Cranberry Wilderness Backpacking (10/12 - 10/14)

  • October 12, 2013 · 8:15 AM
  • Vienna Metro (north)

The Cranberry Wilderness is a beautiful, secluded area of West Virginia's southern Monongahela National Forest. Join us for a three day hike through scenic forests and along streams. We'll be covering a 27 mile loop over terrain that ranges from 2400 ft to 4400 ft above sea level. The campsite on our second night will be near a waterfall.

We'll be hiking about 9 miles per day with some elevation change.  Though the terrain is moderate, this trip is meant for experienced backpackers only. 

Trip description:

Trail Map:

Getting There

We're going to meet for carpool at the Vienna Metro (North) at 8:15am. The drive is about 4:45 hours long, so please be on time. If no one has called by 8:30, we'll be on the road. There's a place near the metro where cars can be safely parked for three days.

If you'd prefer to drive directly to the trailhead, meet us there at 1:30pm.

I'll send out more information to the participants before the trip. This will include directions, a trail map, and my cell phone number.


When you RSVP, please let me know if you can drive or need a ride, what gear you have (tent, stove, water filter, etc), and if you're planning on bringing a dog. Please make sure your dog has frontline plus or an equivalent to ward off ticks.

If something comes up, please update your RSVP.  Other people might want to go.


Required Equipment

Make sure you bring your own food.  Temperatures might get below 30 degrees F at night.

- Backpack with shoulder straps and hip belt. We'll be carrying all of our gear throughout the trip.

- Tent

- Sleeping bag. A 20 degree bag will be fine.

- Sleeping pad

- Hiking boots: sneakers or trail shoes are not adequate!

- At least two quarts of water

- Rain jacket and pants or poncho

- A fleece or another jacket for warmth

- Hat and gloves

- Headlamp / flashlight

- Your own food (2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners)

- Your own cooking pot, utensils

- Bag for food and soaps that can be hung from a tree (bear bag)

- Bug spray

- Sun block

- Little bit of t.p.

- Foot care stuff

- An extra shirt and pants. Synthetic clothes are better than cotton.

- Extra socks

I recommend putting your spare clothes, food, and anything else you don't want to get wet inside of large ziplock bags within your pack.

Optional Equipment

- Earplugs

- Sunglasses

- Toothbrush

- Lighter

- Sandals


- Have a ride: Please post where you are coming from, what time, and how many spots you have.

- Need a ride: Post that you need a ride and contact any offers via e-mail for those that are offering rides.

Hope you can join us!

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  • Jasmine

    Thad: Hope you come this one up again.

    November 10, 2013

  • Jane

    Thanks Thad for organizing such a great trip! It was worth the long drive for the fall colors, the campsite by the waterfall, and the path by the stream. I will try to post some pics soon. It was great seeing everybody there!

    1 · October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any federal shutdown problems?
    I couldn't make this trip, but planning on taking daughter on maiden backpack this coming week/weekend to Dolly Sods. I'm not worried about being on the trails, but does anyone know if any roads are chained or gated locked? Was there any negative fallout from shutdown at Cranberry Wilderness.
    Appreciate any feedback.

    Bruce R

    October 14, 2013

    • Thad

      Hey, Bruce. The trip went well. No problems with the shutdown. You'll be fine at Dolly Sods. Have a good time. You'll see some cool stuff and plenty of mud.

      October 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      thanks, I appreciate the feedback. what an awesome community. (and hopefully a week of drying out will help at least a little. Last trip another daughter sank to her hip in a bog. Kinda funny except for worrying about whether her shoe would come up with her foot.)

      October 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I hiked the Tea Creek Wilderness this weekend. The campgrounds were gated, but plenty of parking at all the trail heads. Other than the impacts to the feds who are furloughed no negative impacts.


    October 14, 2013

  • Thad

    I will be driving. I have room for one more person.

    October 10, 2013

    • Thad

      Wendy, yes you can. Jane and I a driving from Pentagon City. We're meeting Chad and Annie in Vienna.

      October 11, 2013

    • Thad

      Are you in Arlington?

      October 11, 2013

  • Chris S.

    New to the group. I will be driving from Purcelleville, VA. Meet you at the trailhead.

    October 10, 2013

  • Julio C.

    hey Guys ! I'm sorry but I I have to cancel because I will have to work on Monday.. :( Next time !

    October 10, 2013

  • Aidin

    I really wanted to join this trip, But apparently I can make it due to my cracked hand problem. I hope you all enjoy.

    October 7, 2013

  • wendy

    Need ride. My gear-tent, sleeping bag, water filter, food, winter clothes, and a little bit of tp. I am prepared to hike 9.5 miles the first day. (I like to go the extra mile)

    September 29, 2013

    • Julio C.

      I will drive from DC

      October 6, 2013

  • Julio C.

    Hey guys! I'm in. I will drive. (room for 3) I live in DC (Columbia heights) so, if someone needs the ride just let me know and I could pick you up.

    October 5, 2013

  • Martin

    prefer getting a ride.
    Thad - you might want to check with the park ranger to see if the park is still open. SNP is closed due to the Gov Shutdown

    October 2, 2013

    • Thad

      Hey, Martin. The Cranberry Wilderness is National Forest land. Since we don't need a permit and are not staying in a managed campground, we'll be fine. Thanks for the suggestion.

      October 4, 2013

  • Aidin

    I will drive. There is room for 2 in my car.

    October 4, 2013

  • Elyse G.

    Damn that looks fun! It's my grandma's birthday, though, so I'll be hiking it up to PA. Enjoy :)

    October 2, 2013

  • Malia

    I'm sad I can't make it to this one, but glad that the reason I can't make is it that I'll be backpacking in southern Utah (Moquith Mountain Wilderness Study Area, east of Zion) with the Wilderness Volunteers group I told you all about. Enjoy the trip!

    September 29, 2013

    • Thad

      Sounds like a great trip, Malia. Have a good time.

      September 29, 2013

  • Thad

    Check out some pictures from a previous trip:

    September 29, 2013

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