Life Outside Spring 2018 - 42

On the Road

U.S. 58: DAMASCUS TO ABINGDON
Let's have some fun down at the mile-high end of the state.

H

EADING SOUTHEAST FROM the historic but smallish city

of Abingdon, U.S. 58 passes under I-81 and continues for
14 miles into Damascus, a tiny town the Appalachian
Trail Conservancy calls the "friendliest on the trail."
Adjacent to the Mount Rogers National Recreation
Area, with eight local, state and national trails passing
through nearby, and easy A.T. access less than a mile
from downtown, the area offers bountiful opportunity
for outdoor exploration.

HIKE

PAT & CHUCK BLACKLEY

TRAIL TOWN
Damascus will host
Trail Days May 18-20.

South from Damascus on the Appalachian Trail to Backbone
Rock, 7 miles. Start at the town park and follow the white
blazes south to Backbone Rock at the Tennessee border.
Explore the fin-shaped ridge on Holston Mountain
overlooking the bend at Beaver Creek, and the world's
shortest railroad tunnel, which dates to 1901. Continue
for about a mile past the rock, turn right on the Backbone
Rock Trail, descend 2 miles, and catch a shuttle in the
parking lot off state Route 133.
A.T. and Iron Mountain
Trail loop, 4 miles. This
moderate loop begins and
ends in Damascus, and
offers a ridge-top view of
the town. Take 4th Street
east to the Iron Mountain
trailhead and follow the
yellow blazes for about 2
miles. At the sign, turn
onto a brief, blue-blazed
connecting trail, and then
right onto the A.T. Head
south for two miles and
descend the stairway to
U.S. 58. Follow the road
west into Damascus. (For a
longer loop, follow the IMT
for its entirety. 24 miles.)
Climb Mount Rogers, by
way of the A.T., 8 miles.
At 5,728 feet, the peak at
Mount Rogers is the highest
point in the state. To get
there, head east on U.S. 58

42

2016 \\ LifeOutside Magazine

for 18.4 miles and hang a left onto State Route 600. In
2.9 miles, park in the lot at the Elk Garden A.T. crossing.
Follow the A.T. north for about 3.5 miles, then turn left
onto the Mount Rogers Trail, for a half-mile climb to
the wooded the summit.

BIKE
Virginia Creeper Trail, Damascus. Spanning 35 miles, this
Rails to Trails hall-of-famer passes through isolated
mountain forests carrying you along and over various
creeks and the Laurel River. From Abingdon, the trail
winds through downtown Damascus and concludes
at Whitetop Station near the North Carolina border.
Along the way, you'll pass through meadows and magical
rhododendron forests. vacreepertrail.com

RENTAL & SHUTTLE SERVICES
Adventure Damascus, Damascus. This downtown outfitter
offers hiking gear, bike rentals, and shuttle service to
points within 100 miles of town. Rentals start at $17.95.
For hikers, shuttles are $1 per mile. Bikers, $10 to/from
Whitetop or Abingdon. adventuredamascus.com

DINE & DRINK
The Tavern, Abingdon. A German-meets-New-American
local favorite housed in a beautiful historical building
dating to 1789, the oldest in downtown Abingdon. Plates
start around $25. Try the jambalaya, with its spice-hardy
blend of sautéed crayfish, shrimp, bacon, Andouille
sausage, vegetables and rice. abingdontavern.com
The Damascus Brewery, Damascus - This home-town
brewery makes 45 different beers, and keeps eight on
tap. Provides live-music and a hearty dose of local
flavor. We like the tart but gentle Honey Mango Sour.
thedamascusbrewery.com

STAY
Crazy Larry's Hostel, Damascus - If you're looking for
authentic A.T.-culture and/or a place to stay on the
cheap, this is it. Situated on the main strip, it's about
a mile from the A.T. Yard-camping, $30. Rooms, $40.
facebook.com/CrazyLarrysHostel
The Old Mill Inn, Damascus.Overlooking Laurel Creek,
this renovated mill has a working water wheel, and is in
the heart of town. Rooms have an upscale historical bedand-breakfast style feel. Bonus: A fantastic restaurant
+ taproom on-site. From $139. damascusinn.com

-ERIC J. WALLACE


http://www.vacreepertrail.com http://www.adventuredamascus.com http://www.abingdontavern.com http://www.thedamascusbrewery.com http://www.facebook.com/CrazyLarrysHostel http://www.damascusinn.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Spring 2018

Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover1
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover2
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Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover3
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Summer_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2017
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