Looking for something different to do on your vacation? Have a family of explorers and adventurers? Want to just experience nature beyond the usual gravel trails? Then you need to check out the Virginia Creeper Trail is Southwestern Virginia. Not only is great for nature, but it also is steeped in railroading history.
The Virginia Creeper Trail the most popular destinations for families in the southeast and for good reason. You can do this with any age children and at any fitness level. It’s all downhill, but not too steep, and fall is one of the most beautiful times to take the trip. There are several options on the trails, for ease and small kids we recommend the 17 mile trek from Whitetop Station, if you are feeling adventurous you can continue on to historic Abingdon.
So, what is the Virginia Creeper Trail? Does this have something to do with Minecraft?
No worries, there are no scary mobs running around in the woods (if you’re confused, ask your kids). The Virginia Creeper Trail is an amazing 34-mile trail that spans from Abingdon to Whitetop, Virginia. Known best as a biking trail, the VCT was formerly a railroad route.
Where does the Virginia Creeper Trail get its name?
The name comes from the “creeping” speeds the trains had to go while maneuvering through the rural Virginia mountains. Given its railroading background, parts of the trail have you crossing refurbished trestle bridges. These bridges give you an eagle’s eye view of the surrounding landscape. Talk about a photo op!
Biking and Hiking the Virginia Creeper Trail
There are so many things to do along the VCT. You can rent bikes at the Damascus or Abingdon Stations (or bring your own). Shuttles are available to drop you off at various access points to begin your journey. But, if you like to take things a bit slower, the VCT is perfect for walking as well. From farmland to forests to streams and creeks, there is no lack of gorgeous scenery on which to feast your eyes. It is also the perfect trail for horseback riding. The trail itself does have some elevation change, although it is of moderate strenuousness. Our favorite route is the 17-mile trek from Whitetop Station to Damascus. All in all, it is a great trail for families with children of all ages, whether seasoned hikers or new explorers.
How much time should you expect to complete the trail?
If you have a family like mine, you are definitely going to want to take some breaks along the trail. You can expect to spend at least a good portion of your day on the trail, depending on your pace and your needs. Generally, it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours to get from Whitetop to Damascus and approximately another 2 hours from Damascus to Abingdon trailhead. Luckily, there are several good break-time options along the trail, as well as in both Damascus and Abingdon. There aren’t many hiking trails in Virginia with ice cream shops right along the trail. Talk about sweetening the deal!
Virginia is for (Adventure) Lovers
The VCT has it all. Awesome views, unique trails, and great options for exploring the area (biking, hiking, and riding). Plus, the towns of Damascus and Abingdon have some of the friendliest people who are willing to help you out along your adventure. I honestly have never been on a more unique excursion! Located within 2-3 hours of Pigeon Forge, TN, Knoxville, TN, Asheville, NC, and Winston-Salem, NC, I would absolutely recommend taking a detour on your vacation and checking it out!