a churning stream sits beneath a rocky cliff face with trees above
Beautiful views abound along the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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Calling all adventure seekers and nature lovers! If you’re looking for an unforgettable biking experience surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and thrilling activities, hold onto your handlebars because the Virginia Creeper Trail is about to blow your mind! This is one of the premier rails to trails in the United States, and it’s in our own backyard. 

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Virginia Creeper Trail, where we’re revved up and ready to spill all the juicy deets about this two-wheeled wonderland. Located in the heart of Southwest Virginia, this 34-mile-long trail is a paradise for bikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The history of the Virginia Creeper begins with the establishment of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad in the late 19th century. The train’s first operation was in 1900, connecting Abingdon, Virginia, to Elkland, North Carolina, for timber and iron ore transportation. Over time, the train expanded its passenger and freight services, becoming a lifeline for the communities it served.

Unfortunately, with the advent of modern transportation and a decline in demand, the train’s services gradually diminished, leading to its final run in 1977. However, the closure paved the way for a transformation that would capture the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts.

In the mid-1980s, the former rail corridor was converted into a multi-use trail, and in 1987, the Virginia Creeper Trail was officially opened to the public. This conversion not only preserved the rich historical significance of the railroad but also created a recreational gem for bikers, hikers, and equestrians alike.

Today, the Virginia Creeper Trail attracts thousands of visitors annually, making it one of the most popular rail-trails in the United States. Its captivating scenery, diverse wildlife, and gentle grade draw approximately 150,000 people annually.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Besides biking, the Virginia Creeper Trail also hosts many other activities. You can explore quaint little towns along the route, indulge in fishing or picnicking, and even go camping if you’re feeling adventurous.

Are you ready to pedal through a landscape straight out of a postcard? Then grab your helmet and join us on this thrilling escapade as we unveil the secrets of the Virginia Creeper Trail. 

Virginia Creeper Trail Map with other towns and state parks highlighted
Virginia Creeper Trail Map

 

How Long Does it Take to Do the Virginia Creeper Trail?

That depends. 

Most people start at Whitetop and ride the primarily downhill or flat trail to Damascus. This part of the trail is 17 miles, and with stops, it took me 3 hours to do (and I was hauling my dog in a trailer). I stopped plenty of times to take pictures and have a snack.  

The other half of the trail from Damascus to Abingdon is also 17 miles long and takes a bit longer as you don’t have any downhill action to help, though there isn’t much uphill either. So you could do the entire trail, including stopping for lunch in 8 hours or so. 

However, it’s best to divide that into two days for most people. I was pretty saddle-sore after just the first leg, and I’m relatively fit. 

a beaten trail winds through the tall trees
The Virginia Creeper Trail isn’t hard.

How Hard is The Virginia Creeper Trail?

The Virginia Creeper Trail is as strenuous or easy as you make it. If you start in Whitetop and ride to Damascus, it’s downhill or flat the entire way. The trail is wide, well-maintained, and crosses over many study bridges. Nearly anyone can do this section of the trail. 

I saw entire families, from grandparents to children five and over, easily riding this section. A parent could put a small child in a trailer, and it still wouldn’t be hard. You will be descending about 1600’ in elevation. 

The section of the trail going from Damascus to Abingdon is relatively flat but is slightly more challenging, with some minor uphill parts.  But this section is also well-maintained and isn’t hard if you have at least an average fitness level.

If you want a challenge–and I saw several doing it–ride the trail in the opposite direction, from Abingdon to Whitetop. However, you’ll need to be in great shape or have a peddle assist bike (though technically illegal, I saw many with electric bikes along the route).

This isn’t a trail for daredevils, but you can make it challenging. 

NOTE: There are plenty of restrooms along the way, so don’t be afraid to stay hydrated. 

How Much Does it Cost to Do the Virginia Creeper Trail?

There is no fee to bike, hike or horseback ride the Virginia Creeper Trail. However, you must rent one if you don’t have your own bike. Luckily, bike rental places are available in Abingdon, Damascus, and Whitetop. 

