View Full Version : Grayson Highlands and Virginia Creeper Question

07-11-2018, 12:38
I'm planning on hiking south from Fox Creek to Damascus next week starting Thursday and finishing early Sunday.

Which is a better hike after passing Saunders shelter, continuing on the At or taking the Creeper? I see where it crosses some trestles so that looks neat.

Are there decent camping spots from there till Damascus? I'll be using my hammock.

Night Train
07-11-2018, 12:47
"Better hike".......subjective to a multitude of opinion. Flip a coin, and enjoy your hike.

Gambit McCrae
07-11-2018, 12:52
Take the creeper...There is nowhere that I recall tenting after the AT hits the Creeper.

The trail comes out of the woods onto the creeper which is traveled for a decent road walk on the creeper, then jumps back onto the AT for the remainder of distance back to Damascus. All you do is climb a PUD on the AT before dropping right back down to Damascus. When I went thru this stretch, my friend was having knee issues, and took the Creeper on into Damascus from the point where it meets US 58.

If I hike that stretch again, I will walk the creeper from the time you drop down from Saunders shelter to when you get to Damascus.

Lone Wolf
07-11-2018, 13:01
creeper for sure

07-11-2018, 13:20
Can't go wrong either way.

What's the latest on the trouble bear up there?

07-11-2018, 14:01
Can't go wrong either way.

What's the latest on the trouble bear up there?

Bear Warning - Mt. Rogers High Country
(Revised 6/29/2018) Bears have repeatedly taken hiker food in this area. Food has been stolen that was hung high in trees. If you plan to camp in the High Country, especially between Elk Garden/ VA-600 (mile 494.3) and Fox Creek/ VA-603 (mile 511.3), please: carry and store your food in a bear canister OR camp ONLY where bear-resistant overnight food storage facilities are provided. Food storage boxes or areas protected by temporary electric fencing have been installed at these sites:

• Thomas Knob Shelter (mile 498.5)
• Rhododendron Gap (mile 499.5)
• Wise Shelter (mile 503.6)

Camping without a bear canister between Elk Garden and Fox Creek is not recommended, except at the sites listed above. For a flier with map, click here (http://appalachiantrail.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/thomas-knob-bear-sign-2018-6-28.pdf?sfvrsn=4bf586a0_0).

This was on the ATC site. I really didn't want to carry my bear canister as it is just me and I was looking to travel as light as possible.

Dan Roper
07-11-2018, 18:53
The trail crosses at least one Creeper trestle, so you'll get that experience whether you stick strictly to the AT or not.

I prefer sticking to the AT rather than the Creeper. There's a decent amount of bike traffic on the Creeper, especially on weekends. That and the flatness can get pretty monotonous. The AT climbs and eventually descends Feathercamp Ridge as you near Damascus. It's not a bad stretch of highland woods. But it's pretty much just that - highland woods.

07-11-2018, 20:32
Creeper is nice, we did the AT from Straight Branch (where you come down off the mountain that includes Saunders Sh.) once and that was enough. Done the Creeper dozens of times. We often walk the Creeper all the way from the Hassenger bridge where the AT joins it for a short stretch.

Re: camping: there are some sites right near where you come down to the Creeper Trail from Saunders, but once you get past the Straight Branch parking area it gets slim for sites, and then it's private property for the last stretch. Hammock makes it a lot easier, plenty of trees.

If you don't stay at Saunders, come down the steep descent to the Creeper, and look around the trestle bridges, there are often good campsites right in the woods. We stayed at the first one and found a nice site. Also, don't miss the Creeper Trail Cafe, a half mile back on the VCT in the small community of Taylor's Valley. Not open late, but good burgers and ice cream.

07-12-2018, 00:14
Prefer mostly the Creeper. There's a campsite under one of the impressive old railroad trestles.

07-12-2018, 07:34
I donít think Iíd want to hike the Creeper on a weekend, especially going southbound. There will be dozens of bicycles approaching you from behind.

07-12-2018, 09:07
You mean dozens at a time.

07-12-2018, 09:59
I donít think Iíd want to hike the Creeper on a weekend, especially going southbound. There will be dozens of bicycles approaching you from behind.

the stories the guy from the outfitter told me about cycle crashes while he was shuttling me would cause me to give that trail a rather wide berth when there are a lot of cyclists on it.

be especially aware of tandem bicycles.