Go Back  Bike Forums > Community Connections > Regional Discussions > Southeast
Reload this Page >

Virginia Creeper Trail - Nice Ride

Southeast Alabama | Arkansas | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | Louisiana | Mississippi | North Carolina | South Carolina | Tennessee | Virginia

Virginia Creeper Trail - Nice Ride

Old 05-31-19, 12:08 PM
  #1  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
Thread Starter
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,301

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 29 Posts
Virginia Creeper Trail - Nice Ride

I finally found some time to drive up to Virginia and ride the Creeper Trail. The drive from Durham, NC took about 4 hours (including a short stop for lunch) so we (wife and I) arrived early enough in the afternoon to wander around Damascus and Abingdon, two charming towns. Since we had a lot of afternoon left on our arrival day, we decided to ride a bit from the Abingdon terminus to get a feel for the trail. After an interesting chat with the guy at the welcome center, we rode down to a bit past the Watauga Rd parking area and back, passing through mostly farm land with some forested areas. It was great to stretch the old legs a bit after sitting in the car for so long.

Our plan was to take a shuttle from Damascus to the Whitetop terminus the following day and ride back to Damascus, where I would continue the ride toward Abingdon where my wife would meet me with the car. The half hour shuttle ride followed some rather serpentine roads. I'd advise anyone prone to motion sickness to get to the shuttle early to avoid a back seat in the long passenger vans they use. Although I am not prone to that affliction, I still was glad to arrive at Whitetop and start the ride.

The ride from Whitetop to Damascus is almost all downhill with very few flat runs. I can't remember a single uphill section. The grade was slight but persistent and we found ourselves coasting quite a bit. The surface was generally very good; however we encountered (sometimes by surprise) a lot of large rocks that floated up to the surface as well as a few humps and dips. This meant that we rode a bit cautiously averaging somewhere between 10-12 mph. The trail was wide enough to ride two abreast in most places, though when it passed through private land it would narrow down considerably. All other riders that we encountered were friendly and courteous so there were absolutely no issues with passing or being overtaken. Most of the downhill followed the beautiful Whitetop Laurel Creek, which is reputed to be one of the great wild trout fishing streams. There were quite a few folks out wetting their lines.

I have to say that, although it was nice to be assisted by gravity, I got quite bored after a while with so much coasting. After we loaded up my wife's bike in Damascus and I started my ride toward Abingdon, I was able to finally do some pedalling. From Damascus to Alvarado Station is slightly downhill, following the Holston River. From Alvarado north it is generally uphill but the grades aren't bad.

All in all, this was a great ride. The scenery was mostly forested with some areas of farm land. The closeness of the Appalachian Trail was nice as we encountered a lot of folks on that trek. I recommend it to any and all who will be traveling through this area. Also, keep in mind that the New River Trail starts in Galax, just east of the Creeper trail. The NRT is a bit longer, but has some fantastic scenery. Ride the Creeper then do the New River.



Moe Zhoost is offline  
Likes For Moe Zhoost:
Old 05-31-19, 09:40 PM
  #2  
Rje58 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Southeast U.S.
Posts: 274

Bikes: 2011 Fuji Absolute 3.0 -- 1997 Trek 830 (modified to hybrid)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 63 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
Great post and photos! Thank you for sharing your experience. My wife and I are hoping to ride from White Top to Abingdon this fall. How long did it take you to ride from Damascus to Abingdon?
Rje58 is online now  
Old 06-01-19, 06:34 AM
  #3  
Deal4Fuji
Friction Fan
 
Deal4Fuji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,007

Bikes: '82 Fuji Supreme, '84 Team Fuji, '83 Raleigh Olympian, '87 Lotus Excelle, '85 Centurion Ironman, '12 Trek Alpha 1.1, '77 Schwinn Speedster, Schwinn Trailway, Ross Central Park

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 575 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 39 Posts
My daughters & I did that same route Memorial Day of '17 on C&V road bikes with thin tires ! It was a little hairy on the bigger rocks you mention but we made it w/o flats or falls. I'm interested in the New River Trail as a future ride, is it easily found in Galax?
Deal4Fuji is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 06:53 AM
  #4  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
Thread Starter
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,301

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 29 Posts
From Damascus to Abington took me less than 90 minutes. I was riding alone and able to keep my speed up. There are 4-5 places where you have to stop to open a gate, which will slow you down plus I stopped a few times to take some pictures. Half the ride is downhill but the last part rises about 800 feet in 8 miles or so, which calculates out to less than a 2% average grade. It's not a consistent grade though so there are some ups and downs.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Likes For Moe Zhoost:
Old 06-01-19, 07:29 AM
  #5  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
Thread Starter
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,301

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
My daughters & I did that same route Memorial Day of '17 on C&V road bikes with thin tires ! It was a little hairy on the bigger rocks you mention but we made it w/o flats or falls. I'm interested in the New River Trail as a future ride, is it easily found in Galax?
Yes, the southern terminus in Galax is right on US 58 just north of the downtown area. The trail is well marked and the only trouble I had riding was figuring out how to get to the Shot Tower from the trail. I rode alone and my wife met up with me at selected spots. Her experience was a bit frustrating though because cell phone coverage was sketchy and so was satellite GPS plus some of the roads that communicated with stops on the trail were very convoluted narrow mountain roads. Nevertheless we only missed a connection once - she was at one stop and I was at the next.

I'll put in a plug for the Twisted Fork Bistro in Galax, where we had a great meal following our adventure.

Oh, another thing: I rode the NRT in late October. The weather was fantastic; however the leaves had started to fall and in a lot of places completely covered the trail surface. This hid a lot of rocks, sticks, and holes that I would have otherwise avoided. I don't think I hit them all, but I was surprised quite often, primarily because I was gawking at the scenery. I was on my C&V Bianchi that I converted to 650B wheels with wider tires.

