What could be better than famous trails and friendly towns? Check out 2022 Top Adventure Town winners Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia for some of the best trails in the Southeast, and stay for the southern charm.
A rail-trail that has it all, the Virginia Creeper Trail (VCT), offers countless adventures for the whole family and different skill levels. Running 34.3 miles from Abingdon through Damascus to the VA-NC border at Whitetop Station, this “hub and spoke” trail connects to some of the best trail recreation in the Southeast. To make life easier, there are eight local bike outfitters who provide shuttle services! Biking, hiking, trail running, and even cross country skiing are just some of the activities found on this multi-award winning route. The VCT also offers trailside access to trout streams and swimming holes from Whitetop Laurel to South Holston Lake.
At the eastern end of the VCT, check out Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which has over 500 miles of trails to explore, including Mount Rogers itself, at an altitude of more than 5,700 feet. Continue your trek through Grayson Highlands State Park, where you’ll meet wild ponies in the Wilburn Ridge area, and admire the surrounding alpine-like peaks. Nearby, drive or hike up Whitetop mountain, the second highest mountain in Virginia at 5,520 feet high. Or, if you’re up for a challenge, bike the whole 34 mile trail from Whitetop to Abingdon. For some serious adventure, consider the various connecting trails to make longer loops for multi-day backpacking and bikepacking routes.
When your ride is complete, explore Abingdon’s award winning “Best Small Town Food Scene” at restaurants like the new Summers–Rooftop and Wine Cellar, Abingdon’s first rooftop dining experience. Speaking of wine, Abingdon Vineyards, located just across the river from the Alvarado section of the VCT, is the perfect place to stop and sip.
In Damascus, the “Friendliest Town on the Trail”, the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) runs right along the sidewalk downtown. Before your adventure, head to Damascus Diner for a comforting breakfast, and end the day with local spirits at Appalachian Heritage Distillery.
Rest up at the plentiful lodging opportunities in the area, or sleep under the stars at Hidden Valley Lake and Backbone Rock. Both towns are designated “A.T. Communities”, so be sure to stop by their visitor and trail centers for information and recommendations!
Get out and discover the welcoming trails and culture in and around Abingdon and Damascus, Virginia. We promise you’ll want to return again and again!