Dolly Sods Wilderness Area

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, Elkins: Address, Phone Number, Dolly Sods Wilderness Area Reviews: 4.5/5

Dolly Sods Wilderness Area
4.5
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Located in the Monongahela National Forest, this 10,215-acre area is one of the few wilderness areas on the East Coast.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
275 reviews
Excellent
197
Very good
52
Average
15
Poor
5
Terrible
6

kalmansor
Hedgesville, WV8 contributions
My family drove through Dolly Sods once a handful of years ago, and I had always wanted to go back to actually get out of the car and go hiking. I planned to go when the leaves turned, and I decided to go yesterday. I live 2.5 hours away, so this trip took up a whole day for me. I went alone and took a photo of the hiking map (it is helpfully posted at each trailhead) to use as a guide.
I will say, as someone who is directionally challenged, I did have a couple moments of mild panic thinking I had gone too far or missed a turnoff. I started at Bear Rocks, then connected Raven Ridge, Dobbin Grade, Beaver Dam (I meant to get off here and walk back to my car, but got turned around somehow...), back onto Dobbin Grade and connected back to Bear Rocks. I was out there for about 4 hours, with several stops along the way. I'd love to go back, maybe in the spring, and hike along the lower half of the trails.
WARNING: Even though it had been a week or so since it rained, there were areas of thick, sinking mud. Luckily I had waterproof hiking boots on, or I would have been in a serious mess. I would also appreciate if there were more trail blazes or something, instead of just signs where the trails connected.
Wear appropriate gear, check the weather, have a screenshot or printout of the trail map, plenty of water and some snacks, and you should be golden. Oh, and an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicle. The road in and out is bump and windy, so go slow and if you have motion sickness, where the wristbands or something.
Written October 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jmpncsu
Raleigh, NC4,381 contributions
We visited Dolly Sods Wilderness for a day hike with our dog along Red Creek Trail. As a wilderness, trails aren't blazed but there are signs at intersections and it's pretty easy to follow. The water level was very high, so there was no safe way to cross the creek, so we stayed on the trail as far as we could without crossing. There were several nice waterfalls on little tributaries of Red Creek. It's a pretty popular area, but we only saw a few backpackers during our hike.
Written April 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gene R J
Silver Spring, MD8,099 contributions
We drove 30 miles through and beside this upland plateau called DSW, impressed with the long wooded vistas and limestone outcrops. This was my focus having climbed Seneca Rocks to its now fallen "Gunsight" with my brother in 1982. Much of the road signage was tailored to hunter access as the season is from September to March, so no trails for us.
The scenery was excellent with sunny weather and the leaves just hinting "Fall"
Written September 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

cherrydoll
Scranton, PA42 contributions
Couples
So I've been here as a child camping with my mom and dad. It's probably a good place for hiking or fishing. I remember that it's at a pretty high elevation and there are a lot of trees that are slightly lopsided due to the wind up there. It causes the branches to all lean slightly towards one side.
Written March 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BobKPgh
Pittsburgh, PA193 contributions
Friends
From Pittsburgh we drove on I79 S to I68 E, US-219 S, MD-560 S, US-50 E and WV-42 S to Jordan Run Rd , then right onto FR75 . On WV-42 there is a small sign to indicate Dolly Sods when turning onto Jordan Run Road. Another small sign for Dolly Sods is at the right turn on Forest Road 75. It would be helpful to have your GPS set to Dolly Sods (Latitude: 38° 59' 44.99" N Longitude: -79° 22' 5.02" W) because the turns from WV-42 and FR75 are not well marked. FR75 becomes a dirt road very quickly and winds its way up the mountain on a very bumpy road. I drove about 5mph up this road because it is so narrow and bumpy. There is room for two cars to pass each other in many sections of this road but fortunately there is not much traffic to worry about. The trip from Pittsburgh took about 4 hours.

We were intending to start the hike from Bear Rocks Trail Head but there was no parking so we drove another ¾ mile to Beaver Dam Trail Head to begin our hike.
Our route was Beaver Dam Trailhead – tr520 Beaver Dam .7 miles – tr526 Dobbin Grade 4.3 miles – tr521 Raven Ridge 2.8 miles – tr522 Bear Rocks 2.4 miles – camped at Red Creek – returned to Bear Rocks Trail head and took FR75 back to Beaver Dam Trailhead .7 miles.

Beaver Dam Trail is mostly down hill and is a fairly easy hike.

The only disappointment was the Dobbin Grade Trail because it is a swampy mess. I would not really say this is even a trail but it is marked as a trail on the maps. It is a slog through a bog where you will sink ankle deep with most steps you take. On other occasions you will sink calf to knee deep and have wet boots and pants for the rest of the hike. Dobbin Grade Trail is a boggy mess and should be avoided. If you go this way wear waterproof boots and expect to still possibly be up to your knees in some areas.

Crossing Red Creek at the intersection of Raven Ridge was fairly easy due to large boulders that form sort of a bridge across the water.

