Popular activities include golf, fishing and hiking.
Outdoor adventure is second nature in Abingdon/Washington County, with its Greater Appalachian Valley serving as an attractive hot spot for enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, hiking, golfing and more.
While Washington County draws fishing enthusiasts year-round, fly-fishing attracts the most attention from late spring to early summer. Big Tumbling Creek, Green Cove, Hidden Valley Lake, Holston River, Taylor’s Valley and Whitetop Laurel Creek are all ideal spots for good catches of brook, brown and rainbow trout, and several other species. South Fork Holston is also an opportune spot for trout fishing.
Hiking & Biking Trails
The Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile multipurpose rail trail, stretches from Abingdon to Whitetop near the North Carolina state line. The gentle grade on this well-groomed path allows hikers, bikers and horseback riders of all levels to take in the lush surroundings, and the scenic expanse attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually. Its popularity has helped Damascus – located where the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian trails intersect – grow from a struggling town to a bustling center of recreation-based activity.
Outdoor enthusiasts also flock to the Appalachian Trail, commonly called the A.T. It spans a distance of 2,160 miles, touches 14 states and in 1968 was designated the first completed national scenic trail. An estimated 2 million people visit the A.T. each year and more than 14,000 people have hiked the trail in its entirety.
Spanning both Washington and Russell counties, The Channels Natural Area Preserve features a 6.2-mile hiking trail set amid an unusual geological maze of large sandstone boulders and eroded crevices. Experienced hikers enjoy the challenging trail because it features a 1,200-foot elevation gain. The Channels is open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.
Washington County is home to several of the region’s finest golf courses, including Glenrochie Country Club in Abingdon, an 18-hole private facility measuring 7,000 yards. Nearby Bristol also offers good options, with the 18-hole Clear Creek Golf Club regarded as one of the best-conditioned public courses in the Tri-City area. In addition, The Virginian Golf Club, a private setting with stunning mountain views, has been honored as one of the Top 100 Courses in America by several national publications.
The Harry L. Coomes Recreation Center is an ideal place for the exercise devotee. Indoors is a 1/16-mile walking track, weight room, aerobics room, cardiovascular room, spin-bike room, indoor pool and full-size gymnasium. Outside, the Coomes Rec Center features a kiddie pool, 50-meter pool, four tennis courts, skate park, dog park and walking trail.