The high meadows of Dolly Sods North have some of the most spectacular scenery on the east coast. With beautiful valley views, and seemingly endless rolling
fern pastures, this is an area you'll want to come back to again and again. Part of the Monongahela National Forest, Dolly Sods is a taste of the Canadian high country right in our own back yard.
Trail Notes: The trails in Dolly Sods ARE NOT color blazed. We have them marked on the maps here in different colors for ease of identification only. Non solid dotted trails indicate secondary non-official hiking trails.
From the parking area head down the washed out Bear Rocks Trail TR-522 through a meadow, then climb over a small ridge before descending again to meet the Dobbin Grade Trail TR-526 in 1.1 miles. Continue straight across the Dobbin Grade Trail remaining on the Bear Rocks Trail. The trail is considerably narrower at this point. After passing through a meadow cross Red Creek and head uphill to the left, emerging from the trees and reaching a trail junction marked by a thin trail post.
Turn right at the trail post, pass through a small clearing, and enter a wooded area climbing the ridge. Emerge from the trees at one of the larger high mountain meadows. The trail heads down through a small valley before climbing another meadow and reaching the intersection of the Raven Ridge Trail TR-521.
Stay right uphill on the Raven Ridge Trail for 0.2 miles to the intersection of the Beaver View Trail TR-523. Stay right on the Raven Ridge Trail as it passes through an area of red spruce before arriving at a connecter trail on the left in another 0.4 miles. Continue straight on the Raven Ridge Trail, then turn left onto the Rocky Ridge Trail TR-524 in 0.8 miles. If you miss this trail junction in another 120 yards you will arrive at a three way intersection marked by a small rock cairn. Instead of backtracking you can turn left here for 200 yards through the brush, and pickup the Rocky Ridge Trail.
Turn left downhill on the Dobbin Grade Trail as it descends the valley, then crosses the left fork of Red Creak in 1.0 miles. The trail will veer more to the right before arriving at the junction of the Beaver View Trail in 0.6 miles. Continue straight on the Dobbin Grade Trail passing a spring (hose attached) in 0.3 miles, then descend to the valley floor and pass through a boggy area before arriving at the intersection of the Upper Red Creek Trail TR-509 0.6 miles from the spring. Continue straight on the Dobbin Grade Trail shortly passing the unmarked Raven Ridge Trail, then crossing Red Creek in 0.2 miles.
Immediately after crossing Red Creek turn left on the Dobbin Grade Trail. There isn't a marker at this intersection, and the trail that continues straight climbs a small rise to a vista point. After crossing Red Creek and turning left, pass through a wet boggy section for 0.8 miles, then in 0.2 miles arrive at the junction off the Beaver Dam Trail TR-520. Continue straight on the Dobbin Grade Trail for 0.7 miles to the intersection of the Bear Rocks Trail you descended earlier. Turn right uphill on the Bear Rocks Trail for the 1.1 miles back to FR75 and parking area.
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Reviews For The Dolly Sods North Hike (5 Most Recent)
I hiked this hike a second time in a week. It was much easier, as the thaw had created a glaze on top of the snow which supported me enough to walk normally to the top. I was fully intending to go much further than I had on the previous Saturday, but thought better of it. About 100 yards from the top I came across what appeared to be the tracks of a very large bear in the snow. The dog was going somewhat crazy, but I continued up to the plain, which had substantially more snow. It also had substantially more bear tracks, from what appeared to be at least four or five different bears. This was very unusual to me- I have yet to see an actual bear on the plains of Dolly Sods, except in the woods. Considering I was alone with my dog, I went only a short way down the Bear Rocks trail to Red Creek and turneed around.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 16, 2013
I hiked part of this hike with my dog on Saturday. I had to stop about a mile from the closed off portion of FR75 due to snow covered roads. I hiked to the top, which wasn't particulary easy. For about a mile up the road there was anywhere from 4-6 inches of snow, and closer to the top it was somewhere between a foot and 20 inches. Needless to say, FR75 will not be open to the top until at least mid April. About 500 yards from the top, the road cleared with the exception of the occasional snow drift. Bear Rocks as usual was incredible, and Dolly Sods in the winter is just as beautiful as in the spring. With no one there for miles, the feeling of being alone with God was tremendous. I hiked down to red creek and took some photos. This is a great hike during all times of the year. Just make sure you know your weather forecast. If you hit it wrong the weather is extremely changeable and you will end up stuck in your parking spot before you can get back to your car.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2012
I hiked this hike with my dog on Saturday. If you haven't been to Dolly Sods when the leaves are changing, you are missing out. The leaves, from the bushes to the trees are absolutely spectacular. All the bushes in the Bear rocks area turn a crimson red, and there are so many of them some of your picture will just pick up a sea of red. The Deciduous trees in the lower areas turn a patchwork of vibrant and intense color. The only negative to this hike was that there were a HUGE amount of bear hunters out and about, which was a little unnerving because they weren't using the Bear Rocks Trail. (where do you think the bears were? Anyway, if you like leef peeping in your car there is a very nice loop that takes you to Davis WV and the Blackwater Falls area (three different waterfalls and an absolutely fantastic overlook called Pendleton Point that overlooks that Blackwater Gorge), through the Canaan Valley and then through the back entrance to Dolly Sods about three miles later. Fall this year didn't fail to produce spectacular scenery. Don't ever miss out on Dolly Sods in the fall. It's an absolutely unforgettbale experience.
Hans ( und Heidi )
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 01, 2012
This was our first time here. We walk all over the world, and this is a most unique place. I best describe it as a High Plain Bog. We never been to Scotland, but it must be like this. In fact it is former sheep pasture in natural restoration. We will return in about 6-8 weeks when the whole plains of Mountain Laurel bloom. Astounding!
Trail notes- I wish we brought gaiters, and plan to get wet beyond just fording a creek ! To avoid the worst of the Bog when TR526 intersects 521 on the left, take a left on 521 (just above the creek ford) . Then right on 522 to return to start point. Also the FR75 was closed 1.3 miles down mountain from where this hike is supposed to start (too early in season?) This made for a 13.4 mile day and it took us 7.5 hours time walking,, with time lost slogging ( which we had the grandest time!) We saw only one person the whole day early on in the hike, but we did get a late start and got to the truck at dark. We were tracking three people and a big dog the whole way, which you can only do in a bog. And that leaves me to wonder what the bugs are like here in summer on a wind swept and shaped landscape?
The next day we planned to hike the "Forks of Red Creek", but the FR75 was blocked 7 miles from the start, so we turned left to the Laneville hamlet and hiked up the Red Creek trail from there,,, 5 stars all the way !!
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011
11/19 and 11/20 We put together a 20.2 mile hike thru Dolly Sods North and Red Creek trails. This was our first time here and have already made plans to come after the first thaw! We truly felt as though we were in Canada or the great Northwest! A little disappointed in the lack of adequate trail marking in quite a few areas. However it did make it interesting in a few spots! Be prepared to get wet! Most stream crossings this past weekend were in near shin deep water! Also...I purchased topo maps from the ranger station only to discover that most of the Dolly Sods North Hike has not been updated!!! The topo maps are from 1995. Be sure to get one of the tri-fold brochures instead and save yourself the money of buying outdated maps. No matter what..we had a blast and have already recommended it to several people.