I absolutely love the Virginia Creeper Trail! My husband and I have biked it twice now. Once taking a shuttle to Whitetop Station and another time starting in Abingdon, VA.
I’d like to help you plan your trip to the Virginia Creeper Trail so you can have as much fun as we did.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Everything You Need To Know To Bike The Virginia Creeper Trail!
Our first ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail was in June. It was a wonderful time to bike the trail. Even though the weather was hot, it was much cooler at the higher altitude of the trail.
We took a shuttle with the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop in Abingdon, VA. It took us to Whitetop Station, the southernmost end of the trail and also the highest point.
When you start from Whitetop Station, you’ll go downhill the entire way to Damascus, VA, which is about 18 miles.
We loved the shuttle ride to the top of the trail because the shuttle driver talked the whole way, giving us information about the trail and the history of the towns we drove by.
For instance, we learned that the famous guitar maker, Wayne Henderson, lives in the area. You can actually visit his workshop. (This is now on my bucket list).
I purchased the book below during this trip. It’s a fascinating read about Wayne Henderson making a guitar for Eric Clapton.
I learned that even famous people like Eric Clapton have to wait a long time to get a guitar made by Wayne Henderson, if they even get one at all.
We started our bike ride at Whitetop Station with a backpack carrying our water bottles and snacks. I also brought my photosensitive sunglasses.
There’s not much sunlight on this shady trail, but I like to wear glasses to keep the bugs out of my eyes.
Gary and I really liked stopping and exploring along the trail. The river you bike by is gorgeous. We stopped several times to play and explore in the water.
Riding from Whitetop to Damascus took us about 3 to 4 hours. Our shuttle picked us up in Damascus and took us back to Abingdon.
It was a very easy ride as it was all downhill. Our only regret was not having longer to get to Damascus, as we needed to be there by the time our shuttle came.
If we were to do this route again, we would bring more drinks and snacks and spend all day stopping along the trail.
You could continue on to Abingdon for another 16 miles.
The trail from Damascus to Abingdon is relatively flat but beautiful, as this section of the trail has several trestle bridges. (Our shuttle driver told us he thought this part of the trail was even more beautiful than Whitetop to Damascus).
Our second bike ride on the trail was in the fall. This time we started at Abingdon (the northernmost end of the trail but lower altitude than Whitetop Station).
The leaves were gorgeous this time of year, and we enjoyed the beautiful red, yellow, and orange colors.
It was unusually chilly the day we went. If you decide to go during the fall, plan to wear layers in case of cold weather. We wore warm coats, gloves, and hats.
Also, bike rentals and hotels can be hard to get in the fall, so plan at least a couple of months ahead for your trip.
We biked the trail the third week of September, which is a good time to see the leaves change. I don’t think it is usually that cold in Abingdon that time of year, but it was for us, so plan accordingly.
The first time we rode the trail, we rented mountain bikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop. They worked well on the crushed gravel that lined the entire trail.
On our second ride on the trail, we rented ebikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop and brought two ebikes from home to let our son and his girlfriend use.
The ebikes were a great way to explore the trail. With an electric bike, you can explore much more of the trail quickly.
The ebikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop worked great, as did the bikes we brought.
Our bikes are the Aventon Pace 500 ebikes. We were worried they may not work well on crushed gravel, but they were perfect.
😎 Read my review of the Aventon Pace 500 ebike HERE!
😎 Read more about our favorite ebike accessories HERE!
Virginia Creeper Trail History
The Virginia Creeper Trail is a multi-use recreational trail running through the Appalachian Mountains in western Virginia. It is a favored destination for outdoor adventurers and those seeking to escape into nature.
The 34-mile-long trail was converted from an old railroad path from 1880 until 1987, and its historic beauty remains preserved today. With a gradual downhill grade of 3%, it’s perfect for any level of biker.
Along the trail, you’ll see stunning views of pastures, creeks, Christmas tree farms, mountains, and several trestle bridges.
Quick Facts About The Virginia Creeper Trail
Where is the Virginia Creeper Trail located?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is located in western Virginia. It begins in Abingdon, VA, and ends in Whitetop Station. You can start at either the end of the trail or somewhere in the middle.
