Mud, creepers, and other wonderful things.

I absolutely love biking. Particularly when it consists of cruising for 17 miles downhill on a beautiful Virginia mountain, just absorbing the roaring river and muted wonder of the forest. 
My mommy loves taking us on unexpected adventures. This MLK day she drove us up to Virginia to enjoy the Virginia Creeper Biking Trail. 
(In case you were wondering, it isn’t as creepy as it sounds.)

It was a bit chilly, but we still had a blast. We stopped at abandoned restaurants and old-fashioned playgrounds to warm up (When I say old-fashioned playground I mean the ones that were built before safety regulations made all the really fun equipment illegal. You know, the ones where “play at your own risk” signs actually meant that real risk was involved.). Sometimes my sisters and I would chat as we cruised along. Sometimes I would ride ahead and enjoy the sweet solitude of the forest. 
The Creeper Trail is part of a new movement sweeping the U.S. called Rails to Trails. Rails to Trails is a non-profit organization that helps to turn abandoned railway lines into high quality trails. Their goal is to create enough trails so that by 2020 90% of Americans will be living within 3 miles of a trail. 

Why are trails so awesome? Well, first of all they are a beautiful escape to nature. They offer a low-cost no excuses way to get some exercise. Also, trails act as conservation corridors for local eco-systems.

Aside from the more obvious health and environment benefits, trails can be a great thing for whole communities as well. Take for example Damascus VA, where the creeper trail is located. It was a lumber town on an important train route. When the train stopped operating, the economy was set back considerably. Now the VA Creeper Trail has completely revitalized the economy by creating the need for restaurants, shuttle services, bike rent/repair shops, and hotels for tourists and other adventurers. Not only has it helped the town onto its feet again, the trail has become a source of identity and pride for locals. 
Rails to Trails is working on projects all over the country. I say all aboard! 
Here are some photos of other projects: 

Do you have any great trails near you? 

Author: Susanna

I'm Susanna, a 20-year-old Christian girl incorrigibly addicted spontaneous adventures. My first dream was to become a pioneer. Unfortunately, I was born a couple centuries late, so I've decided to read, cook, run, and travel the world until my time machine is finished. You'll mostly likely find me getting into trouble and/or eating licorice. I am currently blogging the misadventures of a middle-school teacher in training. Come join me on my quest to become the next Ms. Frizzle!

11 thoughts on “Mud, creepers, and other wonderful things.”

  1. I have tons of awesome trails near me. I'm not much of a biker, although I do enjoy it, but I love running on trails. During the cross country season, my team and I do a large majority of our long runs on trails and it's a ton of fun. I usually come home dusty and muddy, but who cares? Also, I want to play in an old fashioned playground!


  2. I was kind of squealing while reading this, I actually rode the Creeper Trail. About five years ago, when I was around eight years old. Of course 17 miles killed me back then, but it was really fun! I haven't gone back, though I want to ride the second part! Even though its not downhill…


  3. Where is this program in my life?! I live in a small town in the southwestern states, and if there's one thing we need more of, it's bike trails. And a bookstore, but that's irrelevant… I rode my bike home from my local community college, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy cruising along on my bike. I really hope we get a good trail here soon so I can go cycling with my sisters and friends! Fun pictures, Creeper Trail looks like a really cool place. Do you know how it got it's unusual name, btw?


  4. Hmmm… I hope they make one near you sometime. There are a lot of railroad tracks in the southwest, but I guess they are still using them for trains : ) One of my all time favorite in the whole entire world hikes is the pyraimid trail in Gallup, NM.

    Also – I believe the name came from the old steam train that used to run on the trail. Locals called it the creeper because it crept up the mountian really slowly while loaded with ore and lumber. Also, Virginia Creeper is the name of a flower that grows alongside the trail.


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