Virginia Creeper Trail Bouldering Climbing
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|Shared By:||Aaron Parlier on Feb 14, 2011|
|Admins:||Aaron Parlier, Jake Jones, Shawn Heath|
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DescriptionThe Virginia Creeper Trail shouldn't be considered a destination just for bouldering.
It should be considered a destination in which you can do a ton of fantastic outdoor activities, and get in some fun bouldering on the side...
The Virginia Creeper is a 34 mile long family bike trail that runs from Abingdon VA through an fun little mountain town called Damascus, along the Whitetop Laurel River, and up to its highest point called Whitetop Station near the NC State Line.
Most commonly people start At Whitetop Station and ride 16 miles downhill, ending in Damascus, which is how I will describe all of the bouldering on this page.
The VA Creeper Trail used to be an old mountain railroad (up until 1977 even) and the trail now runs along the majority of the old rail road bed. The trail is very wide, well maintained, graveled, and all down hill from Whitetop to Abingdon. It's most fantastic features are the trestles you cross (47 of them if you ride all the way to Abingdon from Whitetop Station). The train used to be double headed meaning it had two engines, one in the front, and one in the back so it could deliver its products going to and from its mountain destinations without much of a hassle. The trail gets its name from the slow pace the train had to go while creeping up the mountain slopes.
Damascus is home to several delicious mom and pop style restaurants (I highly recommend "Whistle Pig Bistro" and also dont miss out on delicious coffee drinks at "Mojo's Trailside Coffee House" while youre there), little outdoor shops, year round yard sells, and it has easy access to the Appalachian Trail as well (the Trail Days festival is held here annually). The Creeper Trail is a favorite place for many folks to trail run, and there are several races held here annually. The White Top Laurel also has blue ribbon fly fishing and the whole area is renowned for its trout angling opportunities. There is also awesome canoeing and kayaking in the Damascus area on the Whitetop Laural and the South Fork of the Holston... Damascus is just a nice place to be (not to mention you are super close to Grayson Highlands State Park).
Now for the bouldering; there isn't much, but if youre out for a day of bike riding, hiking, or trail running throw a pair of shoes and a chalkbag in your pack and you will have fun. Several of the boulders and problems I've listed dont really require a crashpad and the landings are ideal, but there are others that definitely do. Depending on how serious about the bouldering you are will warrant whether or not you bike in a pad.
Here is a link to a cool video that HighCountryAdventure put together that showcases bouldering, biking, and canoeing Damascus all in one short film. The video has Eric Crews bouldering on the Virginia Creeper Boulder at about 1min 15sec into the video. Eric does the stand start to the "Trail Magic Arete" (V1)barefooted. Check it out and get stoked on Damascus!
I have oriented the boulders as they come on the trail downhill coming from Whitetop Station. Each of the major trestles along the Creeper are numbered. The first bouldering spot comes after Trestle #44. I listed the trestle number that corresponds with the boulder near it. It seems pretty straight forward to me, but please let me know if its confusing.
-Note and disclaimer- I am fully aware that several boulders along this trail have been bouldered on for quite some time and that I havent done the FA. I have not and will not claim any FA that I didnt scrub to uncover holds... I did name them, and if you will just message me and tell me the name you have for any FA you have done, please please do so! Photos too!!
If you need help with the bike riding, ask any of the helpful retail stores nearby and they will help you on the spot... If you want more help on the bouldering, feel free to ask me!! The dudes in the outdoor shops arent much help in the bouldering neighborhood, but if you want help with biking, hiking, or any other facet of outdoor-isms then they're experts!!!
Getting ThereTraveling I-81 South: Get off exit 29, Glade Spring/Damascus. Turn LEFT off the exit ramp, go 1/10 mile to stop sign, continue straight at stop sign onto VA Rt 91South. Continue straight 12 miles, come into Damascus(look for red caboose for parking nearby and trail launch point).
Traveling I-81 North: Get off exit 19, turn RIGHT off exit ramp, through light and continue straight on US 58 East for 10.3 miles (look for red caboose for parking nearby and trail launch point).
From Charlotte, NC/I-77 : Take US421 off I-77 to Boone, NC. Stay on US 421 through Boone to Mountain City, TN. In Mtn City, pass Hardees, take the right at stop light across from log cabin information center onto US 91 North. Continue on US 91 North to Damascus. Turn left onto Laurel Ave (the main street and follow main until you see the red caboose. look for parking and trailhead).
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