We thought the Virginia Creeper Bike Trail was beautiful. In our humble opinion, the Guest River Gorge Trail is even more scenic. The Guest River Gorge Bike Trail is another one of the several rail-to-trail parks in southwestern Virginia. This abandoned track is part the old Norfolk Southern Railway that was used to bring coal up from the mines near the Clinch River. Our chosen bike day began cloudy with some sprinkles and I had my doubts about the weather but after we arrived to the trail head, the sprinkles stopped and the sky got a bit brighter.
Riding our bikes through the old 1922 Swede Tunnel was kind of creepy. There was lots of dripping water, it was dark and it had a loud echo. Ron estimated it to be approximately 50 yards long.
We knew that the downhill grade would be fast. We hardly peddled as we enjoyed the ride. In the back of our minds we knew..what goes down, must come back up.
The trail rides past immense sandstone cliffs that rise as high as 400 feet. The Guest River borders the opposite side of the trail. With all of the rain this area has had in the past 3 weeks, the river level was up and we constantly heard loud white water. However, due to the thick vegetation, getting photos of some of the rapids was difficult.
|There were several waterfalls along the trail. |
Once we reached the end of the trail, it was 5.8 miles back up.. a 2% uphill grade.
We took our time biking back, stopping and resting at several of the benches, trestles and overlooks. We soon began to think how glad we were was it was cool and cloudy. It was about a 3 and a half hour round trip. This was a very nice bike trip but with colorful fall leaves, it would be amazing.
We have taken a few other day trips in the last couple of weeks. We visited the delightful MountainRose Vineyards in Wise, Va.
And we enjoyed a day trip to The Breaks Interstate State Park in Breaks, Va. This state park is billed as "the Grand Canyon of the South" as it's gorge is 5 miles long and 1,600 feet deep. All of these places will be ablaze with fall color in the next few weeks.
We have 2 more weeks to spend in Big Stone Gap. We want to visit Cumberland Gap and maybe even visit the Carter Family Fold.