Virginia Creeper Trail Length
The Virginia Creeper Trail is 34 miles long. Many people take a shuttle to Whitetop Station, the trail’s highest point, and ride downhill 18 miles to Damascus.
You can also start at Abingdon, VA, and ride 16 miles on fairly flat terrain to get to Damascus. Or, of course, you could spend the whole day riding the entire trail.
Bike Rental For The Virginia Creeper Trail
Both times we rode the trail, we rented bikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop. We had a good experience both times. They are very friendly and helpful.
If you want to start your bike ride in Damascus, there are a few bike shops there.
Hotels Near The Virginia Creeper Trail
We stayed at the gorgeous Martha Washington Inn & Spa on our first trip to Abingdon. It is within walking distance of the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop and the trail entrance.
We LOVED our stay at the Martha Washington. This luxurious inn is full of fascinating history and all the amenities you could ever want. I enjoyed the two-level jacuzzi, salt-water pool, and free nightly port.
😎 Read more about our stay at the Martha Washington Inn HERE!
😎 Book your stay at the Martha Washington Inn HERE!
Pro-tip: The Martha Washington Inn has bikes that you can reserve to use on the trail. For a small fee, they will also shuttle you to the top of the trail.
On our second trip, we stayed at an Airbnb called The 119. It’s conveniently across the street from the entrance to the Virginia Creeper Trail. It’s a gorgeous 1920s farmhouse that has been completely renovated inside.
This home is perfect if you’re traveling with family or friends. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The modern decor is stunning yet comfortable.
😎 Read more about our stay at this home HERE!
Maps Of The Virginia Creeper Trail
Here’s a link that shows a map of the entire Virginia Creeper Trail, or check out the map below. You can zoom in to see different points along the trail.
What are some places to camp near The Virginia Creeper Trail?
- 100 ft from Whitetop Station (the highest point of the trail)
- Has bathrooms with showers
- Has wifi at the camp store, along with coffee and snacks.
- Sells bundles of firewood
- Allows pets
- Has a small grocery store 3 miles away
- Close to Grayson Highlands
- Has RV and tent sites
- Located in Damascus, Virginia
- RV camping only (no tents)
- Located along the scenic Laurel Creek
- Can fish and swim
- Each campsite has free wifi
- No public bath facilities
- Several restaurants, grocery stores, and bicycle rental options are within 3 miles
- Located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area on Highway 58 between Damascus and Whitetop Station
- Has a small creek that you can wade and fish in
- The campground has a 14-acre lake with two fishing piers
- Allows tent and RV campers
- Drinking water is provided, and there is a dump station
- Each site has a grill and picnic table
- Has hiking trails nearby
- Has bathrooms with showers
- A few miles outside of Damascus, VA
- Has a creek, fishing, hiking, and a waterfall
- Does not have electricity, water, or sewer hookups
- Does have potable water
How to plan your trip to the Virginia Creeper Trail
- Flight – If you are flying, book your flight to the Tri-Cities Airport, which is just 30 minutes away from Abingdon, VA. BOOK NOW on Orbitz ▶
- Car rental – If flying in, you will also need to get a rental car. I recommend Discover Cars as they search all major rental companies to find you the best deal. BOOK NOW on Discover Cars ▶
- Trail – Decide what part of the trail you would like to bike or hike
- Hotel – Reserve your room at the Martha Washington Inn. BOOK NOW on Hotels.com ▶
- Bike rental – Reserve your bike rentals and shuttle. We recommend the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop.
- Weather – Bring appropriate clothing for the time of year you are visiting
- Food – Pack some snacks and drinks to enjoy along the trail. Also, plan which restaurants you would like to visit during your trip and make reservations, if necessary. (Read about the fantastic restaurants in Abingdon, VA HERE!)
- While you’re there – Learn about other things to do in the area (read about the historic town of Abingdon HERE!)
What is the closest airport to the Virginia Creeper Trail?
