Damascus, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail (Straight Branch Parking Area)

2 posts ago, I posted our walk from this parking area. Posting from it again today. On my last post, we headed back towards Damascus. Today, we headed towards Taylors Valley.

I had read on multiple sites on the internet that it is only 1.5 miles from Straight Branch to Taylors Valley. After we had been walking for a while, we started smelling food. But, at 2 miles, Taylors Valley seemed to be nowhere in site. We weren’t sure how much further Taylors Valley was, so we turned around and headed back to the car, making this a 4 mile round trip walk.

But, as for this section of the trail, the Appalachian trails runs from this parking area, about 1/10 of a mile up the trail. Not sure if it does all the time, but we saw signs for an Appalachian Trail detour today. We ran across several fishermen today. It’s amazing how far up the river the fishermen will walk for a good spot. As for trestles, we crossed trestles 22 through 26 on this section. A few of the trestles you were able to walk down the bank and under the trestles for river photos.

Here are a few photos from today. Since we saw the twins this past week too, included a photo of each of them.

I usually provide an address for GPS. But, since this parking area is out in the middle of nowhere, I have been providing directions. But, found this address on the internet today. The internet says that Straight Branch Parking Area is “Near 25738 Jeb Stuart Highway, Jefferson National Forest Damascus, VA 24236”. I haven’t used that address myself. But, it might work. If you’d like some detailed directions, you can get them off of my previous post by searching the internet by “ranger annette virginia creeper trail straight branch parking area”.


Steve on Trestle 22



Trestle 23



I’ve been down taking trestle and river photos at Trestle 23



Further down the river, seems to be a good place to swim



Some rapids on the river



Another spot with some rapids



A cool photo with shade and sun



When we were down at the river, ran across this. Almost looks like it could have been from a train, many years ago.



A nice river scene with a mountain in the background


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Sawyer has just arrived. I’m given a hard time because there is a lot of pink on one of the boy’s rattles.


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And while Sawyer was playing, Eli was snoozing!


Bristol, VA – Sugar Hollow Park / Snowman Stampede

The Girls Inc of Bristol Snowman Stampede was our first ever 5K. Heck, any “K”………Yeah, right. Steve and I are not runners. We walk. We hike. That’s the extent of it.

We were invited to participate in this 5K with some friends, one of who was a sponsor. It was frigid. In the 20’s when we arrived early in the morning. Thank goodness there was some sun when you were out in the open. It was barely above 30 by the time we left.

But, if you like to go to Sugar Hollow and get a little mileage in (3 miles to be exact), here is the route that we took.

As for where we parked. When you enter the park, turn right. When you pass the big white house on your right, you will take a right on the next paved road. Go to the end of the road and park. Head back out into the park. Cross the road and go left across the little bridge and follow this trail to the dam. Cross the dam and continue on this trail until you come out of the woods and are arriving at the balls fields / playground area at the lower park. Take the fork to the right. You will then take a right onto the first bridge that you come to and cross the creek, and continue on the trail. Loop back around and cross the other bridge on the other side of the restrooms, then turn right. At the next fork, head right back up into the woods, which brings you back near the entrance of Black Forest Trail. Take a right and backtrack to your vehicle. This is exactly 3 miles.

We basically walked a majority of the pink trail that you see on the bottom right hand portion of this trail map.


Here are a few photos from that cold morning. I included a couple of other unrelated photos. We put our tree up this week, and our little Chloe claimed her normal spot. Then, we had some amazing sunrises this week.

Address for GPS: 3600 Lee Highway, Bristol, VA


Entrance to Sugar Hollow



The folks that are going to run



Steve # 53. I’m 100% positive we came in last place.



Getting ready to cross the dam. Look at all of that frost.



After passing Black Forest Trail, a nice little clearing



We have made it our first mile of our first “run”



The creek and one of the bridges at the lower part of the park



Passing back by the “Black Forest”



We just put up our tree, and Chloe has claimed her spot


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One of our amazing sunrises this past week


Damascus, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail (Straight Branch Parking Area)

I documented this as “Damascus, VA”, but the Straight Branch parking area might officially be in Taylor, VA. I don’t know how many are familiar with Taylor, VA (not me), so decided to just call it Damascus. This parking area is used by hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and fishermen. This particular parking area has a pit toilet.

We are working on walking the entire Virginia Creeper Trail a 2nd time. Our next section of the trail was to park here and head a couple of miles back towards Damascus. And today’s walk was amazing. We’ve been having alot of rain lately, so the river was really rumbling today. I’ve never seen the rapids as intense as they were today.

As we were walking the trail, we came across a curve where the trail was going to curve to the right and take us away from the river. Noticed a little trail off to the left. We took this trail and walked by the river and got some really good river shots. When we walked around the bend, the path shot back up to the creeper trail at testle # 21. After we crossed trestle 21, we shortly came across some even more amazing rapids. After shooting several shots here (that were kind of hard to get because of tree limbs / branches), we headed on. You eventually come to where Hwy 58 is just right across the river. We walked approximately 2 miles towards Damascus, making it a 4 mile round trip walk. We turned around where there are railroad ties lying beside the trail.

Here are a few photos from today. We’ve had a few visits with the twins since our last walk, so included a few of them.

Directions to Straight Branch from Damascus: Follow US 58E out of Damascus. Shortly after you leave Damascus, 58 cuts off to the left. Follow 58 for approximately 4 to 5 miles.


Steve along the river



And me on the trail



Here’s where to watch for the trail off to the left to get some good river photos



The raging river



Coming back up onto the trail at Trestle # 21



Another part of the raging river right below Trestle 21



Finally, some sun!



Some water coming out of the woods over this rock formation



If you want to make this a nice 4 mile round trip walk, this is the perfect spot to turn around



Hwy 58 across the river


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Auntie Astaire came to visit from the Chicago area. She brought the boys Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox outfits.


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Eli with Great Nanny


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Sawyer is always so happy!




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