General Cycling Discussion - Virginia Creeper trail Laughing Dog shuttle anyone?
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10-04-12, 08:21 AM
Has anyone taken the Laughing Dog shuttle up and ridden the Virginia Creeper trail down in Damascus, VA? My wife found out about this and it sounds pretty neat. Hybrid bikes OK? Was it awesome?
The Creeper Trail is really nice.
I rode up to the top from Damascus, 15 miles and 1300 feet of climbing. It's an old railroad grade, so there's no steep grades. But some of it is a 3% grade, fairly hard work on gravel.
Here's someone's GPS recording:
Here's some photos I took (from a cheap disposable camera) from Oct 2005:
picasaweb.google.com/103436944864479663248/CreeperTrailOct2005# (https://picasaweb.google.com/103436944864479663248/CreeperTrailOct2005#) Click the slideshow button.
Riding up to the top and back is really nice. I'm going slow and get a chance to see all the scenery, and I hear the creek's rapids nearby for much of the ride. And there's so many good places to stop and admire the view, so I take my time. There's a lot of bridge crossings, whitewater, balsam and rhododendron forest, and mountain views.
On the return trip, it feels like I could just coast all the way down, but there's sections that are flat enough to need some easy pedaling.
I haven't been there for a while. Most of the trail is hard packed, but a few parts had somewhat loose gravel or sand. I was riding a mountain bike.
The other half of the Creeper trail goes from Abingdon to Damascus. It's not up in the mountains, and not as scenic.
Abingdon VA is a historic town, with lots of interesting architecture. It's worth a visit, too.
10-04-12, 09:25 AM
A hybrid bike will be fine. I've seen people doing it with road bikes.
I've done it on a touring bike (32 tires), and didn't have any problem when it was dry. Couple sketchy parts right after a rain. The fat mountain bike tires float over it all.
No experience with the shuttle; there's a couple of outfits in Damascus that'll take you up to Whitetop and let you coast down. Be sure you look for the bear (that went over the mountain) between Green Cove and Taylors Valley.
IMHO, the whole route is beautiful in both directions except for the leg up from South Holston Lake to Abingdon. Mid-May is perhaps the best (rhododendrons in bloom in downtown Damascus), followed by October and the leaves.
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