Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, VA

Once a year the town of Damascus, VA. becomes a mecca for those who have an affinity for the Appalachian Trail. For the few whom have never heard of the AT, it is a trail that runs from Georgia, all the way to Maine. Damascus is roughly the halfway point of the 2,175 mile journey. The town is especially popular amongst hikers because it is the only part of the AT that actually passes thru a town. Since the sidewalk is part of the trail, on any given day, you can find a few weary backpackers walking along the roadside loaded down with gear. On these days, however, you are more than likely to find hundreds of them!


Open to any and all who may have thru-hiked, section-hiked, helped to maintain, preserve or anyone who just enjoys being outdoors is welcome to the annual Appalachian Trail Days extravaganza! The point is, whether you have hiked it or not--which I haven't--this special event gives everyone a chance to celebrate the Appalachian Trail as well as its people.

Crowd Pleaser

I found this snippet of the talent contest that showcases a really awesome beat box named, Abraham. He was very popular among the crowd, and for very good reason. I bet he wins every year!

Along with the talent show, they had all sorts of activities including a HUGE water-fight parade (that we missed), as well as various food (my favorite!) and merchandise vendors.

Colorful Diptych

We ate an enormous turkey leg, a gigantic ice cream sunday, and
fried green tomatoes! I couldn't resist the FGT.

Fried Green Tomatos

After a clear and beautiful day at the festival we retreated to our campsite tucked deep within Mount Rogers.

Campsite Mt Rogers

During the festivities they did offer a special camping area within town. Just imagine, tents and people as far as the eye can see...NOPE...not for me! I like my privacy :)

See?!?! It is named "Tent City" for a very good reason.
Tent City

That night, we got to our tent in the nick of time. As soon as we zipped up the 'door' it proceeded to rain, and did so ALL NIGHT LONG! It was still raining in the morning when we packed up. Thank goodness Cody reminded me to bring my rain coat!

I'm curious, who here has heard of the Appalachian Trail?

Here is a link to the 2011 Trail Days 25th Celebration: [LINK]


  1. Great pictures! I like the one of the van covered in stickers...that is certainly something else!

  2. This looks SO cool. I've never camped in such close proximity to so many people. You got some wonderful shots!

  3. My favorite was definitely the fried green tomatoes~

  4. the fried green tomatoes look good!

    I love the Bill Bryson book where he attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail. Very humorous.

  5. I have heard of the appalachian trail before! I love mountains and would have so enjoyed exploring the trail! And fried green tomatoes...mmmmm.

  6. I've heard of the AT. It always kind of intrigued me because of the sheer length of it, pretty phenomenal.

  7. I've never been anywhere close to the Trail, but of course I've heard of it. I'm with Elizabeth - those fried green tomatoes look delicious!! I'd be tempted to avoid the festivities, though - too many people.

  8. oh what fun!

    i have hiked parts of the trail
    but is has been a few years
    so thanks
    for taking me back..

    thanks ever~so for
    sharing the fried green tomatoes...


    your photos
    are always the best

  9. I love camping. We used to do that a lot before by my current work schedule is just terrible. I'm a great outdoor lover myself. Happy WW!

    Mine is up! Mariposa's WW

  10. I've most definitely heard of the Appalachian Trail :-) And my dad taught me the proper pronunciation :-) Never hiked it or been on it, though.

    I'm with you -- no way could I handle Tent City!! Your private campsite in the forest is MUCH more appealing :-)

    Does that guy really sing AND make beat box sounds at the same time?!


  11. @Design Ties: YES! I was sitting on the stage right next to him.....staring in was pretty amazing!!

  12. Yes, my son and I have stood on the trail in VA where it crosses the BRP. One of my good friends has walked the whole thing and 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. I'm so proud of him. He inspires me to keep doing more with my life.

    Your photos are great!!

  13. I have definitely heard of the Appalachian Trail. I would love to walk some of it.

    The festive looked excellent!! Your a better at adventure than I. If I slept on the ground, it would mess me up for weeks.

    I didn't catch if you had kids?? But, you would make a great mom being able to camp out.

  14. I had no idea there was a trail like that. Now that would be one heck of a hike!

    It looks like you had a lot of fun camping and at the festival. Thanks for sharing your photos!

  15. Heard of the Appalachian Trail? Why, yes, in fact, I hiked it from Georgia to Maine in 1992, and did a number of volunteer stints on trail crews later in that decade. And I have two memories of Damascus. One was finding out, as I hiked into it in 92, about the Rodney King verdict and the LA riots, which had occurred over the previous days while I was innocently wandering along the trail. The other is of Appalachian Trail days the following year and camping out in town with friends, including a guy with a trunk full of mason jars full of moonshine--in retrospect, I gotta give the local cops credit for not throwing us all in jail for disturbing the peace for out late night howling at the moon....

  16. I'd take the first camping spot rather than the second. I would enjoy the sound of birds more than the crowds of campers...

  17. We camped at Mt. Rogers when we did the Virginia Creeper trails a few years ago.

  18. This looks like so much fun! Not only have we heard of the trail but have hiked small sections of it in Maine and NH. Maybe a thru hike is in our future somewhere.

  19. You had me at the first Fried Green Tomato.

    Bless your heart!!

  20. I know of only because of Bill Bryson's book about it.And I have a friend here in China who hiked from Virginia to Maine before he came to China. He loved the experience.

    I'm with you on the separation of the tent. I don't like sleeping in a crowd.

    Neat pics!

  21. Despite the rain it looked like you had a great time. Beautiful pictures for sure and no, I have never heard of the AT! But then I'm on the west coast. :)

  22. I've heard of it. It's long... :D

    Tent city creeps me out.

    *baby cries*


    Looks cool though. :)

  23. That looks fun! I've never been over there, but I've heard of it and know of someone who spent a long time (like a year?) doing the whole trail.

    Love the pics!

  24. I've never tried fried green tomatoes they look delish!!

  25. looks like great fun. love the photo series.

  26. beautiful place ...loved the area to camp has been since before kids over 20+ years ago!

  27. Sure have heard of the AT,... and would love to hike it. The Long Trail is another one, although much shorter at 270 miles north/south through Vermont.

  28. we live by the trail too (in lynchburg, virginia) and it's my husband's dream to hike it (someday...). I did not know about the festival and can't wait for next year to check it out.

  29. Mmmmm... fried green tomatoes!

    I certainly do know about the Appalachian Trail. Back in the summer of '80 I was interim pastor of a small church in Elk Park, NC. Hikers were always passing through the town, getting their mail and support shipments at the post office there, but some of them looked like they could use a home-cooked meal and a roof over their heads for a night or two.

    I cleaned out a large shed on the church property, and many of them stayed there, and seemed grateful for a chance at a hot shower, too. Being a young single pastor I was recipient to more local produce than I could possibly eat, so I cooked up hot meals and they regaled me with tales of the trail.

    It was extremely enjoyable, though not everyone in the congregation quite knew what to make of hikers in the pews on Sunday.

  30. We learned about the Appalachian Trail in grammar school, then later on the Oregon Trail. :)