Camping the Dolly Sods Wilderness – Fall Backpacking in West Virginia

3 Days of Fall Camping, Hiking and Backpacking in Dolly Sods, West Virginia. 

For this adventure, we’ll be exploring a very unique area of West Virginia – the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.  Being a high altitude plateau sitting at around 4,000 feet (the highest plateau east of the Mississippi river), the Sods offer a stark contrast to the surrounding West Virginian ecosystem. In fact, you may feel more like you’re in Canada than West Virginia.

For an overview and listing of my gear check out my previous Gear List Video, or visit my Gear List Page.

Accompanied by my wife and our two close friends, this was a 3 day, 2 night backpacking adventure. Each day’s track data was recorded to individual GPX data files, available for download on the Trip Data Page for those interested.

Parking: Bear Rocks Trailhead at 39.06352, -79.30326

Trails Used in Order:

Day One (11.5 Miles):

Bear Rocks Trail 522
Raven Ridge Trail 521
Rocky Ridge Trail 524
Blackbird Knob Trail 553 (only for a very short segment)
Big Stone Coal Trail 513
Setup Camp a bit before Little Stone Coal Trail

Day 2 (9.5 Miles):

Dunkenbarger Trail 558
Little Stone Coal Trail 552
Red Creek Trail 514
(Out-n-back excursion on Breathed Mountain Trail 553)
Setup camp along Red Creek Trail between Breathed Mt and Blackbird Knob

Day 3 (6 Miles):

Red Creek Trail 514
Blackbird Knob Trail 511
Upper Red Creek Trail 509
Dobbin Grade Trail 526 – Prepare for mud and thigh-deep sinkholes!
Return to car via Bear Rocks Trail 522

15 thoughts on “Camping the Dolly Sods Wilderness – Fall Backpacking in West Virginia

  1. Dude Thanx for posting the video. My brother and a friend and I are planning a trip to Dolly Sods in late April. I like the loop you chose especially since you had the bogs at the end good choice. My brother had hiked the sods 30 yrs ago. Ya we are old heads Late 40’s early 50’s mid life crises we chose hiking and camping over buying a red sports car. We will be taking some video and pictures I hope to post them sometime in May or June.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the video and our planning to get back out there yourselves. It’s an awesome area, and much more cost efficient than red sports cars! 😀 I bet Spring or early Summer will be pretty amazing.

    • I live in WV a couple hours away from Dolly Sods. If you’re not familiar with the area, pay close attention to the weather forecast. It’s above 4000′ and the weather can change dramatically. It’s not unusual for us to get alot of snow well into April. I did a day hike in the Monongahela Notional Forest last weekend above 4000′ and to turn around several times due to snow drifts.

      • I live in Pittsburgh, I have been watching the forcast. Forgot to take altitude into consideration. Thanks you for the advice

        • By the way Sintax, love your videos. I’m about 20 minutes from the Cranberry Wilderness., glad you like our state
          . keep up the good work.

    • Yes there were enough trees near the camp sites to make it work. Depending on how many people are in your group. Good luck, Good weather, Have fun, Be safe. Some of the trails are extremely rocky watch your step.

  2. Yes there were enough trees near the camp sites to make it work. Depending on how many people are in your group. Good luck, Good weather, Have fun, Be safe. Some of the trails are extremely rocky watch your step.

  3. I’m headed to Dolly Sods in early June this year and I’ve never been hammock camping above sea level. Where would be the best place to get an accurate weather forecast for the elevation? I’ve been watching the weather for DryFork, WV but it’s only around 2,000 ft. I’m having trouble deciding on clothing options for night time. The best I can tell it may actually drop to the 40’s overnight with daytime highs as much as 80. Does anyone have advice? Obviously I’m trying to go light without being too stupid.

    • I live near Dolly Sods, the weather can have extreme changes without warning. Probably your best bet for a fairly close forecast would be for Davis WV, close to the same elevation. When I go to Dolly Sods I plan for the temps to get in the low 40’s. Hope this helped.

      • Thank you for the advice! Tremendously helpful! I was beginning to think I had over thought the night time cold, but I think I’ll be sure to bring my down jacket!

    • We were there earlier in the spring and it did drop to about 32 degrees at night. I was fine with my 30 degree bag I did sleep with a hoody on and I had my hat on and I had some light gloves on. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. But I have found that what works for 1 person may not work or be enough for someone else. I bid you good weather and happy trails. It’s great place to hike.

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