Raven Ridge is mostly an up hill climb.

When it intersect with Bear Rocks Trail the path is well defined and nice and flat. It then descends down to Red Creek which is a nice place to camp. We found nice flat areas with already constructed fire rings to pitch our tents and hammocks. Even though it was October 13th we were greeted with 2 inches of snow in the morning.

The return trip to the Bear Rocks Trail Head is mostly up hill and there are wooden trail ramps to carry you over some swampy areas.

If I were going to hike this area again I would do it differently to avoid the swamp on Dobbin Grade. I would start at the Bear Rocks Trail (522) and follow west for 2.3 miles to the Ravens Ridge Trail (521). Turn right on Ravens Ridge and continue northwest until the trail turns south (left). Intersect with the Rocky Ridge Trail (524). Proceed south on Rocky Ridge and in about 2.5 miles, turn left (east) on Dobbin Grade Trail (526). Follow until you intersect with Ravens Ridge Trail and go left (north) here. You may have a map and be tempted to stay on Dobbin Grade. DON’T DO IT!! This section of Dobbin Grade is a mucky mess. Make the left on Ravens Ridge (521) and continue uphill (north) until you intersect with Bear Rocks Trail. Make a right here and head back to your car in 2.4 miles. I would also set up camp where Bear Rocks crosses Red Creek to lighten the load and continue on the hike until it returns to the camp. I would also go in late August to find the wild blueberries and avoid the freezing temps and snowfall we encountered in early October.

It is best to call the Petersburg Ranger Station to inquire the status of trails and Forest Roads prior to planning a trip. The phone number is: 304-257-4488. It looks as though they close the roads at some point during the year.
Written November 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Er D
Fayetteville, NC1 contribution
Family
Forest Road 75, the main route through with all the scenic views, is CLOSED until at least May 15, 2015.

Checked all websites about the status of the area prior to going in. All good. So, we went.

Drove all the way in, only to find the gate to the main road (Forest Road 75) was closed and locked. A memo was taped to the gate stating the following:

"Forest Road 75 will be closed until further notice. Expected opening date is 15 May 2015 but may be closed longer. Effective date of closure is 1 Jan. 2015."

Upsetting that the main website does not inform anyone of this important information.

Best to call the Petersburg Ranger Station to inquire the status prior to planning a trip. The phone number is: 304-257-4488.
Written April 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

booshkie1
Charles Town, WV139 contributions
Before I start, if you plan on just riding down Forest Road 75 and think you are going to see anything, you are sadly mistaken. For those of you that love to hike and camp this is where you should go. Heres why:

1. The views. The overlook along Forest Road 75 are fantastic, but there is something about hiking on a plain and theres literally nothing, just you and the trees. Its a very different hiking experience than anywhere else on the east coast because of that.

2. The hiking is awesome, but wet in the spring, changeable in the summer, and bipolar in the fall. But if you are prepared for it the area has tremendous character and changes radically between the seasons. There are significant changes in the type of foliage that is predominant as you change in elevation, ranging from sods, to spruce and standard maple. Water flows out of the ground everywhere.

3. Camping- theres a pretty decent campground about 2 miles from bear rocks, with primitive restroom facilities. However the best campsites are out in the wilderness. The camping around red creek on the Bear rocks trail is particularly gorgeous, as the ground is soft and you are surrounded by giant spruce.

4. Purity of the night sky. Rare on the east coast, there is almost no light pollution. If you like stars or a place to see meteor showers this is the place for you. You literally cant see the hand in front of your face on some nights.

5. Summer weather. It almost never hits 90 degrees on the sods. Most of the summer its in the 70s to low 80s.

6. Animal life. It abounds if you know where to look. Something to take note. There are a lot of bears on the sods and even though I hike there a lot, I have yet to come across one. The only readon why I know is that last winter I hiked up in the snow, and near the parking area at bear rocks I came across numerous bear tracks.

7. Winter hiking. Its like hiking in northern canada at times. Pretty extreme, which is cool and dicferent.

It is ecspecially important to go to the sods prepared if you hike. This is why:

A. The area is huge, with miles and miles of trails, and due to the extreme winter weather, markings on trails get worn off, and signage gets blown down. Its pretty easy to get lost if you arent careful. Cell phones do not work up there, so make sure you have rations if you are doing a longer hike.

2. Be very prepared for the weather. Because its the edge of the allegheny front, weather systems can change greatly in a short period of time. For example, I did an 8 mile out and back. I left in 60 degree weather and returned in an inch of snow in a nightmare wind. Storms come up quickly. Be aware of weather conditions. If it looks like its changing, it probably is. Temperatures in dolly sods are frequently I the teens, but it can get a lot colder quickly.

Be careful, but its worth the care and effort you put into it. There is a reason why I return week after week. This place is amazing!
Written January 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

474greg
Freehold, NJ8 contributions
Couples
Nothing here will be news to serious wilderness hikers, but if you're like me and just making a casual visit, hoping to do some mild hikes and see some good views, read on.

