Things to Do in Damascus, VA: Exploring the Gem of the Appalachian Trail

Things to Do in Damascus, VA
Things to Do in Damascus, VA

Nestled within the breathtaking beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, Damascus, VA, stands as a hidden gem offering an array of captivating experiences. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or someone seeking a peaceful getaway, this quaint town has something for everyone. Explore the charm of Damascus and indulge in an array of activities that showcase its natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality.

Things to Do in Damascus, VA

1. Biking the Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a must-visit for biking enthusiasts. Rent a bike and embark on a scenic journey through lush landscapes, charming small towns, and old railroad trestles. The trail offers both a relaxing ride for beginners and challenging paths for experienced bikers.

2. Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Damascus is famously known as the “Friendliest Town on the Appalachian Trail.” Lace up your hiking boots and trek a portion of this iconic trail. The stunning vistas and camaraderie among fellow hikers make for an unforgettable adventure.

3. Camping in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by camping in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Enjoy stargazing, hiking, and picnicking amidst picturesque landscapes. The soothing sounds of nature will lull you to sleep under the stars.

4. Exploring Backbone Rock Recreation Area

Discover the impressive Backbone Rock, a natural tunnel carved through a massive rock formation. Explore the trails and enjoy a refreshing dip in the cool waters of Backbone Falls.

5. Damascus Farmers Market

Experience the local culture by visiting the Damascus Farmers Market. Sample fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and delicious treats. Interact with locals and get a taste of authentic Appalachian life.

6. Attend the Trail Days Festival

If you’re visiting in May, don’t miss the famous Trail Days Festival. Join hikers from around the world for live music, food vendors, and outdoor gear exhibitions. It’s a celebration of the hiking community and its adventurous spirit.

7. Visit the William King Museum of Art

For a cultural experience, head to the nearby William King Museum of Art. Explore a diverse collection of regional and contemporary art, including captivating exhibitions and engaging workshops.

8. Paddle the South Holston Lake

Engage in water sports by paddling the South Holston Lake. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and navigate the pristine waters while enjoying the stunning surroundings.

9. Horseback Riding Adventures

Discover the beauty of Damascus on horseback. Join guided trail rides that offer a unique perspective of the landscape and let you connect with nature in a new and exciting way.

10. Shopping on Laurel Avenue

Take a leisurely stroll down Laurel Avenue and explore charming boutiques, antique shops, and galleries. Find unique souvenirs and support local businesses.

11. Explore Mount Jefferson State Park

Just a short drive away, Mount Jefferson State Park offers panoramic views, hiking trails, and a chance to spot diverse wildlife. Pack a picnic and enjoy the vistas from the summit.

12. Photographing the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery

Indulge in a leisurely afternoon of wine tasting and photography at the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery. Capture the vineyard’s beauty while savoring their exquisite wines.

13. Dining at Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee House

Fuel up at Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee House, a local favorite known for its delicious breakfast options, artisanal coffee, and cozy atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to start your day.

14. Catch a Live Performance at the Damascus Old Mill

Experience live music, theater productions, and cultural events at the Damascus Old Mill. Check their schedule for upcoming performances that highlight the region’s talent.

15. Fishing in Whitetop Laurel Creek

Cast your line and enjoy a serene fishing experience in Whitetop Laurel Creek. This crystal-clear creek is known for its trout fishing, making it a favorite spot for anglers.

16. Attend a Workshop at Damascus Forge

Unleash your creative side by attending a blacksmithing workshop at Damascus Forge. Craft your own unique piece while learning traditional forging techniques.

17. Learn About Civil War History at Saltville Battlefields Historic District

Delve into history at the Saltville Battlefields Historic District. Explore preserved Civil War battlefields and learn about the significance of the area during the war.

18. Mountain Musings: Poetry and Music Festival

If you’re a fan of arts and culture, the Mountain Musings Festival is a treat. Enjoy live performances, workshops, and presentations that celebrate the literary and musical heritage of the region.

19. Relaxation at Healing Waters Lavender Farm

Indulge in tranquility at the Healing Waters Lavender Farm. Roam through fragrant lavender fields, learn about essential oils, and purchase soothing lavender products.

20. Volunteer for Trail Maintenance

Give back to the hiking community by volunteering for trail maintenance. Help preserve the natural beauty of the Appalachian Trail for generations to come.


Q: When is the best time to visit Damascus, VA?

A: The ideal time to visit is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are in full swing.

Q: Are there accommodations available for hikers?

A: Yes, Damascus offers a range of accommodations, including hostels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds catering to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Q: Can I explore the Appalachian Trail for a day hike?

A: Absolutely! There are numerous access points to the Appalachian Trail, allowing for short day hikes with breathtaking views.

Q: Are pets allowed on the Virginia Creeper Trail?

A: Yes, leashed pets are welcome on the Virginia Creeper Trail, making it a perfect outing for the whole family.

Q: How can I get involved in the Trail Days Festival?

A: If you’re a hiker, you’re automatically part of the Trail Days Festival. Attend events, join discussions, and celebrate the hiking community.

Q: What should I bring for camping in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area?

A: Pack essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, and clothing suitable for changing weather conditions.


Damascus, VA, stands as a testament to the beauty of nature, the warmth of community, and the richness of history. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a peaceful escape, this charming town offers an abundance of things to do. Immerse yourself in the splendor of the Appalachian Mountains and create memories that will last a lifetime.

trevor harvi

Trevor Harvi is an experienced digital marketer and writer with over a decade of experience in writing and marketing for startups. Trevor also runs his own business as a freelance editor and virtual assistant for other business owners.