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Get out your backpack, hiking boots and mountain bike because it's time to explore Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains from Abingdon to Damascus along the Virginia Creeper Trail.
Before you begin, you might want to fill your backpack with bottled water, fruit, juices and nibbles from the downtown Abingdon Farmers Market or The Whole Health Center.
Enter the Virginia Creeper Trail at Mile Marker 0, where a steam locomotive marks the Trailhead. The first stretch along the trail — about 15.5 level miles — is bordered by fields and pastures leading to a beaver pond, frogs, cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels and red and gray foxes! As many as 40 species of birds can also be seen in the meadows and woodlands.
About 8.5 miles along the Trail there is a cut off for the little town of Alvarado, where you might want to take a break. Otherwise, continue on another 7 miles to Damascus — nicknamed Trail Town USA! In Damascus, you can eat at the WhistlePig Bistro — you'll be hungry!
Feel refreshed? Now's the time for the second half of your trek along the Trail — about 18 miles to go! Head to one of the bike/hike shops in Damascus. Tell them you want a shuttle-bus ride up to Whitetop Mountain, where you can then ride your bike on the Virginia Creeper Trail back to Damascus — all gently downhill. Bikers say it is hard to find a bicycle trail more user-friendly than the 18 miles between Whitetop and Damascus. See the spectacular mountain scenery, too!
For the more experienced biker, you might want to bike all the way up to Whitetop Mountain and spend the night at a mountain cabin or camp out at Grayson Highlands State Park.
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