The Dolly Sods are a plateau area on the Allegheny Front (the 'eastern continental divide'), very near Davis, WV. Their history is fascinating (and a bit sad); they are also a northern (as in Canadian) ecosystem in WV. They can be an easy day-trip visit, but you need to know what you're doing.

For instance, you can drive right up to the Bear Rocks trailhead, for a short and easy hike to the Bear Rocks and a 4000 ft elevation promontory on the eastern Allegheny Front. This is well worth the time it takes. You just need to know that you need a detailed map--really, a detailed map. It sounds easy to say: take Laneville Road to Forestry Road 19, and via FR 75 to the Bear Rocks trail head, but that doesn't really capture the reality. It's about a 45 minutes drive on single lane and (mostly) gravel, often steep, forestry roads (with many mysterious side roads), no land marks other than trees or buildings for several miles at a time, and many sections with steep drops on one side or the other. A good map will let you be more confident you're on the correct route. Trust me, it's worth the drive, so keep going. Serious hikers will want to stop at any of the several other trailheads you'll pass on the way. You'll also want to study the map for the best return route. If you're in the Canaan Valley/Davis area, you probably want to just turn around and go back the way you came. More adventures folks can (like us) get slightly lost going forward on FR 75. Eventually we found pavement, and followed our GPS home.

If you happen to be staying within the Timberline gated community, you can also check out the Valley View Trail (and several other trails). That also requires a steep drive up the gravel roads of the Timberline community, but you drive for most of the climb, and then can get some great views and do a short out and back hike in the Dolly Sods without having to be a hardcore hiker.
Written September 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lisa K
36 contributions
Couples
Dolly Sods is not your typical family vacation spot... aka... National Park. However, that does not mean you can't enjoy the beauty. You simply need to be prepared for your visit. Dolly Sods is a beautiful, incredible Wilderness Area. It's full of hiking trails and sights to see, with interesting roads. It's primary purpose is hiking and backpacking. However, the casual visitor can have their breath taken away. First, the road (Forrest Road 75) is a narrow dirt road that winds its way up, along, and down the mountain. Be prepared for lots of bumping and squeezing by other cars you might meet along the way. For the casual visitor who only wants to scamper the bare rocks and enjoy the breathtaking view, do not follow the first set of signs from route 28. Instead take Jordan Run Road north from Hopeville (on route 28) for approximately 7.7 miles. (Ignore the signs for Dolly Sods at the beginning.) Then turn left onto FR 75 (you will see a sign for Dolly Sods a 1/4 mile before this turn... and this one you can follow. 😄) Now simply stay on FR 75 for approximately 4.5 miles until you reach the top. You will be awed by the view. If you're feeling adventurous and have the time, drive the entire park loop. It will be a long, bumpy ride, but still fun. I've attached a picture of the route I mentioned for your reference and pictures of the view. Enjoy!!!
Written July 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pat D
Imperial, PA59 contributions
If you are an avid hiker and are looking for some great trails in the eastern part of the country, check out the Dolly Sods Wilderness. My wife and I have visited and hiked in about half of our country’s national parks to date. Although the DSW doesn’t rise to the beauty of some of the western parks, it is nonetheless a beautiful area that you will surely enjoy. Once you find a trail map online, you can put together a loop or an out and back hike that suits your fitness and time.

Our day hike started at the Bear Rocks Trailhead on Forest Road (FR) 75. This is a gravel road that can be a little dicey with oncoming traffic at times.

Start at the Bear Rocks Trail (522) and follow west for 2.3 miles to the Ravens Ridge Trail (521). Turn right on Ravens Ridge and continue northwest until the trail turns south (left). You will shortly intersect with the Rocky Ridge Trail (524). Go left (south). This is the most scenic part of the hike, as you will have some great views of the Canaan Valley. Lots of boulders here! This area can be a little trick to navigate. Take your time and look closely for the cairns that mark the trail. They are not always obvious.

Find a seat, take a break and have lunch here if you wish. Proceed south on Rocky Ridge and in about 2.5 miles, turn left (east) on Dobbin Grade Trail (526). This trail was a little boggy in places. After crossing Red Creek you will come to an unmarked intersection. Go right here. You are still on Dobbin Grade. Follow until you intersect with Ravens Ridge Trail and go left (north) here. You may have a map and in looking for a shortcut you may be tempted to stay on Dobbin Grade. DON’T DO IT!! This section of DG is a mucky mess. Make the left on Ravens Ridge (521) and continue uphill (north) until you intersect with Bear Rocks Trail. Make a right here and head back to your car in 2.4 miles.

All told, this lollipop hike was 12.4 miles as measured with our GPS. It depends on how close you can park to the trailhead. There is also the Bear Rocks Overlook near the parking area. It took us about 6 hours of walking and another ½ hour for lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely map out other hikes here in the future!
Written July 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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