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Damascus, Taylor’s Valley
Situated in the rugged, rustic region of southwest Virginia, Damascus offers an abundance of natural beauty and nature mixed in with plenty of activities and attractions for the entire family.
Scenic views of the mountains, a maturing forest and unspoiled natural streams all meld harmoniously with the environment to create a unique "sense of place" for residents and visitors alike.
Known as "Trail Town, USA," Damascus has been called the "friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail." The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with five trails intersecting in the town's center. And while the town has plenty of other diverse interests, it is the natural world and legacy of the nature that has the most influence on visitors.
Nearly surrounded by the Jefferson and Cherokee National Forests, the community attracts thousands of mountain bikers, hikers, swimmers, hunters, anglers and anyone else who simply wants to return to a day when the small-town lifestyle thrived.
The area embodies the definition of "eco-tourism," a location that fosters environmental understanding, appreciation and conservation while simultaneously sustaining the culture and well-being of local residents. Many activities in the town are designed to promote environmental awareness and education.
Historically, Damascus was a huge lumber-producing area. With unlimited resources of virgin oak, chestnut, pine and poplar, the nearby mountains were stripped of their forest cover beginning in the late 1800s. The National Lumber Magazine reported in 1912 that Washington County produced more lumber than the entire state of Pennsylvania, mainly from the Damascus area.
This lumber boom lasted for more than 25 years. By that time the United States Forest Service was created in an effort to conserve and restore forest resources. As a result, most of the land around the Damascus area was acquired by the federal government.
One of the highlights of the Damascus and Taylor's Valley region is the Creeper Trail. It is a shared-use trail connecting Abingdon, Va., with the Virginia-North Carolina border 1.1 miles east of Whitetop Station, Va. The total length of the trail is 33.4 miles.
The Virginia Creeper can get pretty crowded during busy summer weekends and, while most visitors are just out to enjoy themselves, a few, much needed, simple rules have proven necessary to protect the environment and to make sure everybody has a safe and good time.
The most popular trip on the Creeper is the 17-mile downhill ride from Whitetop Station to downtown Damascus. Everyone from the grand kids to grandma can make this trip if they are comfortable riding a bike. Most kids are so proud of themselves for having pedaled 17-miles they can't wait to go again.
To begin this trip, visitors must first make reservations with one of the shuttle services in Damascus. These services ferry riders to Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Reservations for riders are especially recommended d...
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