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Then & Now

Damascus VA is the unofficial hub of everything going on with the Creeper Trail and the Appalachian trail in this area. The Creeper Trail and the Appalachian trail cross several times as it comes down from Whitetop and Mt Rogers.

Damascus was the first main stop on the Abingdon Branch. From here the train would bring out lumber from Shady Valley, Hassinger Lumber and deliver coal to the forge at Laurel Bloomery.

The photo to the right shows Back Bone Rock after the track was taken up. The story goes that when they surveyed and measured for this 'tunnel', the engineer did not allow for the height of the rails and ballast. That explains the notch at the top for the smoke stack at the top of the arch.

Today Damascus welcomes visitors from all over the world to enjoy the creeper trail. Visitor come to the trail for hiking, mountain biking and horseback ridding, not to mention fly fly fishing in Whitetop Laurel Creek and nearby streams and rivers.

There are several bike shuttle services in Damascus that will ferry you and your bike to Whitetop or Abingdon for your ride back to Damascus. Many riders park at any of the several parking lots along the trail and ride out and back from their car. No matter what your preference is the trail is a good way to get away from it all, even if it is just for a little while.

photos used by permission from Norfolk Southern Archives
Header photograph is an aerial of Damascus, VA