The Creeper Trail, Damascus, VA is Perfect for All-Level Cyclists
If you love biking, exercise, fresh air and nature, a gorgeous day out to spend with your loved ones is the Creeper Trail in Damascus, Virginia. Even for an amateur biker like me, it was an easy and pleasant trip that's suitable for children and the elderly as well as adults, young people and serious bikers.
This article gives an account of the trip in August 2014 to the Creeper Trail, and suggestions for where to rent a bike and what to take with you on your adventure.
Damascus is easily reachable by car. We travelled from Johnson City, Tennessee which took just over an hour. You can take your own bikes in your truck or on your car and drive to the top of the mountain yourself, or you can rent a bike from one of the following rental stores.
- Adventure Damascus' Laughing Dog Bicycle Rental: flexible with times, prices and you can choose to either get the shuttle to the top or drive/ride there yourself.
- Shuttle Service Whitetop Bike Rental: can pick you up in several different locations, and provides information for accommodations.
- Blue Blaze Bike and Shuttle: offers several different types of bikes.
- JCs Outdoors: offers mid-week discounts and accepts online reservations.
Because the Creeper Trail is an extremely popular attraction of Damascus, there are countless bike rental shops available. Click here for a larger list of rental shops.
An ideal way to get to Whitetop and start your Creeper Trail adventure is to get a shuttle service to the top along with your bike rental. They pack your bike on the back of the truck and take you up there, which is included in the price. That way, you can start at the beginning of the trail with your bike ready, and your car waiting for you at the bottom.
The road is windy and long up the mountain which can mean a little bit of motion sickness. Take a bottle of water with you in the shuttle, and also take travel sickness tablets if you're susceptible to it.
After you get there, the driver will unload your bike for you, and you'll be good to go.
As someone not very confident on a bike, I was very nervous about the trip, but decided to give it a go. The path is, almost all of the time, wide, straight and with a steady decline. Even as a beginner biker, I felt safe and had a lot of fun riding on the Creeper Trail.
The trail is a 17-mile trip from the top of the mountain back down into Damascus, where you can drop the bike off that you rented. On the trail, you'll see trees, mountains, rivers and bridges - it's a truly beautiful path where you can experience the beauty of Virginia and enjoy the fresh air as you bike to the bottom. You can enjoy the waterfalls and rivers as you travel over the many bridges on the trail, see cliffs and huge trees, and enjoy the freshness of the mountain air.
The trip itself took around three hours, slightly longer as we stopped to eat. If you like to ride fast, it might take less time than that. For us, it was about a perfect amount of time to ride the bikes. As it's mostly downhill, it isn't too exhausting either.
What to Take
As you'll be sitting on a bike for a while, It is suggested that you wear comfortable clothes such as sports gear, sneakers/trainers, and maybe a cap if it's a bright day. If you go to Damascus in the summer, bear inmind it can be very hot and humid, so you will most likely not need a sweater or jacket. Also take with you:
- A packed lunch (there are also plenty of diners in Damascus if you'd prefer to eat a meal after the ride).
- Drinks, such as Gatorade or water. (Laughing Dog rental shop provides a bottle of water, but you could take your own anyway).
- Trail mix, or other snacks.
- Sun cream.
- A baseball cap or sunglasses.
- A small first aid kit (in case someone falls off their bike).
- Bike helmets. Not all of the rental shops provide them.
Although the forest shelters you a lot from the sun, it's a good idea to take sun cream anyway as a precaution.
The Creeper Trail is a truly gorgeous day out. It's fun, exciting, and you can see some beautiful sights whilst getting fresh air and gentle exercise. It's a great day to spend with family, friends or as a couple, and a trip that you'll want to take again and again. If you're in Damascus or planning to stay in nearby areas such as East Tennessee, give the Creeper Trail a go. It's easy, refreshing and fun. You won't be disappointed.