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Dolly Sods Challenge Hike - circumnavigation

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 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Experience the variety of terrain and sights offered at Dolly Sods!!


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Map Key

27.4

Miles

44.1

KM

95%

Runnable

4,166' 1,270 m

High

2,703' 824 m

Low

2,829' 862 m

Up

2,829' 862 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Not aware of any.

Overview

High to low, rocks and roots, meadows and forest. This route has something to experience for everyone.

Need to Know

Plenty of stream access to filter water.

Runner Notes

Would not recommend running on this trail. Too many rocks and roots.

Description

Start at the highest point Bear Rocks Preserve. Make your way down Bear Rocks Trail to the intersecting trail of Dobbin Grade Trail. Do not get confused at the sign and stay straight on Bear Rocks Trail down the path that appears washed out. Avoid this section of the Dobbin Grade Trail as it reminded me of the Bog of Eternal Stench. Continue on and merge right onto Raven Ridge Trail. Meet at the intersecting trail of Rocky Ridge Trail. This was a nice peaceful area.

Start south on Rocky Ridge Trail and enjoy the various rock formations. You'll merge into Blackbird Knob Trail and take it to the right down the hill. You're on the right path if you reach the point where three trails meet with an access trail to a parking lot to the west. There will be a larger informational posting board. Hop on Big Stonecoal Trail. We stopped at an awesome campsite with a stone fire pit and five lounging stone chairs under some pine trees on the left which is clearly visible from the trail.

Continue on Big Stonecoal Trail to Rocky Point Trail. Drop your packs and find your way up to the Lion's Head viewpoint. Awesome viewing and there are several cairns marking the easier trail up on your left. If you want to scramble on the rocks push on and then start up the rocks. The rock jumping was quite fun. Get back to your packs and backtrack slightly to the Dunkenbarger Trail. Nothing really different to see on this trail and I would probably cut it out if I did it again. The alternative would be the Big Stonecoal Trail down to the creek. Either way, be prepared to go downhill for what feels like forever.

At the bottom of Dunkenbarger Trail, cross the creek to Red Creek Trail. This part of the trip pretty much sucked. After several hours of running, you finish with some very steep grades up and down until the trail meets the creek again. My legs had a good burn after this section. Prior to crossing, our group veered right and found another cool campsite. Start of day three and our group was going through some moleskin. Push up Red Creek Trail past the waterfall that you can hear but not really see from the trail.

Meet Blackbird Knob Trail and hang a right to where it meets Upper Red Creek Trail. Take the left and march on. We were all starting to have get-done-itis at this point. Not very hard running here. Take a right on Dobbin Grade Trail for a short distance to Raven Ridge Trail. Motor up the slight grade on this trail and into the trees. Pop-out of the trees again just in time to meet up with Bear Rocks Trail again. Enjoy your last approximately two miles back to your starting point.

Don't forget to look around and enjoy your adventure. This is an awesome three-day trip and it offers a great challenge!

Flora & Fauna

Tons of large beautiful Rhododendrons.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tim Zendgraft

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3481

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#16

in West Virginia

#3,481

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Photos

Red Creek - Dolly Sods Wilderness
May 19, 2015 near Davis, WV
Upper Red Creek / Blackbird Knob Junction
May 20, 2015 near Davis, WV
Fall colors view from south side of Breathed Mountain
Apr 28, 2018 near Petersburg, WV
The view from Rocky Ridge trail - chairs and a ready made fire pile ready to go.
Sep 14, 2020 near Davis, WV
Most of of the Rocky Point Trail looks like this
Apr 28, 2018 near Petersburg, WV
Off of Rocky Point Trail, hike an extra half mile up the ridge for some great views. Path entrance is a narrow opening on the mountain side. No cairns marking the path
Oct 13, 2020 near Petersburg, WV

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