Biking & Cycling

Mountain Biking In The Southeast: The Virginia Creeper Trail

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Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli

Enthusiasm for mountain biking is alive and well across the United States. Sure, places like Moab, Utah and the Rocky Mountains are highly regarded as havens for the sport, but the southeast has it’s share of sweet spots, too. Take the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is notorious around the south as the perfect place to spend the day (or weekend!) cruising down the mountain.

Not often do you have a trail so usable that novices and experts can get their thrills at the same time. The 34 miles of trail begin in Abingdon, Virginia and descends through the quaint town of Damascus, which is known as the “Heart of the Virginia Creeper.” Take in the beauty while you can as you head uphill to the North Carolina state line, also known as Whitetop Station. Follow the Whitetop Laurel River all along the way as you get in some quality time with Mother Nature herself.

A benefit to visiting the Virginia Creeper Trail is that it’s open year-round, which allows visitors to experience each season in a unique way. The autumn leaves have never looked more beautiful than when you’re zipping past them in the cool breeze. Or in summer, when the heavy rains leave the greenery lush, fragrant, and dense. Winter is a great time to visit the trail on horseback, or on foot. But make sure to wear heavy hiking boots!

If you want to rent a mountain bike to ride on the trail, there are numerous outfitters in both Abingdon and Damascus that will provide you with any necessary gear. And if your group has a few beginners, it’s easy to grab a shuttle to the top of the mountain. That way all parties involved will have a fun, safe, and successful experience on the trail. No need to wear your legs out peddling uphill!

Take a few days to explore the area by choosing one of several campsites to stay the night. The western Virginia scenery is surprisingly untouched by the conveniences of modern times, so you can easily feel like you’ve gone back in time to old-world Appalachia.

Do you have any tips or tricks for southeast mountain bikers who plan on visiting the Virginia Creeper? If so, sound off in the comments!

Happy biking!

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r