Dolly Sods Wilderness, WV Backpacking Trip

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This hike was organized by Doug Knowles and took place June 21-23, 1996 . It was a 14.5 mile loop around the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area of the Monagahelia National Forest near Davis, WV. Participants were Guy Brooks, Marty
Group picture at the beginning of the hike.


At left, at the beginning of the hike.
By Charlie Johnson


Manzano, Jerry Robey, Bill Isham and his wife Chris, Mike Calabrese, my son John and my nephew Ryan, Charlie Johnson, Doug Knowles and his nephew Josh.

We met Friday afternoon at the Dolly Sods Wilderness Campground and camped there for the night. This was the largest group that we have had yet on one of our hikes. The scenery was beautiful but very different. None of the vegetation was very high and the dominant trees were all evergreens. In was like being in a northern tundra forest. The facilities at this campground were very good. We had water, pit toilets with cement floors and toilet paper! Not bad for a campground on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

The next morning we drove down to the trailhead. We did a loop comprised of the Red Creek Trail, Breathed Mountain Trail and the Big Stonecoal Trail.
View of Red Creek in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area


At right, a scenic view of Red Creek in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.
By Mike Calabrese


There were no blazes on these trails. There were piles of rocks to guide us through this one. The elevation changes were substantial, the weather was good and, again, the scenery was fantastic! We even met another member of the AOL Tag Team Relay Hike from PA 24. Ryan went swimming in Red Creek. The water was cold but he was used to it, being from Washington state.

It started raining around 5ish that day so we hurried to find a place to pitch our tents. We found a cramped place near a stream. Marty M and Guy B went about half a mile farther and found a great pine grove with lots of room and water near by. We should have gone farther as the rain did stop eventually. Oh, well.

The next morning we did a leisurely 5 miles and then took the long trip home. Some of the trail went through mud holes that were about a foot deep. They should have renamed this area "Dolly Sogs"!
Mike C along Big Stonecoal Trail


At left, Mike C along Big Stonecoal Trail.
By Charlie Johnson


This was one of the best hikes scenery wise that we have done. At times, you think you are up in Alaska somewhere the way the landscape is arranged. You go through regular forests, then open areas with little growth and sparsely placed pine trees, then pine forests There are some wild flowers that add to this special beauty.

I would recommend this hike for experienced backpackers only because of the absence of blazes. But it is a very beautiful area and well worth the trip to wild and wonderful West Virginia.

Mike C



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