Several weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in the mountains. While there, we mountain biked. OK, I like saying that because it makes me sound adventurous and athletic but here’s the real story. We biked half of the Virginia Creeper Trail. Eighteen miles and all downhill. It was fabulous!
We started our morning in Damascus, VA at Little Bits Baking and Provision, a cute little coffee shop. We had a great conversation with the owners while sipping our delicious drinks. When we finished, we walked a couple of blocks down to Blue Blaze Bike Rentals. They hooked us up with some bikes and drove us 30 minutes up the mountain. Yes, UP the mountain on a very curvy road. At the top, they dropped us off at the trailhead near Whitetop Station on the Virginia-North Carolina border.
I love the mountains so I’m probably biased, but the mountain is beautiful. The trail follows Whitetop Laurel Creek most of the way. At many points along the trail, you could stop and get in the water to relax, play and enjoy the scenery. We crossed over 30 “wooden trestles” above the creek, but there are over 50 on the entire trail. The flowers and foliage are amazing this time of year. It was a hot day when we were there, but the trail is mostly shaded and a slight breeze helped.
Because the Virginia Creeper Trail used to be railroad tracks, it’s wide and smooth and fairly easy to ride. We started at Whitetop Station which is near the top of the second-highest peak in Virginia. The downhill ride drops in elevation over 2000 feet in the 18-mile ride to Damascus.
We ended at the Damascus Town Park by the red train car, less than a block from the bike shop. On the way out of town, we rewarded ourselves for “mountain biking” by stopping at Off The Beaten Path for some ice cream. We enjoyed our ice cream outside on the porch, under the ceiling fans while listening to live music. It was the perfect way to end our Virginia Creeper Trail experience.
The Appalachian Trail runs right through Damascus and merges several times with the trail. We saw several hikers. Not sure if they were hiking the whole trail but definitely had large packs they were carrying. Have I mentioned I’d love to hike the Appalachian Trail one day?
Back to the Virginia Creeper Trail. If you can ride a bike and want to see some spectacular scenery, then you need to venture up to Damascus. You won’t be disappointed.