Virginia Creeper Trail – Watauga
Elevation: 1936 ft.
This site’s most prominent feature is the long trestle that leads over a small creek and back 3.7 miles to Abingdon. Going east towards Damascus, the trail crosses Rt. 677 and then River Knobs to where the middle fork and the south fork of the Holston River meet. This is at the upper end of South Holston Lake. From the trestle to Damascus is approximately 11.8 miles. This area of open farmland holds similar birds to those found in Abingdon and in Damascus. Visitors can witness the surrounding fields alive with singing indigo bunting and several species of swallows. The trees lining the trail should be checked during migration for a variety of warblers, vireos, tanagers and grosbeaks.
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. In 2014, the Virginia Creeper Trail was inducted in to the Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame.
Physical Address: 24350 Watauga Road, Abingdon, VA 24211
From the Previous Site on the South Holston Loop of the VBWT:
From the Virginia Creeper Trail parking area in Abingdon, turn right on Greenspring Road and go 0.5 miles to US 58 ALT. Turn left and proceed 0.2 miles under I-81 to SR 75 South. Continue on SR 75 South for 2.6 miles to Rt. 677/Watauga Road. Turn left on Rt. 677/Watauga Road and travel 2.0 miles to the parking area on the left.