Way up in the southwest corner of Virginia lies a gem for anyone interested in hiking, biking or fishing. It's called the Virginia Creeper trail and it runs from the top of Whitetop to the quaint town of Damascus. The trail is 17miles from Whitetop to Damascus and it's downhill the whole way. I have been wanting to do this ride with my family for years and last week we finally did it.
The trail is dirt but very flat and almost as smooth as a paved road for the most of it. It is fairly steep in the beginning but it turns into a slow dropping grade after about 3 miles.
The views are amazing and change from farmland to forest. There are several places to stop, picnic, use the restroom or even buy lunch.
The highlight for me was Whitetop Laurel Creek. It runs next to the trail the whole way. You cross the creek several times over wooden bridges.
It was hard passing up so many good fishing holes along the way. The water looked amazing and every turn lent itself to more beautiful pools and riffles.
My kids had a blast on the ride and we stopped several times to enjoy the views and play in the water. The trail becomes part of the Appalachian Trail and it's common to see several AT hikers. We went during the week to avoid the big crowds. It was rumored that this trail is crazy in the summer and on weekends. After experiencing the ride I can see why. Everyone needs to try it at least once.
Damascus is a neat little town and there is trout water in every direction. You can't go a half mile without crossing a trout stream. I spent a few days fishing the area. I had hooked and lost more fish than I ever had before. I chalk it up to rust and lack of knowing the area. I was able to bring a few to hand.
With all the changes going on with technology and society it's nice to know some things stay the same. Wherever I fish I seem to have success using the same techniques. It's nice to just not think about what line you have or rod you're using. Just tie on a wooly bugger and let it fly.
Tennesee is less than 3miles from Damascus. We checked out a place called Backbone Rock.
It's a pretty cool site to see and you can hike to the top.
You can see the stream flowing near the road at the bottom. It was one of the prettiest streams I have seen in awhile. I didn't fish it but I wish I had.
Backbone falls is a short hike nearby and it's definitely worth seeing if you're in the area.
It was great having hikes the kids could enjoy and the views are worth the effort.
If you're looking for a family vacation and want some place for fishing, hiking, and biking. I can't think of a better place than Damascus, VA. It has a little something for everyone.