Bike Rental Rates: 

  • Mountain Bike and Shuttle: $34 +tax
  • Comfort Bike and Shuttle: $43 +tax
  • Shuttle Alone (if you have your own bike): $25 +tax

Renting Bikes in Abingdon VA 

  • Wicked Chicken Winghouse & Tavern–If you’re looking for live music, plentiful outdoor seating, and amazing wings, look no further. Don’t forget the cold beer after your ride!
  • Damascus Diner–Breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Yep! Old-fashioned diner with smooth coffee and delicious food. A few tables outdoors, but primarily an indoor experience. 
  • Main Street Coffee and Cream–Looking for some sweet treats? This is it! Grab some java and one of their out-of-this-world pastries for the ride. 
  • Mojo’s Trailside Cafe and Coffee– If you’re craving good old-fashioned BBQ, stop by Mojo’s. 
  • Damascus Old Mill Inn–Casual dining on the river with three outside decks. Grab a cocktail or beer and unwind!
  • Cowboys General Store- You can grab snacks, drinks, or breakfast items at this convenience store and gas station. All your vices are here, too: tobacco, beer, and lottery tickets.

Damascus to Abingdon

Welcome sign to Damascus
Credit: Waldo Jaquith

In Damascus, the Damascus Caboose in the town park serves as a visitor center. Bathrooms, drinks, and information are available. 

Once you leave Damascus, heading to Abingdon, you’ll travel through open farmland and rolling hills for about 8 miles until you reach the Alvarado Station. This is an excellent place to stop for a rest, use the restroom, have a snack, or take a swim.   

a golden meadow of bushes and wildflowers in the foreground gives way to wooded rolling hills with a barn and mountains in the distance
When hiking or biking Creeper Trail, you will get amazing views of the mountains.

If you’d like a longer stop, Abingdon Vineyards is a short ½ mile ride off the trail near the Alvarado Station. Kid and dog friendly, there is plenty of shaded outdoor seating. Enjoy a wine tasting, and snacks are available. Food trucks and live music are sometimes on site (check their website for more details). This was our favorite stop!

A favorite photo op is a bridge crossing the Holston River after you leave the winery. Don’t miss it!

When you reach Abingdon, your choices for food and drink are many. Near the trail, you’ll find the following eateries:

  • 128 Pecan–This cute little restaurant is near the trail terminus. Enjoy a cold drink and hearty fare on the patio or indoors. 
  • Foresta- Opens at 5 pm for dinner. Upscale Asian fusion restaurant with beautiful decor. 
  • White Birch Food + Juice–How can you go wrong with an establishment that supports local farmers, serves fantastic smoothies, and has cocktails? You can’t. So stop by!
  • The Tavern–Founded in 1779, history meets delicious food and atmosphere. Open for dinner at 5 pm; reservations are suggested. 
  • Sister’s American Grill–Located in the Martha Washington Inn, this establishment serves fine dining and casual fare. They also have take-out dining–just call ahead and pick up at the entrance. 
  • The Girl and the Raven–This is where you’ll want to head for coffee and baked goods or a bite to eat. Reasonable prices, outdoor seating, and tasty offerings make this a favorite. 

Many other eating options are within easy driving distance, including fast food, sports bars, and ethnic food.  

What Other Activities Are There on the Trail?

a small waterfall cascades into a turbulent pool among rocks and under trees
There are plenty of swimming holes on the trail

You can do the trail two ways. The first is to get on your bike and zip down. That’s pretty much what we did. Or you can make it a full-day experience because biking is far from the only thing to do on the trail. 

I wish I had worn my swimsuit because there are several places to stop and dip in the gorgeous river you follow most of the way. And if you’re worried about riding in a wet swimsuit, no problem. There are several bathrooms to change in along the trail. 

If you like to fish, pack a pole. There are areas just for you. We heard that the fishing is pretty good too. Rent or bring a little bike trailer for your gear. 

If photography is your thing, boy, are you in luck! From dozens of bridges, waterfalls, flowers, and buildings to wildlife, the world is your oyster. There are literally hundreds of photo opportunities between Whitetop and Abingdon. 

If you want to tent camp, there are spaces along the trail to do just that. Check with the Forest Service for more information. 

Where to Stay on the Virginia Creeper Trail

Whitetop, Damascus, and Abingdon all have multiple places to stay near the trail. Where you stay will depend on the kind of getaway you want. 

 

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Abingdon

Beach on a lake at Hungry Mother State Park
Hungry Mother State Park is a short drive from Abingdon

Abingdon is the largest town near the trail. It has big box stores like Walmart and Lowes and every kind of restaurant, from fast food to fine dining. Gas stations, convenience stores, and medical facilities are in town. 

