“The long distance hiker, a breed set apart,
From the likes of the usual pack.
He’ll shoulder his gear, be hittin’ the trail;
Long gone, long ‘fore he’ll be back.” – M.J. Eberhart
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Damascus, VA – Virginia small towns these days seem to cross our path more frequently than ever. If you ask us, that’s a good thing, since this state has a lot to offer. And seeing how we recently wrote about another small town close to Damascus, called Abingdon, we felt it was time to go back and re-visit this beautiful part of the country.
It is safe to say that those who decide to drive to Damascus, VA will be in the minority. This Virginia small town is cycling and hiking heaven. But, more on that later. For now we’ll just say that this is where seven major trails intersect. And yes – that includes the Goliath of the bunch, which is the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail. So make sure your hiking boots are always close by.
Each Place In The World Is Known For Something
Situated in Washington County, Virginia, Damascus has a population of just under 900. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this place is well known as a Trail Town along the Appalachian Trail. This is due to the frequent influx of bikers and hikers who take advantage of the breathtaking trails in the area.
The Appalachian Trail actually goes parallel to the Laurel Avenue right through the heart of the community. Hikers pass by bed and breakfasts, outfitters, grocery stores, the town library and many shops and restaurants as they stroll through downtown Damascus. And that’s always good for business.
Damascus, VA – Home To The Biggest Hiker Festival In The World
Because of its unique geographical position, Damascus is a community that offers countless outdoor recreational opportunities. In addition to hiking and biking, there are also fishing, golfing and horse riding events, as well as kayaking and hunting. Running goes without saying, but the town is also home to motorcycle events and zip-line adventures.
Interestingly, there is no shortage of summer festivals and celebrations in and around Damascus. The town’s annual hiker festival, called Trail Days, is by far the best known. No surprise there, right? Well, whenever you have more than 20,000 people flocking down to an area, that tends to attract even more visitors. That’s why it’s no surprise Trail Days is considered the biggest hiker festival in the world.
Bikers And Zipline Adventurers – Welcome
Bikers also refer to Damascus as both a destination and a stop along the way to the challenging curves of local roads and highways. And this includes US 421, colloquially known as The Snake. On warm weekends especially, bikers can be seen stopping by and thundering through town in packs. “Three mountains, one valley, 489 curves,” advertises the Shady Valley County Store. This place located just several miles down the road.
The town’s location is right down the hill from Whitetop Mountain. Damascus is connected by the legendary Virginia Creeper Trail to the summit. The exciting Creeper Zipline can be found just towards the top. Several outfitters in Damascus offer advance tickets and shuttle services at just $25 per person. And if this sounds like something you’d like to try during your visit, we definitely recommend it. We also advise you bring a bike on your way up. That way you’ll be able to ride back down on the Virginia Creeper Trail and scratch that off your bucket list!