Just up the road from Bristol, this small Virginia town located in the Great Appalachian Valley is a perfect fall weekend getaway for the adventurer. Abingdon is a historic town that not only has a front row seat to the beauty of Appalachia (it was the former stomping grounds of Daniel Boone and the Cherokee, so you know it's authentic), it's got outdoors activities that can be enjoyed year round-even as we settle in for the long winter.
Hike It: If you're not ready to dodge mountain bikes or horseback riders, make sure you take some miles on the Appalachian Trail, which meets 12 miles outside of Abingdon proper at the Mount Rogers Recreational Area in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Abingdon is an AT Community, aking it a busy place for AT hikers throughout the year- and an excellent destination for others looking for a taste of the AT without the extended trek. If you're looking to hike up Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia, stop into Grayson Highlands State Park for a 9-mile total hike that follows the AT and then verges off to the summit.
Bike It: The Virginia Creeper Trail, a 35-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail that sees 100,000 visitors a year, ends in Abingdon after a long downhill trek. Shuttle groups in Abingdon, like the aptly named Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop, not only will rent out bicycles but also will take you to Whitetop where the trail ends, allowing you to ride down in elevation over the course of an afternoon. While on the trail, be on the lookout for Lawrence the Legend, the moniker given to Lawrence Dye, a man in his 80s who has made it his job to use the trail as often as possible. He's so far logged more than 175,000 miles on the trail.
Stop In: Just a short drive down 58, Grayson Highlands State Park gives you a great view of Mount Rogers and access to the AT. The park's nine hiking trails could even lead you to some bouldering opportunities so don't forget your crash pad when you go.
Fish It: We know November is on the borderline of winter, but anglers still make use of the many lakes, ponds and reservoirs in the Abingdon area. But the real catch in November is fly fishing, especially for trout. If you've never tried fly-fishing, here's your chance to don some waders and take a lesson. Virginia not only stocks many creeks along the winter months, but acquiring a trout fishing license and finding a fly fishing guide is relatively easy. Head out to Hidden Valley Lake and Big Brumley Creek to try your luck, but make sure you're equipped with the proper license and gear.