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See a play at the Barter Theatre or visit the William King Museum for some big city culture in the Blue Ridge. For nature lovers, Hungry Mother State Park is about 30 minutes up I-81. This is a beautiful park with a stunning lake and a lovely beach. 

 

Abingdon is also conveniently located right off Interstate 81. Accommodations range from chain motels/hotels to boutique inns. 

a collage of sites in Abingdon, VA including the welcome sign, Creeper Trailhead and downtown
Abingdon, Virginia, is a charming town with many attractions.

Great places to stay include:

Black’s Fort Inn Bed & Breakfast

You can attest to its captivating beauty if you’ve been fortunate enough to see the Black’s Fort Inn Bed & Breakfast. The fusion of French Country and Victorian styles, adorned with beautiful antiques, transports you to a bygone era. 

The warm hospitality welcomes you with delightful goodies and made-from-scratch breakfasts. But the true highlight? Private porches offer a serene haven for relaxation.

A Tailor’s Lodging

A Tailor’s Lodging is a charming 1840’s home in Abingdon’s Historic District. The three cozy bedrooms, each equipped with a fireplace, private bath, flat-screen TV, and complimentary WiFi, will make you feel at home. 

Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards

I can confidently call Nicewonder Farm and Vineyards in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains a hidden gem worth discovering. The serene location amidst over 450 acres of rolling farmland creates a breathtaking backdrop. Stay in the main building or a comfortable yurt. 

Savoring award-winning wines and indulging in curated culinary experiences is a journey for the senses. The beauty of this place will urge even the most hurried traveler to slow down and savor every moment.

The Martha Washington Inn & Spa

The Martha Washington Inn & Spa boasts a rich history and timeless charm. 

Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, as much of the original architectural beauty has been meticulously preserved for over a century.

 

Damascus 

pretty downtown with old buildings
Damascus has no chain restaurants or motels, making it a peaceful and authentic getaway. Credit: Metayal

Damascus is a small town of 700 people about 10 miles southeast of Abingdon. There is one grocery store, a Family Dollar store, a gas station, restaurants, and bike rental places.

The nightlife is limited, but some restaurants have live music, and The Damascus Brewery is a favorite, with live music on the weekends and great cold brews. If Karaoke is your thing, they have that too!

The Appalachian Trail runs through town, so hiking and biking are popular activities. Two small RV parks are along the creek, and a tent city is south of town for those who want to camp. 

No chain motels, hotels, big box stores, or fast food restaurants make this a charming place to stay. Some highly rated places to visit include the following. There is a hostel in Damascus, VA called The Broken Fiddle. You can search for other hostels on the Virginia Creeper trail on the Hostelworld website, which lets you search globally for hostels and budget motels. 

Damascus Old Mill Inn

If you’ve experienced the Damascus Old Mill Inn firsthand, you know how awesome it is.

The property’s highlight is the charming 12-room inn on the river. The full-service restaurant, with its three outdoor decks overlooking the mill waterfall, offers a dining experience unmatched in Damascus. And for a more laid-back atmosphere, the pub is perfect. 

The Millsap-Baker Estate

The Millsap-Baker Estate is a true beauty with 140 years of captivating history. The classic Victorian style and modern comforts in the serene suites cater to every guest’s desires. The vast estate boasts acres of peaceful outdoor wilderness, while the rustic accouterments throughout create a charming, nostalgic ambiance that wraps around the entire property. 

Mount Laurel Inn

The Mountain Laurel Inn is a cozy Victorian bed & breakfast. The inn’s ambiance and historical touches make it a truly memorable retreat.

The Dancing Bear Inn

The Dancing Bear Inn has cabins and an inn right in town. Cabins have kitchenettes with microwaves and fridges. Pets are welcome upon approval. The owners’ enthusiasm shines through as they share this enchanting spot with guests and their families.

Barrett House Riverside

The Barret House is beautifully situated on the river in Damascus. This lovely property has an expansive porch and comfortable beds and is within walking distance of the main street. 

Whitetop

long grass meadow gives way to some fir tress and then mountains in the distance
Nearby Whitetop Mountain provides spectacular views.

Whitetop is 19 miles east of Damascus and is the most remote place to stay on the trail. This is where I stayed. I rented an Airbnb across the street from the Whitetop Station. It was a lot of fun watching bikers coming and going. And that was about all there was to do!

No hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, or medical facilities exist. 

