Dolly Sods Wilderness, West Virginia
10.8 miles
2 days

Long drive, short circuit, unbelievable scenery.

The 17,371-acre Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest is known for its high mountain meadows and long, sweeping views. Elevations range from 2,500 to 4,700 feet, and the bog and heath eco-types that dominate are less like the Southern Appalachians, more like what you’d find in southern Canada. From the high meadows, the fields of ferns and the higher, rockier elevations offering views of the wide valleys below, the stop-and-drop-your-jaw ogle factor could easily turn what physically should be a day trip into a slow-rolling three-day journey.

The folks at recommend a route that starts from the trailhead off WV 75 and heads down Bear Rocks Trail, picks up the Raven Ridge Trail, followed by Rocky Ridge Trail (the trail gets rocky and can be especially hard to follow here; since this is a wilderness the trails are not blazed, so keep an eye peeled for the occasional cairn). From the summit you’ll catch views of the Canaan Valley to the southwest. Pick up the Dobbin Grade Trail, which brings you back to the Bear Rocks Trail and the return to the trailhead. Since you’ve driven all this way, you likely won’t be content with just a two- (or three) day trip. Worry not: The Dolly Sods and Monongahela National Forest offer plenty of additional backpacking options. is a good place to search for those options.

More info:


Type of hike: circuit
Trailhead: Off WV 75, about 6.2 miles south of Jordan Run Road, west of Petersburg.
Distance from downtown Charlottesville: 161 miles (3 hours)
To get there, go here.
GPS: 39.06352, -79.30326
Camping: Various sites, with water along the way.
Reservations? No
Map here.
Cost? No.
Seasonal? Best in spring, summer, fall