Creeper Trail Runner's Guide
Runners of all ages and abilities will find something fulfilling on the Creeper Trail. The surface, while substantial enough for bikes, is much softer on the knees than running on pavement. 35 miles of length with multiple trailheads make many different routes possible, both one way and out-and-back.
Mileage is marked on concrete posts that are trailside. There are actually two different marking systems, both accurate but from different starting points. The older one is larger, has a pyramid top, and all numbers are preceeded with an "A". These markers are from when the trail was a railroad and are large enough to be easily seen from a passing train. Unfortunately, many are now in poor state of repair. Mileage begins about a half mile prior to the Abingdon trailhead at the old train depot (present-day Arts Depot).
The newer markers are shorter and are flat on top with a single number facing the trail (no "A"). These begin at the Abingdon trailhead and consequently are .5 miles different than the old train makers. Most runners choose to follow these as they are more consistently placed and easiliy spotted. They are the result of an Eagle Scout project several years ago and continue to be appreciated by trail users.
Races from 5K to marathon length take place on the trail and are organized and promoted by a variety of institutions. If you wish to organize your own such race on the trail, you must contact the municipality that owns the section in question (Abingdon, Damascus, USFS) for permission.
The State of Franklin Track Club in Johnson City, TN organizes the Virginia Creeper Marathon each year, usually in March. The course is USATF certified and is centered on the Watauga Road trailhead. The field is small but always fills well in advance. If you are interested in running this race, it is suggested that you register early.