The Virginia Creeper Trail, a hiking, biking and equestrian Rails to Trails project along a former rail route, stretches a little more than 33 miles from Abingdon to Whitetop Station a mile past Damascus in southwest Virginia. The paved and gravel path winds through wooded areas and crosses multiple railroad trestles. Most of the camping, including U.S. Forest Service backcountry sites, is at the Damascus end of the trail.
The Virginia Creeper Trail is near Virginia’s border with Tennessee.
Virginia Backcountry (virginiabackcountry.com) is a complex with a private entrance to the Mount Rogers Recreational Area at the Damascus end of the trail. The campground has four miles of trails, including a 1.5-mile mountain bike trail and a birding trail. Two- and four-hour equestrian trail rides for up to four campers begin with a safety briefing. Virginia Backcountry has six primitive campsites and the BOMA, a covered shelter for group camping. Canvas-sided lodges have wooden roofs, private bathrooms and standard beds. The company also rents a cabin at the Abingdon end of the trail.
Creeper Trail Campground
Creeper Trail Campground (creepertrailcampground.com) at the eastern terminus of the trail offers secluded tent sites with fire rings and picnic tables, and RV sites with electric and water hookups. The campground provides hay, stables and hitching posts for equestrian campers’ horses. A bathhouse has hot showers and the camp store sells the basics. The campground provides access to the Appalachian Trail and the Mount Rogers Recreation Area hiking trails, in addition to the Virginia Creeper Trail a short walk away.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (fs.usda.gov), part of the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forest, covers 200,000 acres surrounding the eastern end of the trail. The park includes the 5,000-acre Crest Zone with elevations above 4,000 feet, herds of wild ponies and a 50-mile scenic highway. Mount Rogers has backcountry camping, seven developed campgrounds and four equestrian camps. The Beartree Recreation Area campground, a favorite of tent campers, has primitive sites without hookups. Hidden in the trees beside a rocky mountain stream, Hurricane Campground has sites with tent pads and fire rings.
Callebs Cove Campground
Callebs Cove Campground (callebscovecampground.com) southeast of Abingdon covers 12 acres on South Holston Lake’s southern shore. The gated campground offers shaded and sunny sites with full hookups, some on the waterfront, and a wooded primitive tent camping area. Amenities include a swimming pool, a bathhouse, a playground and sports courts. Local shuttle service covers the three-mile distance between the campground and the Virginia Creeper Trail. Campers should expect a NASCAR race crowd when nearby Bristol Motor Speedway is holding events.
- Virginia Creeper Trail Club
- Creeper Trail Campground: Campground
- Creeper Trail Campground: Events
- USDA Forest Service: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
- USDA Forest Service: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area: Beartree Recreation Area
- USDA Forest Service: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area: Hurricane Campground
- USDA Forest Service: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forest: Dispersed Camping
- Callebs Cove Campground: Information
- Callebs Cove Campground: Local Events
- Callebs Cove Campground: Photos
- Bristol Motor Speedway Events Calendar
- Virginia Creeper Trail: Maps and GPS Coordinates
- Virginia Creeper Trail: Campgrounds in the Damascus Area
- Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images