list of regulations and safety tips.
Bike rentals and shuttle arrangements can be made at the the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop. Adventures that will leave long lasting memories for your friends and family await.
|Time to Complete||4 Hours to 1 Day|
|Land Website||Virginia Creeper Trail|
|Fees/Permits||Access to the trail is free, but most people choose to pay for a shuttle service so as to only ride the trail in one direction.|
Stations along the trail
There are plenty of restrooms accessible from the Virginia Creeper Trail. Some are only staffed seasonally, while others are open year-round but not staffed.
Visitor information, restrooms, water and merch are available at the following locations:
Whitetop Station (National Forest) - Open seasonally, April through November; Fridays through Sundays, 9am to 3pm
Green Cove Station (National Forest) - Open seasonally, April through November; daily from 10am to 4pm
Virginia Creeper Trail Welcome Center (Abingdon, VA) - Open seasonally, April through November; Thursdays through Sundays, 11am to 6pm
Additionally, there are vault toilets and water fountains available at these stations, even when others are not staffed:
Abingdon trailhead (just past Trestle 1)
Straight Branch parking lot
Creek Junction parking lot
Downtown Damascus (beside the caboose)
Green Cove Station