Trail Days 2011 | Damascus, VA

Appalachian Trail Sign in Damascus, VA @ Trail Days

It's been three years since Cody and I started going to the annual Appalachian Trail Days in the small town of Damascus, Virginia. (This year they were celebrating 25 years!) It has become one of those events that automatically gets put on our calendar every year because we have such a great time, and it's only a short one-hour drive from Boone.

Big Yellow Tent @ Appalachian Trail Days

It's not everyday that you get to bump elbows with hundreds of backpackers who are taking time off the trail to attend this special event. Not all of them are in the middle of a distance hike, however, the majority of them are. You can tell the difference between who is and isn't a long-term hiker by how strongly they smell. That is, unless they've taken advantage of the free showers being offered by the local church.

Church Sign @ Appalachian Trail Days

You don't necessarily need to be someone who has hiked the Appalachian Trail in order to attend this exciting event. Heaven knows I haven't hiked the 2,181 mile long trek from Georgia to Maine, and I probably never will. It takes a special kind of person to do something like that. Hiking the AT in it's entirety is no small feat. I'm just not that kind of hiker and/or camper, but I appreciate and respect those who are.

Laurel Creek Bridge in Damascus, VA @ Trail Days

On a normal week, Damascus' population is around a 1,000 residents but that number quickly multiplies during the days leading up to Appalachian Trail Days. Come mid-spring, the town of Damascus becomes a melting pot that blends anyone and everyone who has an appreciation for the outdoors. Although it's mostly those who have an affinity for or a connection to the Appalachian Trail specifically.

Crowd + Tents @ Appalachian Trail Days

During Trail Days they have outdoor gear vendors showcasing their products, a hiker's parade that may be the largest water fight in the world, an amusing talent show, dozens of tempting food vendors, and lots of other family-friendly fun to keep you entertained!

Colorful Vendor @ Trail Days in Damascus, VA

This year, we missed the hiker's parade because we were too busy schmoozing with the vendors who had neat gear and FREE stickers!

Characters @ Trail Days in Damascus, VA

There are some really awesome products sprouting up that are extremely innovative. Cody and I actually went home with a new lightweight tent (1lb. 11oz.) that we're excited to tell you all about. I'm trying to talk him into doing a guest post!

Mid-day Downpour @ Appalachian Trail Days

The weather on Saturday was back and forth all day. It was overcast and cloudy with a slight drizzle that turned into a brief stint of sunshine that developed into a downpour that drenched a lot of people. The ones who needed a bath I hope :D Thankfully, I had an umbrella and Cody had his raincoat, but we still sought shelter under one of the large tents with others who were looking to escape the relentless rain. Even though the weather didn't completely cooperate, we still enjoyed the day we spent in Damascus.

Hippie Mailbox @ Appalachian Trail Days

Appalachian Trail Days is a unique event that brings some really wonderful folks together for a reunion that is, mainly, geared toward backpackers from all over the country who have hiked the AT. However, people from all walks of life can also enjoy this event, especially if you love and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors!

Have you ever heard of the Appalachian Trail? Or have you been to Trail Days before? 
Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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    1. I've never been to Trail Days but certainly have heard about it. I don't have a desire to thru hike the AT but am obsessed with those who have. I've read several books about their journeys. If I meet someone who has completed it, I usually corner them for about an hour's worth of questions. Last month my daughter & I were in Damascus doing the Virginia Creeper Trail.

    2. Sounds like an adventure. I love hiking. Love your pics, especially the mail box. lol.

    3. You are the first to enlighten me of Trail late honey would have loved to have been part of this event...maybe next year I will be a part of this event.
      Want to....ney....need to go next year!

    4. I've never been to Trail Days, but I've definitely heard about it. How fun to experience something like that! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you... ;)

      WW: Curriculum Fair Fun with YoYo's

    5. love your first frame, great composition and exposure!

    6. That brings back some good memories...would love to be there to see if anybody from the class of '92's still around....

    7. I'm excited to tell you that I'm a former thru-hiker ('98) and have been to Trail Days twice and I absolutely love it! Last year I started a 2nd hike but left after 1375 miles to come to China to teach. In 5 weeks I'll return to the beloved AT to finish this hike. I'm so sad to have missed TDs this year and I love your pics! I found them through the Trail Days site (plus I follow you on Twitter!) My blog is about my Big Year of hiking and teaching. Thanks again for sharing your photos and descriptions!

    8. Virginia is shockingly pretty! I wouldn't mind spending some time hiking thorugh as well. Though I'm not hardcore at all. My cousin did the whole trail but that's something I couldn't even dream of.

    9. Couldn't make it this year, but I'm one of the lucky ones that calls Washington County, Va home and now has a place off the Creeper Trail in Damascus. I love that others see the beauty in our little corner of the world. Your photos are wonderful. I'll be there next weekend.

    10. <3 the boardwalk pic. Dreamy.