To be fair, there are a couple of gas stations (one has a small cafe), a post office, a bike rental place, and many Christmas tree farms. But the most excellent thing is at 3500’, the air temperature in the summer is 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding area. It never got above 76 the entire time we were there. 

This town of 389 people is peaceful, and it’s a perfect place for those who love nature. The two highest peaks in Virginia are nearby; Whitetop Mountain and Mount Rogers. 

Whitetop Mountain is easily accessible by car (but I suggest a vehicle with a high clearance and all-wheel drive). The hiking trails at the top have breathtaking views. I highly recommend going. Take water, snacks, and bear spray.  

The 5729’ Mount Rogers is the highest peak in the state, but it must be hiked to reach the summit. This is a strenuous hike and needs some planning, but it is doable for those in good shape. You can bike, hike, horseback ride, or fish in the area. This area is extremely remote, so plan well. 

crushed stone trail with a rustic wooden fence with high grass, trees, and mountains in the distance
Gorgeous views all the way around when hiking Grayson Highlands State Park.

Grayson Highlands State Park is only a few miles east of Whitetop off Highway 58. This is one of–if not the most–stunning state parks in Virginia. The wild ponies are as big of a draw as the 4500 acres of gorgeous alpine landscape. 

Conclusion

wooden bridge in the foreground lead to a darkened path beneath the foliage
The Creeper Trail takes you across numerous bridges and under the lush canopy of trees.

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a superb activity for everyone in your family, from grandparents to young children–even Fido! And after completing the trail, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy and entertained. 

So pull on your padded shorts and get going! 

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my blog on the New River Gorge National Park, where you’ll also find information on biking, hiking, fishing, and white water rafting. 

 

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  • Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop– They have a large selection of high-quality and name-brand mountain bike and equipment rentals from companies like Trek, Cannondale, and Giant Bicycles to accommodate any rider, family, or group. Choose from mountain bikes, comfort bikes (which offer a more padded seat), E-Bikes, kids trail-a-bikes, covered child trailers for small children, and even a tandem built for two. Discount for groups of 10 or more.

Renting Bikes in Damascus VA

Most people rent bikes in Damascus, VA. 

  • Creeper Trail Bike Rental- There is an excellent selection of bikes with timely service. 
  • Bicycle Junction– This bike shop has a convenient website allowing you to rent your bikes and order a shuttle online. 
  • Adventure Damascus Bike Rental & Shuttle Co– Great website with lots of information about the local area
  • Shuttle Shack– They welcome walk-ins if you don’t have reservations or if this is a last-minute thing. They have lots of great reviews! You can’t go wrong with this outfit.
  • The Bike Station– Their bike rental fleet has a variety of premium brand bikes, including mountain bikes, leisure path cruisers, comfort bikes, and tandems. The bikes are expertly maintained and include gel seats, riser handlebars, and frame sizes from 14 to 21 inches.
  • Blue Blazes Rental & Shuttle- Another good place to rent bikes for your whole family. Wonderful reviews and a good website with plenty of information. 

Renting Bikes in Whitetop VA

  • Creeper Trail Bike Rental– This is the same outfit that rents bikes in Damascus. However, this is very convenient if you’re staying in Whitetop. You can walk to the bike shop and off you go. 

 

If You Bring Your Own Bikes

What if you want to bring your own bike? You most certainly can, and this is what we did. Because we did not want to bike back up to Whitetop (where we had an Airbnb) from Damascus, my husband parked the car at their Damascus store and took the shuttle back to Whitetop, where he walked back to the house and we took off down the trail.  Cost: $25. 

Once we got to Damascus, we loaded our bikes on our vehicle and drove back to Whitetop (approx 35 min drive). Very convenient. 

What Kind of Bike Do You Need?

Comfortable.  

The trail is wide, well maintained on hard-packed gravel. You don’t need a hard-core mountain bike. But wider tires are most helpful due to some muddy spots, and a comfortable seat is critical!

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What Will You See on The Virginia Creeper Trail?

a collage of beautiful flowers highlighted by a blaack and blue butterfly in the middle.
You will spot abundant flora and fauna on the trail.

What I loved about the Virginia Creeper Trail is the variety of landscapes, plants, and animals you’ll see. 

You’ll roll by towering mountains, rolling hills, farmland, streams, white water rapids, and waterfalls. Just when you think you’ve seen the most beautiful scenery around the bend, it’s even prettier!

