Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
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Site MSH03: Virginia Creeper Trail - Abingdon
Elevation: 2051 ft. This avian-rich trail begins in Abingdon. Across from the parking area is an information center; behind it to the right sits the Virginia Creeper Engine and tender from which the trail gets its name. Although used for centuries by Native Americans, the trail took on its more recent look just after 1900 when the Virginia — Carolina railroad was built to link Abingdon with Damascus. By 1914 the rail line was extended to Konnarock and Elkland, North Carolina. The railway hauled passengers and supplies into and lumber and iron ore out of the mountains for over 70 years. The Creeper had failed to make a profit since the Great Depression and ran its last train on March 31, 1977. Since the demise of the railroad, efforts by volunteers as well as state and federal governments have been concentrated on developing the trail into its present state as a National Recreational Trail. At its Abingdon launch, the trail winds its way 3.7 miles through woods, fields, and over Great Knobs to the tiny settlement of Watauga. Birders need to be aware of other users, especially cyclists and equestrians along the trail.
From Virginia Highlands Community College, turn right and follow Jonesboro Road to the right where it merges (almost immediately) with US 11 North. After 2.3 miles, turn right on Pecan Street. Continue 0.1 miles, crossing the railroad tracks, and park on the right across the street from the locomotive