It was once a railway but is now a multi-purpose trail for hikers, cyclists, and even horses. The almost 34 mile route became the Virginia Creeper.
(WBIR-Damascus) It was once a railway but is now a multi-purpose trail for hikers, cyclists, and even horses.
The almost 34 mile route became the Virginia Creeper Trail after the last train ran in 1977. It stretches from Abingdon to Whitetop Station.
Cyclists, walkers, and horse back riders enjoy this trail in Virginia. - Emily Stroud and Jerry Owens
The Virginia Creeper Trail attracts visitors from the across the country. Linda Carder used to be one of those tourists.
"I've ridden Colorado, Illinois, Missouri. I rode from Georgia to Virginia in 2000. I rode this trail and this is the most beautiful bike trail I've ever been on," Linda Carder said.
So beautiful, in fact, that she moved to Damascus last year.
"From here I can walk up the Appalachian Trail and in three and a half miles I'm in Tennessee. Or I can bike this," she said.
Cyclists on the Virginia Creeper Trail have options. Ride fast or slow. Make a round trip or catch a shuttle to the top. Shuttles transport bicycles and bicyclists to Whitetop Station, Virginia and drop them off.
James Rittwage said, "It's supposed to be coasting so come down hill all the way."
James and Lizzy Smith deserve a break from the uphill climb. They're just passing through as they hike the Appalachian Trail.
James said, "We're mostly hikers. We started at Springer Mountain. We've done about 460 miles so far. So we decided biking would be a little easier than hiking today."
Whether hiking, biking, or horseback riding, Linda recommends allowing time during your trek to stop.
"You're going along these creeks and normally I'm just in bugs in my teeth mode. There are places you just can't fail to stop. I mean they take your breath away," she said.
The trail does offer postcard worthy views. Sometimes it winds along water. At times it takes you across trestles. There's forests and fields and freedom.
"I didn't even want to bike today but I have to do it once a week," she said.
Linda said she is trying to get back in shape and the lure of the trail is making it easier.
"I'm going to hike or bike at least once a week but ultimately I would like to ride is about three times a week," she said.
Lizzy had a less ambitious goal: staying upright.
"Last time I rode a bike I face planted," she said.