DAMASCUS, Va. (WFXR) — Did you know that you and your family could cruise on a bicycle down the former Virginia Creeper steam locomotive’s route and through a gorgeous national forest? Well, you can – and the experience is one you’ll never forget.
In the 1970s, the last Virginia Creeper train rolled through the quaint town of Damascus, Virginia, also referred to as Trail Town USA. The train climbed eastward into the Iron Mountains and was referred to as the Virginia Creeper, a name derived from the native plant that grew along the train’s route. “Creeper” is also synonymous with the steam engine’s laborious trips up and down the steep mountain carrying heavy loads of iron ore, lumber and supplies.
In 1987, the railroad was converted into a recreational multi-use trail, fittingly named the Creeper Trail, and today is an incredible destination for outdoor and biking lovers.
The owner of Adventure Damascus Bicycles and Sun Dog outfitters, Michael Wright says the town was boarded up when he opened up shop, now the area serves over 200,000 visitors a year and they come from all over the world.
“We opened in 1998 and have been providing bike rentals and shuttles for the Creeper Trail for 22 years. It’s a great family event. It takes just a few hours, you can get away for the day, people come from all over the place to enjoy it!”Michael Wright, Owner of Adventure Damascus Bicycles and Sun Dog Outfitter Damascus
There are multiple rental bike shops in the area. Once visitors rent a bike, a shuttle service is provided to the valley below White Top Mountain, which is the second-highest point in Virginia. During the shuttle ride, you’ll pass Christmas tree farms and lush scenic mountain views. The trip up is merely a glimpse of the natural beauty visitors will experience on the trail.
The trail is great for those of all ages and physical abilities. You’ll see children on tricycles, senior citizens, and competitive cyclists all on the same trail. The ride is all downhill from the top and extends up to 34 miles, although many prefer to stop in Damascus after completing 17 miles.
The trail runs along the Laurel creek, where visitors will encounter large rock faces, countless trees, picturesque water features, and nearly fifty bridge trestles. There are four visitor centers along the route as well, the most noteworthy, Green Cove Station.
After a day filled with outdoor adventures, vacationers find solace in the many wonderful dining, lodging, and shopping opportunities in the area. The Creeper Trail Cafe is known for their famous chocolate cake, Wicked Chicken is where many kick it, along with tunes and brews can be found at the Damascus Brewery.