The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 35-mile multi-purpose rail trail in southwestern Virginia from Abingdon, to the North Carolina state line near Whitetop, Virginia. It runs along a right-of-way that started in the 1880's as the Abingdon Coal and Iron Railroad Company.
After spending thousands of dollars without opening, the railroad company was broke. In the early 1890's the company's assets were bought by the Virginia Western Coal & Iron Railroad Company. It too had trouble and its assets were purchased by the Virginia-Carolina Railroad Company.
In February 1900, the Virginia-Carolina Railroad Company rolled into Damascus, Virginia ready for business. By 1912, the railroad was extended to Whitetop and by the end of the decade to Elkland, North Carolina (now named Todd).
In 1956 the last steam engine was retired from the line and replaced with diesel powered engines. By 1974, the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line. In 1977 hard rains flooded and damaged most of the track and it was left unrepaired.
In 1977 removal of the track began and the land in Virginia was secured by the US Forest Service for a recreation trail. The land in North Carolina was returned to the land owners.
Current efforts to secure the easements in North Carolina to continue the Virginia Creeper Trail to Lansing, North Carolina are stalled.
A rare 4-8-0 steam engine, one of a handful that still survives, is on display at the trailhead in Abingdon.