Exploring the Creeper Trail: Everything You Need to Know

Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a scenic and popular shared-use trail that stretches from Abingdon, Virginia, to the Virginia-North Carolina border, a total distance of 33.4 miles. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful trail, here’s everything you need to know.

A Historic Trail with Rich Heritage

The Virginia Creeper Trail, also known as the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, was originally a rugged mountain railroad. It was once used by Native Americans and later by European pioneers, including the legendary Daniel Boone. The trail gets its name from the early steam locomotives that struggled to climb the steep grades.

The trail’s fascinating history includes its construction by W.B. Mingea in 1907 and its extension by the Hassinger Lumber Co. in 1905. The Virginia Creeper railroad carried lumber, iron ore, supplies, and passengers until its closure in 1977 due to economic difficulties.

Rules and Etiquette for Enjoyment and Safety

To ensure everyone has a pleasant experience on the Virginia Creeper Trail, there are a few simple rules to follow. The trail is designated for non-motorized traffic only, and bicyclists and hikers should yield to horses when encountering them. Horseback riders must dismount when crossing bridges and trestles. It is also important to pack out all litter, camp away from the trail and streams, and obtain permission before camping on private land.

Milestones Along the Trail

Here are some notable landmarks and distance markers along the Virginia Creeper Trail:

  • Abingdon Trailhead (Mile 0): Limited parking available. Features a locomotive display, the last steam engine used on the Creeper Trail.
  • Damascus (Mile 15.5): Explore the town park and enjoy amenities such as parking, restrooms, and refreshments.
  • Green Cove Station (Mile 29.3): Visit the seasonal information station for Forest Service updates, portable toilets, and beverages when open.
  • Whitetop Station (Mile 32.3): The highest point on the trail with parking available. Don’t miss the reconstructed train station and interpretive displays.

Interesting Facts and Visitor Centers

Here are some fascinating facts about the Virginia Creeper Trail:

  • The trail passes through private land, and while you have the right to use it, please respect the landowners and adhere to trail etiquette.
  • The trail is managed by three entities: Damascus and Abingdon oversee the section from Abingdon to Damascus, while the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area manages the trail from Damascus to the North Carolina border.
  • There are three visitor centers along the trail: Whitetop Station, Green Cove, and the Damascus Caboose. These centers offer maps, interpretive items, and facilities like outdoor toilets.
  • Over 100,000 people explore the trail every year, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • The U.S. Forest Service operates a bike patrol along the trail from Damascus to Whitetop Station during the warmer months.

Plan Your Adventure on the Creeper Trail

For additional information about the Virginia Creeper Trail, visit the official website of the Ambassadeur Hotel. Discover the beauty and history of this remarkable trail and create unforgettable memories in the heart of nature.

Remember to prepare accordingly, follow the trail rules, and respect the environment and fellow visitors. Happy exploring!