“Comin’ on your left”. That’s something you hear a lot on the Creeper Trail as walkers or bikers who are faster than you pass you by. It’s a common courtesy that most everyone uses. It’s just one of the reasons the Creeper is probably our favorite place in Southwest Virginia.
The Creeper Trail is a 35 mile long railroad spur that was abandoned by Norfolk Southern in the 1970s. It runs from the North Carolina border through Whitetop Mountain, the town of Damascus, VA and ends (or begins if you prefer) in Abingdon, VA.
Through some very smart foresight, in 1982 the town of Abingdon bought the right of way to Damascus with the U.S. Forest Service picking up the rest. The Creeper Trail opened in 1987 and the rest is history. Being maybe the best trail of its type in Virginia, it brings in plenty of visitors and is an economic powerhouse for the region.
We consider the Creeper Trail to be divided into four easily digestible parts: Abingdon to Watauga, Watauga to Alvarado, Alvarado to Damascus, Whitetop to Damascus.
It’s a very easy walking, biking and horseback riding trail with a gentle slope. Well except for the last part where you go down the side of the mountain into Damascus. But there’s very little pedaling going on downhill. (Our daughter and son-in-law have biked up to the top of the mountain…good for them).
Each section of the trail has a different look to it. Coming out of Abingdon, you’ll pass a nice, golf course neighborhood before heading into the woods. From Watauga, you’ll pass farmlands and a lot of trestles. Keep an eye out for tree-houses, too. Heading out of Alvarado, there are homes along the river and more fields. Biking downhill from Whitetop, you’ll follow a stream for much of the trail.
To get really involved, join the Creeper Trail Club here. Go to meetings, volunteer, and you’ll meet lots of really great people. Abingdon is a great place to visit, and the Creeper Trail is a must.