Dolly Sods Wilderness
The 17,371 acre Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is located in Grant, Randolph, and Tucker Counties, West Virginia. The Dolly Sods Wilderness contains much of the Red Creek drainage and contains bog and heath eco-types, more commonly typical to southern Canada. Elevations range from 2,500 to over 4,700 feet. For more information, see Dolly Sods Wilderness Brochure, Trail Map, and Expansion Map.
Practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics: do not build a camp within 200 feet of roads, streams and trails. Dolly Sods Wilderness has 47 miles of trails, many of which follow old railroad grades and logging roads. There are fords on some of the trails that may be a problem to cross during high water events. There may be additional small stream crossings as well.
At a Glance
|Open Season:||- Forest Road 19 and 75 are gated closed to vehicle access from January to April.|
|Closest Towns:||Petersburg, WV and Canaan Valley, WV|
|Water:||Bring drinking water or treat water from natural sources before drinking to kill harmful pathogens|
|Operated By:||USDA Forest Service|
|Information Center:||Potomac Ranger District|
From Petersburg follow WV 28/55 south to Jordan Run Road. Turn right and go 1 mile to Forest Road 19. Turn left and follow FR 19 six miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area. The wilderness is directly ahead of you at the intersection with FR 75. Turn right for Wildlife and Fisher Spring trailheads; turn left for Rohrbaugh and Red Creek trailheads.
From Canaan Valley: follow WV 32 south to the Laneville Road (WV 45). Turn left and go approximately 6 miles to the Red Creek Bridge, where the road changes from pavement to gravel and is now Forest Road 19. Red Creek trailhead is on the left behind the Laneville wildlife management cabin. Continue on FR 19 to get to Rohrbaugh trailhead and FR 75
Beginning in August of 1943, the military used the area for maneuvers and mountain training for World War II. Many of the artillery and mortar shells shot into the area for practice still exist. In 1997, a highly trained crew surveyed the trail locations and known campsites for shells. They found 15, some of which were still live. All were exploded on site. Many more may exist and they are dangerous.
Since it is impossible to survey every acre of wilderness, we ask that you follow these recommendations; do not touch, move, or dig near or around the suspected ordinance, identify the area on a map or by terrain feature. On the ground, from a distance away, you can point out the location by making an arrow using rocks or sticks, or hanging a bandanna, walk away in the direction you came, and immediately call the Forest Service.
Maps and Brochures
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
River and Stream Fishing
- Bear Rocks FT #522- 2.4 miles; accessible trailhead: (39.06363, -79.3031935)
- Beaver Dam FT #520- 0.7 miles; accessible trailhead: (39.05308066, -79.30952758)
- Blackbird Knob FT #511- 4.7 miles; accessible trailhead: (39.03363616, -79.31428581)
- Northland Loop FT #569- 0.3 miles; accessible trailheads: (39.02763966, -79.31605607) or (39.02631445, -79.31644231),
- Fisher Spring Run FT #510- 2.5 miles; accessible trailhead: (39.006767, -79.327611)
- Wildlife FT #560- 1.5 miles; accessible trailhead: (38.9868002, -79.3295664)
- Rohrbaugh FT #508- 3.6 miles; accessible trailhead: (38.96310449, -79.35418099)
- Red Creek FT #514- 6.4 miles; accessible trailhead: (38.972343,-79.398247)
- Blackbird Knob FT #511- 4.7 miles; accessible trailhead: (39.032586, -79.3847292)
- Big Stonecoal FT #513- 4.3 miles; accessible trailhead same as Big Stonecoal FT #513
- Breathed Mountain FT #553- 2.5 miles; accessible trailhead same as Big Stonecoal FT #513.
For trail information, see Dolly Sods Wilderness Brochure and Trail Map.
See Dolly Sods Wilderness brochure for a list of several possible loop hikes. For more information, see Dolly Sods Wilderness Brochure, Trail Map and Expansion Map. Under day hiking is a list of all the trails in the wilderness with including mileage and accessible trailhead locations.
Big Game Hunting
Small Game Hunting
For those looking for wildlife, bird banding is performed in late summer and during the fall.
This area features unique scenery and unusual plant communities. The plant life here resembles Northern Canada. Flowering laurel, rhododendron and azaleas highlight this area from May through June. Huckleberry picking is popular during the month of July.
The area is generally open, with wide-spreading vistas.