Information for Hikers

A note on hiking the Virginia Creeper Trail: don't do it on summer or autumn weekends. The VCT is better for day hikes, short outings of a few miles or even less. Downhill bike traffic on weekends could be distracting to someone seeking a walk in the wilderness. The long-distance hiker might want to wait until a weekday, then do a hike from Damascus up to Whitetop, about 17 miles, then go on for another mile or so to the Creeper Trail Campground. Camping between Abingdon and Damascus would probably be on private land and is not advised. Camping between Damascus and Whitetop may be in a national forest but there are only primitive sites, and in fishing season these tend to be occupied. There are dozens of wilderness hiking trails in the immediate vicinity (see below).

For a description of short hikes in the area, go here: A visitor's Guide to Short Day-hikes

Richard Smith photo

Material below is excerpted from the damascus.org site

Appalachian Trail

The "AT" is a continuously marked trail from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, a distance of about 2200 miles. Damascus is about 450 miles north of Springer and 1750 miles south of Katahdin. The AT blaze goes right down main street .

Iron Mountain Trail - North

The Iron Mountain Trail, now blazed yellow, was part of the Appalachian Trail until 1972, when the AT was relocated to the south.

Iron Mountain Trail - South

From Damascus south the Iron Mountain Trail is about 23 miles long ending near Tennessee Highway 91. This section is designated a footpath only and traverses mostly roadless areas within the Cherokee National Forest. It is clearly blazed but is rugged and less maintained than its northern route. This section is a much better hike for those looking for a wilderness experience.

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

More than 400 miles of trail wind their way through the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, plus 120,000 acres to explore!