Appalachian Trail Community: Damascus, Virginia

Damascus, a small town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is well known as a "Trail Town" along the A.T. due to the influx of hikers and bikers taking advantage of the beautiful trails this community has to offer. The Trail follows Laurel Avenue right through the heart of Damascus. As they stroll through downtown, A.T. hikers pass by outfitters, bed and breakfasts, town library, grocery stores and many enticing restaurants and shops.

The A.T. is one of many trails intersecting this charming town. The Virginia Creeper Trail, the Trans-America National Bicycle Trail, the Iron Mountain Trail, the Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, the Crooked Road Musical Heritage Trail, and Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail all pass through Damascus along their routes. Damascus also lies within a short distance of hundreds of miles of other hiking, horse, and biking trails and is the gateway to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Thanks to these great assets, Damascus is becoming a major tourist destination for those seeking a way into the wilderness.

In preparation for becoming a designated A.T. Community, Damascus formed an advisory committee out of the Trail Days planning committee that is made up of members from Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club, Town Council, Damascus Planning Commission, Damascus Parks and Recreation and local business owners.

The committee organizes and implements Trail Days, a multi-day festival attracting 4000 hikers and about 15,000 other visitors to Damascus each year. The event offers hiker workshops, hiker services, food, hiking gear vendors and entertainment.

Mt. Rogers A.T. Club is continually working with local schools to provide A.T. educational and service learning projects. They currently work with local teachers implementing their Trail to Every Classroom curriculum and developing a high school outdoors program. The club also support Emory & Henry College tstudents providing service projects on the A.T. and has set up an A.T.l exhibit at a local middle school, highlighting invasive non-native plants that threaten the Trail and other natural areas.

The Virginia Creeper Trail Club recently built a map kiosk in the Town Park. Volunteers worked with ATC to post a map of hiker and visitor services in town, as well as map of the A.T. just north and south of town. Damascus also plans to build a new library and visitors center near the Town Park, adjacent to the A.T., which will be a great resource to hikers and town visitors alike. Visit www.damascus.org for upcoming events and activities. 


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