The specific area is called the Virginia Creeper Trail. We covered the upper 17 mile half. Hardy souls can elect to go another 10 or 15 miles beyond Damascus to Abingdon, VA.
The particular trip that we took started at the little town of Damascus. The Sundog Outfitter guys set us (2 guys, 2 gals...ages 63, 70, 75, and 76 (me)) up with good bikes; helmets (optional); water and directions. The price was right with the gear rental at about $25.00 each.
A bargain in outdoor adventures, IMHO.
To make the Trek do-able for we aging senior citizens, the outfitter takes you by mini-bus to the White Top mountain station, 17 miles away from your final destination. It is at 3,576 feet. Your goal is to ride back to the outfitter's location 1,646 feet below.
The first third of the trip is a gentle, downhill, twisting run through cool, shaded forests. The path is a well packed tiny gravel base, with a few damp spots. Small rocks protrude here and there, but nothing that bothered our comfortable bikes.
The middle third of the run varies between gentle downhill and a few additional flat areas.
At about the 10-mile mark you happily arrive at the tiny town of Taylor's Valley. A fine restaurant awaits, but we were fooled into stopping at the first mini-restaurant that we came to. A definite mistake! When you approach Taylor's Valley, keep going until you see the town itself. There is NO sign to tell you that you are near.
The trail parallels a number of different creeks for most of the run. Dozens of trout fishing areas lie mere feet away. There are nearly 50 trestle bridges on the entire run. We traversed about 30 of them. Much of our run, on a mid-80's degree day, felt cool. The chilly creeks and shaded valleys acted as a natural air-conditioner.
From Taylor's Village to our terminus is approximately 7 miles. That portion was mostly flat, with a few slight rising areas. It is the ONLY place that any of us felt a bit winded. Given our ages, that speaks well to the design of the trail.
All in all, the Virginia Creeper trail is one more life experience that everyone who loves the outdoors should do.