For those of you interested in the natural world found along the trail,
an indispensable book is The Virginia Creeper Trail Companion.
It is compact, well-written, thoroughly researched, and costs around $10.
It can be purchased at local bike shops or on the net.


Radford University School of Geology field trip

"This stop is an excellent example of "walking through time" (this is stuff that H.G. Wells would dig!). We will begin in the lower Mount Rogers Formation, cross into the Konnarock Formation, and then the Unicoi Formation. We will cross a fault (the Catface Fault) which cuts off the lower part of the Konnarock and the main rhyolite sequence of the upper Mount Rogers Formation making the geologic section incomplete. However, we will see enough here to get a true feel for how the environment and tectonic setting changed. The walk from the south end to the north end of the outcrop will span nearly 200 million years!!!" More

Photo from Radford University School of Geology
Radford University field trip


Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries

"At the Whitetop Laurel Fishing and Viewing Area, the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail converge, providing easy access to the surrounding forests. The creek runs through dense rhododendron thickets with old white pine towering over the creek banks." More


The work of ambitious beavers can be seen on different sections of the trail.

From Virginia Tech:

"The beaver is North America's largest rodent. Adult beavers normally weigh 40 to 50 pounds, but exceptionally large animals may weigh up to 80 pounds. They range in length from 35 to 50 inches, including the tail, which normally is about 10 inches long. Beavers have short legs, strong digging claws on the front feet, and large, powerful, webbed hind feet used for swimming. The broad, scaly, paddle-like tail is used as a rudder when the beaver swims, and also helps steady the beaver when it stands on its hind feet. Although beavers communicate principally by using whines, grunts, hisses, and a variety of nasal sounds, they will slap the surface of the water with the tail as a warning to alert other beavers of potential danger. The tail also acts as a storage organ for accumulated fat to be used as a reserve energy source during the wintertime.

"Beavers groom and clean their dark brown fur daily using a modified (i.e., split) second toenail on each hind foot. The fur then is coated with a material produced by an oil gland located beneath the tail. This coating makes the fur water repellent. Properly groomed fur also is capable of holding a thin layer of air next to the skin to help insulate the beaver from the effects of cold water. The short ears and nose each have unique muscles and valves that close to keep water from entering when the animal is submerged, and each eye has a transparent membrane that protects it when under water. These adaptations make the beaver well suited for life in the water." Read more.


Caves and Springs in Virginia

This article explains some of the limestone formations seen along the trail. Around mile marker 14 look across the highway and see several caves in the fact of a cliff. Most are shallow caves, but one is extensive.