Flowers abound everywhere. Even in mid-July, the mountain laurels were blooming profusely. Other flowers I saw were columbines, bloodroot, butterfly weeds, daisies, bluebells, and many others I couldn’t identify. 

Small animals you’ll likely encounter include butterflies, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, beavers, and various bird species. Larger animals to look for are deer (saw many), bobcats, coyotes, and black bears. 

multiple farm houses and run down barns among trees in a collage of pictures
The Virginia Creeper Trail will take you past many farms and abandoned homes.

One hundred years ago, the entire area was booming with coal mining and timber removal.  By the 1980s, those industries collapsed, leaving the area nearly a ghost town. And it shows in the many abandoned buildings you’ll see on the trail and in and around Whitetop. But far from ugly, they show a time gone by and make for great photography opportunities. 

Whitetop to Damascus

a white building with wooden steps and a porch with foliage nearby
You will start your journey at Whitetop Station.

The shuttle will drop you off at the Whitetop Station. Here you will find restrooms, a small museum, and the beginning of the trail. You can go in one of two directions, one toward the North Carolina border and the other toward Damascus. 

a river with small stair stepping waterfalls cuts through the rock and foliage
Just off Creeper Trail, you will see rivers and streams.

99% of bikers take the trail to Damascus for two reasons. One, the route to North Carolina is narrow and is only one mile long. Though pretty, there isn’t much to see except a beaver pond. We walked a portion of this trail, and there wasn’t anyone else on it. 

Going toward Damascus, you’ll see wooded glens and waterfalls while passing over multiple bridges and tressels. This portion of the trail is downhill for 13 miles and then flat for the last 4 miles. 

a small antiquated building site in green gras with trees a hill in the distance with the top of another building visible.
Green Cove Station is about 4 miles down the trail from Whitetop.

Whitetop Station to Green Cove Station is only about 4 miles. The Green Cove Station is the only original depot left along the trail. Here you can use the bathroom and purchase drinks and souvenirs. 

There are two other places to get food and drink. The first one you’ll see is the Green Cove Collective, about 2+ miles down the trail from Green Cove Station. Here you can get coffee and snacks (my husband had a big chocolate muffin that was amazing). You’ll also find a unique and good selection of souvenirs in a cozy and adorable atmosphere. There is outdoor seating by the river to relax and enjoy a cup of java. 

The second place to eat is at Hellbenders Cafe. We packed our own lunch, so we didn’t eat here. But the reviews are excellent, and they had plentiful outdoor seating with umbrellas. It’s also the only place to get wifi before you hit Damascus, so it’s a great stopping point.

In Damascus, there are several dining options:

  • Wicked Chicken Winghouse & Tavern–If you’re looking for live music, plentiful outdoor seating, and amazing wings, look no further. Don’t forget the cold beer after your ride!
  • Damascus Diner–Breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Yep! Old-fashioned diner with smooth coffee and delicious food. A few tables outdoors, but primarily an indoor experience. 
  • Main Street Coffee and Cream–Looking for some sweet treats? This is it! Grab some java and one of their out-of-this-world pastries for the ride. 
  • Mojo’s Trailside Cafe and Coffee– If you’re craving good old-fashioned BBQ, stop by Mojo’s. 
  • Damascus Old Mill Inn–Casual dining on the river with three outside decks. Grab a cocktail or beer and unwind!
  • Cowboys General Store- You can grab snacks, drinks, or breakfast items at this convenience store and gas station. All your vices are here, too: tobacco, beer, and lottery tickets.

Damascus to Abingdon

Welcome sign to Damascus
Credit: Waldo Jaquith

In Damascus, the Damascus Caboose in the town park serves as a visitor center. Bathrooms, drinks, and information are available. 

Once you leave Damascus, heading to Abingdon, you’ll travel through open farmland and rolling hills for about 8 miles until you reach the Alvarado Station. This is an excellent place to stop for a rest, use the restroom, have a snack, or take a swim.   

a golden meadow of bushes and wildflowers in the foreground gives way to wooded rolling hills with a barn and mountains in the distance
When hiking or biking Creeper Trail, you will get amazing views of the mountains.

If you’d like a longer stop, Abingdon Vineyards is a short ½ mile ride off the trail near the Alvarado Station. Kid and dog friendly, there is plenty of shaded outdoor seating. Enjoy a wine tasting, and snacks are available. Food trucks and live music are sometimes on site (check their website for more details). This was our favorite stop!

