Dolly Sods Wilderness

Loop • 2.4 mi • 0 ft

Make this loop in the renowned Dolly Sods Wilderness. This slice of the Monongahela has nearly everything: rocky vistas, open glades resembling the western United States, thick spruce, northern hardwood forests, and a deep canyon cut by Red Creek. On this loop, walk some high country and camp by a great lookout, then swing west over Breathed Mountain, and drop down Big Stonecoal Trail to camp in the Red Creek Canyon. Your final day climbs back up. During World War II, Dolly Sods was a bombing range, and there are still shells lying around. If you see one, do not touch it! Mark the area, make a map, and report it to a Ranger Station. Chances are, however, you won’t see one.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Laneville
Length: 2.4 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: 3
Duration: 1-2 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Canaan Valley State Park
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Recent Trail Reviews


This was a great hike. We went on a Friday, and arrived pretty early in the day - before noon. We took our time and hiked up the right side of the loop (going up), and eventually reached the top-most campsite. The views at the top are really cool except for the windmills - they ruin the scenery a bit. We did hear some bear noises at night. - we banged some pots together for several minutes, and slept the rest of the night. Make sure to keep your food and garbage away from your tent. The hike down was pretty muddy and nasty in parts - we went around the other side of the loop. At one point, we crossed a river and had a tough time figuring out where the trail was, but we eventually recovered it. Hiking boots with waterproofing are wholeheartedly recommended. There weren't that many people, and the weather was perfect. I'm sure it fills up more if you start on a weekend, though.


We lucked out with the weather, 65 and bright blue skys in late June. The trail was damp in places, but not a problem with boots. If you have never been to Dolly Sods, remember the wilderness area is mostly wooded, but Dolly Sods north (or scenic) is the open fields. They are next to one another but very different. We found the trails in the wilderness area easy enough to follow. Long dirt road to get to the trailheads, but well worth it. Not too many places in the east you can be up near 4,000 feet and not see any sign of human activity.

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