Kind of a rough ride,but worth it. Even my children liked it. Keep them away from the drop-offs(of... read more
Kind of a rough ride,but worth it. Even my children liked it. Keep them away from the drop-offs(of... read more
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... read more
Bear Rocks Trail - Raven Ridge Trail - Rocky Ridge Trail - Dobbin Grade Trail Loop (about 11 miles).
Did this hike on a Thursday and saw very few people... not a sole once we got onto Raven Ridge Trail. Mid August is a great time to do this hike - there were billions (not kidding!!) of berries - blueberries and huckleberries. We picked and ate so many berries that it took almost 2 hrs to reach Rocky Ridge Trail, and realized if we wanted to finish before night fall we would have to stop eating berries - still couldn't resist a big fat one occaisionally. If you actually look up instead of down in amazement of all the berries, you are greeted with a variety of landscapes. All awesome. Grassland/Meadows, hardwood forest, dark spruce forest (near intersection of Raven Ridge and Rocky Ridge), rocky outcrops and of course the infamous bog on Dobbin Grade Trail. In retrospect, I laugh at the difficulty we had through the bog (the section between intersections of Ravin Ridge and Beaver Dam) but would probably avoid if I did this hike again. At first we had some success at hopping from rock to rock, then tried to go around some areas (I know this is not accepted hiking ettiquette; however, some areas looked capable of sucking you under - probably an exaggeration - but I was not willing to find out) - this tactic...Bear Rocks Trail - Raven Ridge Trail - Rocky Ridge Trail - Dobbin Grade Trail Loop (about 11 miles).
Did this hike on a Thursday and saw very few people... not a sole once we got onto Raven Ridge Trail. Mid August is a great time to do this hike - there were billions (not kidding!!) of berries - blueberries and huckleberries. We picked and ate so many berries that it took almost 2 hrs to reach Rocky Ridge Trail, and realized if we wanted to finish before night fall we would have to stop eating berries - still couldn't resist a big fat one occaisionally. If you actually look up instead of down in amazement of all the berries, you are greeted with a variety of landscapes. All awesome. Grassland/Meadows, hardwood forest, dark spruce forest (near intersection of Raven Ridge and Rocky Ridge), rocky outcrops and of course the infamous bog on Dobbin Grade Trail. In retrospect, I laugh at the difficulty we had through the bog (the section between intersections of Ravin Ridge and Beaver Dam) but would probably avoid if I did this hike again. At first we had some success at hopping from rock to rock, then tried to go around some areas (I know this is not accepted hiking ettiquette; however, some areas looked capable of sucking you under - probably an exaggeration - but I was not willing to find out) - this tactic proved mostly unsuccessful as it felt as though you were walking on a giant floating sponge and you had to move fast to avoid sinking to unknown depths. Had one moment of fear when I jumped from a rock onto what I thought was "solid" ground and my foot punctured the sphagnum moss mat and plunged calf deep into I'm not sure what. I quickly pulled my foot out and moved on. All in all, a great hike and would like to explore more in the Dolly Sods area in the future. Thought we might see some evidence of bear because of all the berries, but did not. In fact, no wildlife other than birds. One other note - I actually drove a small motorhome (21 ft) up FR 75 - would not recommend doing this in anything larger or coming back down this way (no guard rails) - we took the other road down (near Bear Rocks) and it was not as bad.More
Kind of a rough ride,but worth it. Even my children liked it. Keep them away from the drop-offs(of course),but plenty of big rocks to climb,berries to eat(when in season),fresh air,beautiful views all around,and your family.Who could ask for more.
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.
did 10 miles of hiking on Bear Rocks trail. Due to the rain, there were tons of soggy spots, so hiking boots are a must. Much of the undergrowth is peat-like, so much of it likely never fully dries out. terrain and views varied frequently, from rock plain, to forest, to meadow and varying elevation. If you like variety, this would be great.
We were told that the meadow and leaf colors are spectacular in the spring and fall. We took an unmarked double track trail from the northwest corner of the Bear rocks trail and after about a half a mile, were rewarded with a spectacular view of the Canaan Valley and other vistas north and west.
We were told by other hikers that the muddy conditions were much worse to the south.
We hiked 11 miles on gorgeous trails. Met people from all over except WV. Fun and slightly challenging intermediate hike!
Visited with my husband and sister. This was a neat place with various terrain. There was plenty of spots along our way that had previous camping and sitting areas ( natural rocks to sit on). We did see a bear on our hike..so definitely stay alert. The trails started out fairly easy but the further you go and when you switch trails the hardened it is to find and stay on the trails. We were using the Google fit app.( which maps out you hiking from where you star...we started from the parking area)..the we ultimately had to refer to to get back to our car. We definitely enjoyed this area and took lots of pictures. We did have to cross some water along a path.
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.
Dolly Sods is a very pretty area. Plenty of places to hike and camp. The pictures we took turned out really good. I would highly recommend this area to anyone!
like a thousand miles north of reality. Climate, weather, rocks, flora all very much like parts of Canada...
serious fog/ CLouds on the ground
First of all - Dolly Sods is one of the most magical, mystical places I have ever had the pleasure of strolling through with a 65L pack on my back. The lichen, moss, pine forests, warped trees, and wind shaped rocks combined with the lack of other humans make Dolly Sods feel other worldly. I imagine the views beyond the rolling, wildflower-filled meadows would have been gorgeous if we could see past the pea soup level fog. The only reason I give this gorgeous place less than 5 stars is the particularly scarring experience I had at Dolly Sods (which was mostly due to my own poor planning let's be real here).
To all future backpackers planning to hike DS during or after a period of heavy rainfall: just don't.This place FLOODS. I remember reading reviews before going that Dolly Sods gets "slightly boggish" when it rains. Understatement of the century. At some points the path disappeared fully into a bog (spotted a cool beaver dam at this point though!), and 80% of the trail became a 4-6 inch stream. River crossings up to our waists. What added to the fun is that this trail is just simply not marked whatsoever. I recommend printing a large, detailed, trail map and doing a lot of research before you go. Also Google Maps had us go through this private hunting road that got us all sorts of turned around, so when in doubt ask a friendly local and don't listen to your Google Maps.
I'll be back though, at a dryer time.
The road up was a half a lane with a shear drop. I have a fear of heights but once we topped the vista it was worth every cringe. Found out there is a better road up but not as near exciting. I have never seen anything like this. Specular! You will never see a spot like this anywhere. We really didn't want to leave. Not crowded - a hidden, overlooked gem. I am ready to go back.