It's called "the best rail-trail in the east" and "among the best in the U.S.," and I'll bike to that.
It was mid-fall when practically all the leaves are down, and those remaining are not real bright but mostly browns and dull oranges without those flashy yellows and reds you associate with this time of year, but we weren't beholden to leaves anyway since it was the ride down Whitetop that took us there, and it was gorgeous even without much color.
It's not only ice which forces both hands on the handle bars, but look out for large rocks, too, and keep your eyes on the path or you might wind up underneath one of the bridges like the recent rider who missed a bridge entrance, careened down the ravine into the creek, cracked her skull, and had to be airlifted out, but she's okay now, our shuttle bus driver on oxygen, who lifted all 14 bikes off the rack, told us.
Along the way maps on plaques describe the history of the area including information about one area surveyor named Peter Jefferson, the father of the president.
This is a ride made for those who enjoy scenics and chatting along the way. It was a glorious afternoon made gloriouser by the sounds of rushing water from the adjoining creek which followed us most of the way down Virginia Creeper.
Bikes are available for rent throughout Damascus, a biker's vacation dream spot with lots of big vans and racks to cart riders and bikes up to Whitetop on a 30-minute shuttle ride before riders embark on the downhill slope. Damascus has plenty of free nearby parking.
What: The Virginia Creeper Trail
When: Bike all year, seven days a week
Where: Damascus, Virginia ("Trail Town USA")