Damascus, VA

Hikers Flocking to Damascus for Trail Days This Weekend

John M. Dabbs

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AT Days 2022 Damascus VAVisit Damascus

Coming this weekend to Damascus, Virginia - Appalachian Trail Days 2022. Known locally as just "Trail Days," the event is one of the highlights of the hiking season for hikers in the Appalachian Highlands.

Trail Days

The festival runs May 13-15 in beautiful Damascus, Virginia. The annual Appalachian Trail Days Festival is a one-of-a-kind event bringing hikers, communities, volunteers, and supporters from around the country together to celebrate everything the Appalachian Trail (AT) has to offer.

People can join the Appalachian Trail Conservancy throughout Trail Days at the Damascus Trail Center (DTC), where the AT Conservancy will host multiple events, workshops, and a raffle for great backpacking gear!

Damascus Mayor, Katie Lamb, says the event has become one of the most anticipated in the community and is a favorite of visitors, vendors, hikers, and local businesses. Lamb says the town looks forward to this week every year. Every year since the first Appalachian Trail Days in 1987, it has grown, won hearts, and captured the spirit of the "the Friendliest Town on the AT." Visit Damascus has published a guide to the festival that can be found here online.

After a hiatus during 2020 due to the pandemic, the festival returned last year with great enthusiasm. This year's festival is expected to be the best and biggest yet, according to Mayor Lamb.

General event info

Those driving from Abingdon along route 58 should expect delays due to road construction, so be forewarned. You'll also likely experience limited cellular coverage in Damascus, as the area has limited coverage - with Verizon and Sprint being the most reliable cell service providers for the downtown area (a small area too, as the town has a population of 800).

Town information can be located in the Town Information Tent near the Gazebo in Town Park. Visitors are encouraged to stop here to obtain a festival guide, find local information, and if you're missing something - it's the official lost and found site.

Official Trail Days merchandise can be purchased at the Town Information Tent in Town Park as well. Merchandise includes t-shirts, collector coins, bandanas, neck gaiters, patches, stickers, and a variety of other items.

Free concerts will be in the Town Park all weekend. Live music will be provided at the gazebo in the middle of the Town Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring a camping chair, lawn chair, or blanket sit back and enjoy the music.

Tents are permitted within town limits during Trail Days from Wednesday to Monday. Property owners must obtain a free land use permit from Town Hall in advance. The town also allows permitted tents on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Residents and businesses are limited to 10 tents or less on their property (with a permit).

Stuff

There will be lots of vendors on hand with food, merchandise, and outdoor-related goods. Be prepared to enjoy yourself. For more information on the festival, the hiker parade, parking, and more - visit the festival website at VisitDamascus.org or find information at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

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