Biking The Virginia Creeper Trail – Everything You Need To Know

Virginia Creeper Trail entrance

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I 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.

Let me help you plan your trip to the Virginia Creeper Trail so you can have as much fun as we did.

Everything You Need To Know To Bike The Virginia Creeper Trail!

Our first ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail was in June. It was an excellent 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 the highest point.

Whitetop Station on the Virginia Creeper Trail
Whitetop Station – the top of the trail!

Starting from Whitetop Station, you’ll go downhill for about 18 miles to Damascus, VA.

We started our bike ride at Whitetop Station with a backpack carrying water bottles and snacks, and 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 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.

Gary playing in the river on the Virginia Creeper Trail
Gary explores the river that runs along the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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 an effortless 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 to Abingdon for another 16 miles.

The trail from Damascus to Abingdon is relatively flat but beautiful, as this section 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 at a lower altitude than Whitetop Station).

The leaves were gorgeous this time of year, and we enjoyed the beautiful red, yellow, and orange colors.

The Virginia Creeper Trail in the fall. The changing leaf colors are gorgeous.
Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail in the fall.

It was pretty cold the day we went. If you decide to go during the fall, wear layers and bring a coat, gloves, and a hat.

Also, bike rentals and hotels can be difficult to find in the fall, so plan your trip at least a few months in advance.

We biked the trail the third week of September, an excellent 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.

Bridge on Virginia Creeper Trail in the Fall with leaves changing colors.
Beautiful fall colors on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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.

A bridge on the Virginia Creeper Trail in the summer.
Bridge on the Virginia Creeper Trail

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 relatively 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 has a 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.

The beautiful gardens at the Martha Washington Inn, Abingdon, Virginia.
The beautiful grounds of the Martha Washington Inn.

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.

The 119 and Airbnb in Abingdon, VA
Airbnb in Abingdon, VA called The 119

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?

Creeper Trail Campground

  • 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

Laurel Creek RV Park

  • 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

Bear Tree Campground

  • 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

Backbone Rock Campground

  • 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 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; 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 bike or rent one from a nearby shop.

Is The Virginia Creeper Trail Worth It?

The Virginia Creeper Trail is 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 watch 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 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. Remember that they might not be open when you visit, so I highly suggest bringing drinks and snacks.

Also, you could check with the restaurants to see if they will be open during your visit.

Here are some restaurants along the Virginia Creeper Trail

Can you use a road bike on the Virginia Creeper Trail?

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.

(Update, ebikes may not be allowed on the trail. Check the rules before you go.)

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 saying they are not allowed but may be in the future. I encourage you to check the rules regarding ebikes before you go.)

We brought our Aventon Pace 500 ebikes and rented ebikes from the Virginia Creeper Bike Shop. Our Aventon Pace 500 electric bikes are more of a road bike, but they still worked great.

We now own the Magicycle Jaguarundi foldable fat-tire ebike. This would be perfect for the trail. The fat tires and front suspension would give you a smooth ride.

Related PostOur review of the Magicycle Jaguarundi Foldable Fat-Tire Ebike

Ebike I used on the Virginia Creeper Trail
My Aventon Pace 500 Ebike that I used on the trail.

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.

Waterfall on the VA Creeper Trail
Small waterfall on the Virginia Creeper Trail

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 freezing 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
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • 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 LOVE this trail. I think you will, too!

Kristen by the river on the Creeper Trail in Virginia.
Kristen enjoying the river.
Gary hunting for critters on the Virginia Creeper Trail
Gary successfully hunting for crawdads.

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22 Responses

  1. Hi! Just read the post and I feel like I should address / pass something on. E-bikes are in fact NOT allowed on the Virginia Creeper Trail. You do see people riding them some and I don’t know that the forestry service is saying much or really enforcing it very stringently, but I am in a position to be familiar with that particular trail and its rules. The following is a link to some Creeper Trail specific rules, as well as some general info regarding Virginia E-bike laws. —- Below is an excerpt from the website. It specifically states “as of 11/1/2022” but It is still current information. —-

    https://www.molehillbikes.com/buyers-guides/2023-virginia-electric-bike-laws-pg199.htm

    —–“EBIKES ON THE CREEPER TRAIL
    Ebikes are not allowed on the Creeper Trail as of 11/1/2022.

    We have received many questions on whether you can ride ebikes on the Creeper Trail in Damascus, Virginia. After extensive research and talking to a member of the board that regulates the trail, we can tell you that ebikes are NOT ALLOWED on the Creeper Trail.

    The Creeper trail is actively looking at changing this rule, but because the National Forest Service owns a portion of the trail, it complicates the issue. The Forest Service has to do Geological studies involving the possibility of more erosion before the local jurisdiction can make an exception for ebikes. The board told us that once that happens, the town of Damascus and Abington will allow ebikes according to the Forest Services decision.”—–

    1. This is really great info and I think it will help people decide what to do about riding ebikes on the trail. We rode our own ebikes as well as rented ebikes to ride on the trail. Hopefully it will become more clear in the future for visitors to understand the rules about ebikes on the trail. Thanks again.

  2. We have not heard of The Virginia Creeper Trail. This trail sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a beautiful trail! It looks like something from a fairytale. I’d especially be into staying at the Martha Washington Inn. The grounds are lovely. It’d be a great place to relax. I’ll keep this area on my radar for sure!

  4. The Virginia Creeper Trail looks amazing, summer and fall! I’d love to ride a bike there and stop frequently to explore.

    1. Fall is one of the most popular times of the year to bike the Virginia Creeper Trail. It can be busy then but a good tip is to go on a weekday if you can.

  5. The Virginia Creeper Trail looks stunning in the fall! Beautiful pictures! The ebikes also look fun. I’ve never ridden one but would like to try one day.

  6. Beautiful photos! If an e-bike has a larger seat than a regular bike, I’m all in! I can’t ride regular bikes because of the seats. I broke my tailbone some time ago and it has never really healed so riding a bike is torture. I love all your recommendations!

  7. Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail sounds like such a fun, and beautiful, adventure! Loved the information and the photos are gorgeous…I think I may have to add this to my bucket list! The AirBnb farmhouse you stayed in looks wonderful too!

    1. We really loved the Airbnb we stayed in, especially since it’s right across the street from the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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