The Tri-Cities Airport (TRI) in Blountville, TN, is just 30 minutes away from Abingdon, VA. This is a small regional airport, but you should be able to fly here from most major cities. TRI has seven gates, and most commercial flights are on American Airlines and Delta.
How difficult is the Virginia Creeper Trail?
The trail is gently sloped downhill if you ride from Whitetop Station to Damascus. It is quite easy.
If you’re riding from Damascus to Abingdon, it is still an easy trail but will require more effort because it is flat. The trail is crushed stone and is maintained well.
How Much Does It Cost To Do The Virginia Creeper Trail?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is free! You can bring your own bike or rent one from a nearby shop.
Is The Virginia Creeper Trail Worth It?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is definitely worth it. I’ve biked the trail twice and would like to return a third time.
People travel from all over the world to bike and hike the trail. We were even told to keep an eye out for famous people on the trail.
Where Is The best place to start the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Any place on the trail is gorgeous. Most people take a shuttle to the highest point on the trail, Whitetop Station, and enjoy the gentle downhill ride to Damascus.
Our shuttle driver told us that he thought the flat ride from Damascus to Abingdon was a little more scenic because of the number of trestle bridges in that section.
Are there bathrooms on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Yes, there are bathrooms on the trail, including the following places:
- The trailhead at Whitetop Station
- Green Cove Station (there is also water available here seasonally)
- Straight Branch Parking Lot
Are helmets required on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Helmets are not required on the trail.
Are there restaurants on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Yes, there are restaurants along the trail. Just be warned that they might not be open when you visit, so I highly suggest bringing drinks and snacks.
Also, you could check ahead with the restaurants to see if they will be open during your visit.
Here are some restaurants along the Virginia Creeper Trail
- Hellbender’s Cafe in Damascus, VA
- Wicked Chicken in Damascus, VA
- 7 Trails Grill in Damascus, VA
- Mojo’s Trailside Cafe & Coffee in Damascus, VA
Can you use a road bike on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Yes, you can use a road bike, mountain bike, or ebike on the trail. We used an electric road bike on our second ride, which worked well.
Are ebikes allowed on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Yes, the Virginia Creeper Trail is a great place to use an electric bike, and they are allowed. You can rent an ebike from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop or bring your own.
(Update: read the comments at the bottom of this post for more information about riding ebikes on the trail. I have a reader that is saying they are not allowed but may be in the future.)
We brought our Aventon Pace 500 ebikes and also rented ebikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop. Our Aventon Pace 500 electric bikes are more of a road bike but still worked great.
A fat tire ebike would be ideal. I’m hoping to purchase the Aventon Sinch Ebike soon for trails like the Virginia Creeper. It’s a folding fat tire ebike, so you can put it in the back of your car.
I’m also considering the RipCurrent Step-Through electric bike from Juiced Bikes. It doesn’t fold up like the Aventon Sinch but has a very long range.
Are there waterfalls on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
Whitetop Laurel Falls is on the Virginia Creeper Trail. You can see a photo and get directions HERE.
There are smaller waterfalls along the trail, like the one below, that we stopped to play in.
What should I wear on the Virginia Creeper Trail?
If you’re visiting the trail in the summer, I suggest shorts and a cool top. I recommend wearing layers of clothes in the fall, spring, and winter.
If it’s very cold out, you’ll want to wear gloves and something warm under your helmet, like a helmet liner.
😎 Read about our favorite bike accessories HERE!
What is the best time of the year to do the Virginia Creeper Trail?
What I love about the trail is there’s something different to see each time you go. The fall is one of the most popular times to bike the trail because of the beautiful changing leaves.
If you go in the spring, you’ll enjoy the blooming flowers, like white laurel and magenta rhododendron. In the summer, you’ll love playing in the stream.
Is the Virginia Creeper Trail for beginners?
Yes, the trail is easy enough for all levels of bikers and hikers.
What items should I bring on the trail?
- Polarized sunglasses
- Layers of clothing
- Money if stopping at a restaurant
- We also wished we had brought water shoes to explore the river better.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to the Virginia Creeper Trail.
Gary and I absolutely LOVE this trail. I think you will too!
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