A favorite photo op is a bridge crossing the Holston River after you leave the winery. Don’t miss it!

When you reach Abingdon, your choices for food and drink are many. Near the trail, you’ll find the following eateries:

  • 128 Pecan–This cute little restaurant is near the trail terminus. Enjoy a cold drink and hearty fare on the patio or indoors. 
  • Foresta- Opens at 5 pm for dinner. Upscale Asian fusion restaurant with beautiful decor. 
  • White Birch Food + Juice–How can you go wrong with an establishment that supports local farmers, serves fantastic smoothies, and has cocktails? You can’t. So stop by!
  • The Tavern–Founded in 1779, history meets delicious food and atmosphere. Open for dinner at 5 pm; reservations are suggested. 
  • Sister’s American Grill–Located in the Martha Washington Inn, this establishment serves fine dining and casual fare. They also have take-out dining–just call ahead and pick up at the entrance. 
  • The Girl and the Raven–This is where you’ll want to head for coffee and baked goods or a bite to eat. Reasonable prices, outdoor seating, and tasty offerings make this a favorite. 

Many other eating options are within easy driving distance, including fast food, sports bars, and ethnic food.  

What Other Activities Are There on the Trail?

a small waterfall cascades into a turbulent pool among rocks and under trees
There are plenty of swimming holes on the trail

You can do the trail two ways. The first is to get on your bike and zip down. That’s pretty much what we did. Or you can make it a full-day experience because biking is far from the only thing to do on the trail. 

I wish I had worn my swimsuit because there are several places to stop and dip in the gorgeous river you follow most of the way. And if you’re worried about riding in a wet swimsuit, no problem. There are several bathrooms to change in along the trail. 

If you like to fish, pack a pole. There are areas just for you. We heard that the fishing is pretty good too. Rent or bring a little bike trailer for your gear. 

If photography is your thing, boy, are you in luck! From dozens of bridges, waterfalls, flowers, and buildings to wildlife, the world is your oyster. There are literally hundreds of photo opportunities between Whitetop and Abingdon. 

If you want to tent camp, there are spaces along the trail to do just that. Check with the Forest Service for more information. 

Where to Stay on the Virginia Creeper Trail

Whitetop, Damascus, and Abingdon all have multiple places to stay near the trail. Where you stay will depend on the kind of getaway you want. 

 

300*250

 

Abingdon

Beach on a lake at Hungry Mother State Park
Hungry Mother State Park is a short drive from Abingdon

Abingdon is the largest town near the trail. It has big box stores like Walmart and Lowes and every kind of restaurant, from fast food to fine dining. Gas stations, convenience stores, and medical facilities are in town. 

750*350

 

See a play at the Barter Theatre or visit the William King Museum for some big city culture in the Blue Ridge. For nature lovers, Hungry Mother State Park is about 30 minutes up I-81. This is a beautiful park with a stunning lake and a lovely beach. 

 

Abingdon is also conveniently located right off Interstate 81. Accommodations range from chain motels/hotels to boutique inns. 

a collage of sites in Abingdon, VA including the welcome sign, Creeper Trailhead and downtown
Abingdon, Virginia, is a charming town with many attractions.

Great places to stay include:

Black’s Fort Inn Bed & Breakfast

You can attest to its captivating beauty if you’ve been fortunate enough to see the Black’s Fort Inn Bed & Breakfast. The fusion of French Country and Victorian styles, adorned with beautiful antiques, transports you to a bygone era. 

The warm hospitality welcomes you with delightful goodies and made-from-scratch breakfasts. But the true highlight? Private porches offer a serene haven for relaxation.

A Tailor’s Lodging

A Tailor’s Lodging is a charming 1840’s home in Abingdon’s Historic District. The three cozy bedrooms, each equipped with a fireplace, private bath, flat-screen TV, and complimentary WiFi, will make you feel at home. 

Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards

I can confidently call Nicewonder Farm and Vineyards in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains a hidden gem worth discovering. The serene location amidst over 450 acres of rolling farmland creates a breathtaking backdrop. Stay in the main building or a comfortable yurt. 

Savoring award-winning wines and indulging in curated culinary experiences is a journey for the senses. The beauty of this place will urge even the most hurried traveler to slow down and savor every moment.

The Martha Washington Inn & Spa

The Martha Washington Inn & Spa boasts a rich history and timeless charm. 

Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, as much of the original architectural beauty has been meticulously preserved for over a century.

 

Damascus 

pretty downtown with old buildings
Damascus has no chain restaurants or motels, making it a peaceful and authentic getaway. Credit: Metayal

Damascus is a small town of 700 people about 10 miles southeast of Abingdon. There is one grocery store, a Family Dollar store, a gas station, restaurants, and bike rental places.

The nightlife is limited, but some restaurants have live music, and The Damascus Brewery is a favorite, with live music on the weekends and great cold brews. If Karaoke is your thing, they have that too!

The Appalachian Trail runs through town, so hiking and biking are popular activities. Two small RV parks are along the creek, and a tent city is south of town for those who want to camp. 

No chain motels, hotels, big box stores, or fast food restaurants make this a charming place to stay. Some highly rated places to visit include the following. There is a hostel in Damascus, VA called The Broken Fiddle. You can search for other hostels on the Virginia Creeper trail on the Hostelworld website, which lets you search globally for hostels and budget motels. 

Damascus Old Mill Inn

If you’ve experienced the Damascus Old Mill Inn firsthand, you know how awesome it is.

The property’s highlight is the charming 12-room inn on the river. The full-service restaurant, with its three outdoor decks overlooking the mill waterfall, offers a dining experience unmatched in Damascus. And for a more laid-back atmosphere, the pub is perfect. 

The Millsap-Baker Estate

The Millsap-Baker Estate is a true beauty with 140 years of captivating history. The classic Victorian style and modern comforts in the serene suites cater to every guest’s desires. The vast estate boasts acres of peaceful outdoor wilderness, while the rustic accouterments throughout create a charming, nostalgic ambiance that wraps around the entire property. 

Mount Laurel Inn

The Mountain Laurel Inn is a cozy Victorian bed & breakfast. The inn’s ambiance and historical touches make it a truly memorable retreat.

The Dancing Bear Inn

The Dancing Bear Inn has cabins and an inn right in town. Cabins have kitchenettes with microwaves and fridges. Pets are welcome upon approval. The owners’ enthusiasm shines through as they share this enchanting spot with guests and their families.

Barrett House Riverside

The Barret House is beautifully situated on the river in Damascus. This lovely property has an expansive porch and comfortable beds and is within walking distance of the main street. 

Whitetop

long grass meadow gives way to some fir tress and then mountains in the distance
Nearby Whitetop Mountain provides spectacular views.

Whitetop is 19 miles east of Damascus and is the most remote place to stay on the trail. This is where I stayed. I rented an Airbnb across the street from the Whitetop Station. It was a lot of fun watching bikers coming and going. And that was about all there was to do!

No hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, or medical facilities exist. 

To be fair, there are a couple of gas stations (one has a small cafe), a post office, a bike rental place, and many Christmas tree farms. But the most excellent thing is at 3500’, the air temperature in the summer is 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding area. It never got above 76 the entire time we were there. 

This town of 389 people is peaceful, and it’s a perfect place for those who love nature. The two highest peaks in Virginia are nearby; Whitetop Mountain and Mount Rogers. 

Whitetop Mountain is easily accessible by car (but I suggest a vehicle with a high clearance and all-wheel drive). The hiking trails at the top have breathtaking views. I highly recommend going. Take water, snacks, and bear spray.  

The 5729’ Mount Rogers is the highest peak in the state, but it must be hiked to reach the summit. This is a strenuous hike and needs some planning, but it is doable for those in good shape. You can bike, hike, horseback ride, or fish in the area. This area is extremely remote, so plan well. 

crushed stone trail with a rustic wooden fence with high grass, trees, and mountains in the distance
Gorgeous views all the way around when hiking Grayson Highlands State Park.

Grayson Highlands State Park is only a few miles east of Whitetop off Highway 58. This is one of–if not the most–stunning state parks in Virginia. The wild ponies are as big of a draw as the 4500 acres of gorgeous alpine landscape. 

Conclusion

wooden bridge in the foreground lead to a darkened path beneath the foliage
The Creeper Trail takes you across numerous bridges and under the lush canopy of trees.

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a superb activity for everyone in your family, from grandparents to young children–even Fido! And after completing the trail, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy and entertained. 

So pull on your padded shorts and get going! 

If you enjoyed this blog, check out my blog on the New River Gorge National Park, where you’ll also find information on biking, hiking, fishing, and white water rafting. 

 

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