Moe Zhoost is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 07:55 AM
  #6  
Deal4Fuji
Friction Fan
 
Deal4Fuji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,007

Bikes: '82 Fuji Supreme, '84 Team Fuji, '83 Raleigh Olympian, '87 Lotus Excelle, '85 Centurion Ironman, '12 Trek Alpha 1.1, '77 Schwinn Speedster, Schwinn Trailway, Ross Central Park

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 575 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 39 Posts
Good tip about the leaves in Oct, I wonder how much more crowded the trail would be in peak leaf changing season before they fall? The BRP sure is - thanks !
Deal4Fuji is offline  
Old 06-04-19, 09:46 AM
  #7  
str8jakett
I pedal in my sleep...
 
str8jakett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Pulaski VA
Posts: 496

Bikes: Giant Propel Advanced Pro 2017, Giant Propel Advanced Pro 2015, Giant TCR Advanced 0 ISP 2008, Cube Cross Race SL 2018

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Yes, the southern terminus in Galax is right on US 58 just north of the downtown area. The trail is well marked and the only trouble I had riding was figuring out how to get to the Shot Tower from the trail. I rode alone and my wife met up with me at selected spots. Her experience was a bit frustrating though because cell phone coverage was sketchy and so was satellite GPS plus some of the roads that communicated with stops on the trail were very convoluted narrow mountain roads. Nevertheless we only missed a connection once - she was at one stop and I was at the next.

I'll put in a plug for the Twisted Fork Bistro in Galax, where we had a great meal following our adventure.

Oh, another thing: I rode the NRT in late October. The weather was fantastic; however the leaves had started to fall and in a lot of places completely covered the trail surface. This hid a lot of rocks, sticks, and holes that I would have otherwise avoided. I don't think I hit them all, but I was surprised quite often, primarily because I was gawking at the scenery. I was on my C&V Bianchi that I converted to 650B wheels with wider tires.
I know that bridge quite well!

Thanks for the ride report and pictures. I've wanted to try out the Creeper Trail for years but didn't have a bike I wanted to ride on it until this year. I live on the Pulaski end of the NRT and ride the first 15 miles as an out and back pretty often but I'd also like to do the full experience at some point.
str8jakett is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 12:06 AM
  #8  
Bill in VA
Senior Member
 
Bill in VA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 240

Bikes: Current: 2016 Bianchi Volpe; 1973 Peugeot UO-8. Past: 1974 Fuji with custom black Imron paint by Stinsman Racing of PA.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
How were the biting bugs like mosquitos? From the looks of it, I thing Sept and early October would be very nice. Did you see much wildlife? I guess I will have to pack a small set of binoculars. Thanks for all the photos..
Bill in VA is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 06:16 AM
  #9  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
Thread Starter
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,301

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji View Post
Good tip about the leaves in Oct, I wonder how much more crowded the trail would be in peak leaf changing season before they fall? The BRP sure is - thanks !
I'm going to do a wild guess and say that it won't be that much more crowded, especially if you ride on a weekday. The trail is long enough and access points remote enough that you may not see many people except within ten miles or so from Galax or Pulaski. I'm not putting any bets down on my guess, though.

Originally Posted by Bill in VA View Post
How were the biting bugs like mosquitos? From the looks of it, I thing Sept and early October would be very nice. Did you see much wildlife? I guess I will have to pack a small set of binoculars. Thanks for all the photos..
Mosquitos were not an issue. Certainly when riding, they can't fly well enough to get to you, but even when stopped they did not seem bad. I usually am more worried about ticks so I always check myself afterwards. The biggest insect issue on the Creeper trail was the large number of butterflies we encountered. They insisted on riding right in front of my wife who then worried about hitting them. I was a bit disappointed about seeing wildlife. Other than a black rat snake on the Creeper trail, we saw nothing. On the NRT, I encountered quite a few deer and there was also a lot of bird life around the river.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 11:44 AM
  #10  
Bill in VA
Senior Member
 
Bill in VA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 240

Bikes: Current: 2016 Bianchi Volpe; 1973 Peugeot UO-8. Past: 1974 Fuji with custom black Imron paint by Stinsman Racing of PA.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
I'm going to do a wild guess and say that it won't be that much more crowded, especially if you ride on a weekday. The trail is long enough and access points remote enough that you may not see many people except within ten miles or so from Galax or Pulaski. I'm not putting any bets down on my guess, though.



Mosquitos were not an issue. Certainly when riding, they can't fly well enough to get to you, but even when stopped they did not seem bad. I usually am more worried about ticks so I always check myself afterwards. The biggest insect issue on the Creeper trail was the large number of butterflies we encountered. They insisted on riding right in front of my wife who then worried about hitting them. I was a bit disappointed about seeing wildlife. Other than a black rat snake on the Creeper trail, we saw nothing. On the NRT, I encountered quite a few deer and there was also a lot of bird life around the river.

That is good. After the mosquitos in early fall on the OBX Pea Island Preserve that will be nice. Those big black OBX mosquitos that come with the land breezes can fly into any headwind, probably catch a cyclist, and bite though any cycling jersey.

Otherwise OBX is Fall cycling heaven.
Bill in VA is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
DubT
Tandem Cycling
4
09-04-12 01:06 PM
Tom Stormcrowe
Southern California
1
02-28-08 08:53 AM
NomadVW
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
3
02-03-08 07:05 AM
sancocho
Road Cycling
4
12-15-07 12:42 PM
teadoggg
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
7
09-20-05 07:25 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.