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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Hiking through Damascus

    I have always heard great things about Damascus VA and I am planning on doing a section hike right through it at the end of June. Just wondering from those that are more familiar with the town where do you recommend staying, doing laundry, grabbing a shower, eating, and resupplying?

    Is there anything else I should do while passing through?

    I am planning on hiking from Watauga Dam to Massie Gap and staying one night in Damascus. Feel free to leave any other tips or things to look for on this section of the AT. (I am familiar with Grayson Highlands but the rest of the trial will be new to me)

    Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom and recommendations!
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    I am going to give this a bump and see if there aren't a few recommendations out there.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

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    Doctari's Avatar
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    That is one of my favorite sections of the AT so far (I've done Springer to Atkins VA)!
    LOTS of hanging locations along there. There is a spring about 5 miles after the Watauga Lake shelter, GET WATER THERE!!!! It is a bit of a challenge to carry a bunch of water up the hill to the Vandyventer shelter, but not nearly as tough as the descent & climb to the water source at Vandy!! About 5.5 miles after that spring is a stream or a spring, I don't remember which, so not that bad (3.8 from the shelter) a distance between water.
    Be sure to go behind the Vandy shelter for the View, Yea, it is "Killer"!

    I'm sure you have heard other hikers say: It's all downhill from here! Well, for the most part, it is from the Vandy to Damascus. Or what I call "Hiker downhill" LOL.

    The final descent into Damascus gets kind of steep, AND you are motivated by arrival at town, so take it easy there & don't rush! I did, had to take an extra day of in town cause I stressed my knees, I was NOT happy!

    The Town of Damascus,,,,, I plan on retiring there!!! It has EVERYTHING a hiker would want: Easy supply, food, lodging, food, great people, food, and; did I mention food? Well they got lots of it. I suggest at least one burger from Dot's & the fried chicken from Cowboy's is fantastic!

    Due to the above mentioned knee problem, I had to take the Virginia Creeper trail out of town & bypassed the area leading to & from the Saunder's shelter. But after the VC & the AT meet again, There is some Great hiking. The area around & behind the Lost Mt Shelter has a lot of hanging sites & a decent water source.

    A few miles later, is when the Grayson highlands open up & the views start in earnest. Not much right around Thomas knob shelter for hanging, but about 1 to 1.5 miles past is Rhododendron Gap, with quite a few trees. Shortly after that is Massie Gap. Water for Thomas knob is behind the shelter in a fenced in area. There are (sort of) 2 privy's at Thomas, one abandoned & the new one, just so you know as the old one is right on the trail, the new one is somewhat hidden.

    IF you have the time, I suggest continuing on the AT past Massie gap, & go to the Wise shelter. Just past the wise (about 1/2 mile) you cross a small road, take a right & cross the river again, follow that road to the campground in Grayson highlands & go right on the paved road about (just a guess, never measured it, sorry) one mile to the hikers parking lot for Massie. Trust me, the views are worth it,,,, well, if the weather is nice.


    Have a great hike!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, youre home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

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    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Dot's has cold (almost) beer. What else do you need?
    Trust nobody!

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    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Great info! Thanks. Do you recommend any particular place to spend the night in Damascus?

    As long as the cold beer is craft than that is all I will need.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

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    Senior Member affreeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yosef View Post
    Do you recommend any particular place to spend the night in Damascus?
    When I went through Damascus on my thru-hike in '09, I stayed at the Hike Inn. Suzanne, the woman who owned and ran the place at the time, has since sold it, but I understand the new owners continue to run it.
    ~
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    We stayed at the RV park in Damascus. Went up to bike the Virginia Creeper. The camper was literally 10 feet from the Virginia Creeper trail. A rooster was crowing from the fence post behind the camper. They got rid of it after I suggested chicken soup for dinner.

    I will have to get up to Mount Rogers for a hang. Damascus rocks. Had I been there in younger years, I may have never left.

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    eagleJ's Avatar
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    I would probably start at US 321 at Hampton TN, it's a lot easier to find and get to than the Dam. If you need some shuttle # just send me a PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eagleJ View Post
    I would probably start at US 321 at Hampton TN, it's a lot easier to find and get to than the Dam. If you need some shuttle # just send me a PM.
    Thanks EagleJ. I have a shuttle lined up for now but they are expecting a new baby fairly close to the date of my trip so that could fall through pretty quick.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

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    Doctari's Avatar
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    I've only stayed at The Place & the Traildays Only Campground.
    The Place is cheap ($5.00) but no mattresses on the beds. 3 showers, 1 hot water heater. Is close to about everything, at least mostly centrally located. The laundromat is about a 10 minute walk & is not far from Dot's or Cowboys, so you can get food while you wash your clothes.
    There are NO motels or hotels IN Damascus, but quite a few B&Bs & Abingdon is not that far of a hitch from town with at least one decent motel (a Red Roof I think) across the street from my favorite Pizza Place.
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, youre home.
    PAIN is INEVITABLE. MISERY is OPTIONAL.

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