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Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail is an outstanding experience that you will never forget. The trail is located in a beautiful, small town in Virginia known as Damascus. This town provides many amenities such as lodging, dining and great outdoor entertainment.
The town of Damascus is located about fifty miles northeast of the East Tennessee State University campus. From campus you will get onto US181 north for about twenty miles and then turn off onto the Bristol exit. This exit will then put you onto US81north. As you cross the Tennessee, Virginia line you will see signs to Damascus, Virginia. From the state line Damascus is only thirty-five miles away. After you exit to Damascus the signs are very explanatory.
The Creeper Trail dates back to the early railroads in Abingdon, Virginia, in the 1880’s. Abingdon is a town outside of Damascus where a coal and iron railroad company was built. The railway traveled through Damascus and to the top of Whitetop Mountain. The railroad ran for many years but later on became damaged by floods and torrential rains. In 1977 the railway was finally torn down and the land was turned over to Abingdon and Damascus. The trail then became a biking, walking, and a horseback-riding trail. A great site to get historical information on the Virginia Creeper Trail is, (www.vacreepertrail.com/history/VACreeperHistory.htm)
The town of Damascus is very charming with its beautiful Victorian houses along each road and the friendliness of the locals. While you drive into town you will come to a place called Adventure Damascus, where you can rent bikes and get a shuttle up to the top of Whitetop Mountain for only twenty dollars. The fee includes your bike rental, shuttle, and two bottles of water. The trip from downtown to the top of the mountain seems very long and dreadful but when you finally approach the top the view and ride is well worth it.
The length of the trail from Whitetop to Damascus is around 20 miles long and should take four hours to make it down. People are allowed to ride up the mountain or ride down the mountain. To ride up the mountain the biker must be experienced and very well educated about the trail.
As you start the trail you will hear the sounds of horses making their way up the mountain to meet you. Before you know it you will be gliding down from Whitetop Station into the forest canopy of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
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"Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Feb 2020
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After riding for several hours you may want to take a detour and grab a bite to eat. About ten miles down the trail you will find a little restaurant and inn. You will turn off onto a little dirt road that has a huge sign that says "Dot’s Inn." There will be a big arrow pointing towards an old, brown, wooden building that looks very dilapidated. When you walk into the building the strong smell of stale beer will smack you in the face and the floor will be covered with peanut shells. Don’t let the appearance fool you because once you take a bite of Dot’s food you will soon be back for more. The menu offers everything from cheeseburgers to fried chicken and the prices are very reasonable ranging from $4.00 to $6.00.
If you want to plan to stay the night "The Cottages" would be a great choice. These cottages are directly located on the trail so you can watch people pass. To stay one night it will cost you $180 per night, which is quite high. On the other hand if you are on a budget Don’t Inn is for you with the low cost of only $50 per night.
After Dot’s Inn you will be approaching the half way mark of the trail. As you pass through the beautiful countryside, you will smell the spicy scents of black coal cinders from the fireplaces inside the beautiful, old farmhouses. When you get to the bottom of the trail there will be signs of where to go to return your bike. As you get to Adventure Damascus the workers will inspect the bike and then send you on your way.
Riding the Virginia Creeper Trail will make you fall in love with mountain biking. If you were ever afraid or not interested your previous reluctance to go mountain biking will definitely change. This will be a trip that you will never forget.