Backpacking in Dolly Sods - Columbus Day Weekend (10/6 - 10/8)

  • October 6, 2012 · 8:30 AM
  • Vienna Metro (north)

Join us for a two night backpacking trip in one of the most scenic and unique areas of West Virginia. Once you experience the climate and see the plant life, you'll feel as if you're in Canada (minus the hockey). This trip is for intermediate to experienced backpackers. It is not for beginners. We'll be hiking 24 miles over the course of three days. There will be a fair amount of elevation change. Yes, we're long overdue for a trip.  I sprained my ankle pretty badly this summer.  Feeling good now.

Getting There

We're going to meet for carpool at the Vienna Metro (North) at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning. We'll wait there for a maximum of 15 minutes. 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 PM. The drive will take about 3.5 hours.  
I'll send out more information to the participants before the trip. This will include directions, a trail map, my cell phone number, and more info about how to find us at the Vienna Metro.


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.

- 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, gloves

- Headlamp / flashlight

- Your own food (two breakfasts, three lunches, two 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

- A little liquor never hurt...

- Toothbrush

- Lighter

- Sandals or water shoes - we'll be crossing streams a few times


- 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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  • Iggy


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    October 14, 2012

  • Iggy


    Here's the info on the tech wash that I use, Atsko Sport Wash. It's the most economical tech fabric detergent available on the market. It's $16 after shipping fees for a bottle that provides 34 washes. That works out to $0.47/wash. It's worked with my snowboarding pants and I use it for wool and technical fabrics. My skin's sensitive and I haven't noticed any itchiness or allergies to clothing washed with the detergent.

    The company also sells directly, where you can purchase a 64 wash bottle for $24 after shipping fees. That works out to $0.375/wash.

    I'd suggest buying the smaller bottle first to try it out.

    October 14, 2012

  • Iggy

    Beautiful wilderness, and though I tweaked my Achilles tendon and split a toenail, it was still pretty sweet to see the Dolly Sods trails change so radically from the first day in to our third and final day. On the way in through Bear Rocks Trail, we saw bright red blueberry shrubs mixed with green bushes and golden wild grass, with yellow and green fall foliage and weathered boulders to complete the scenery. On the way back, the landscape was blanketed in snow. Perhaps we'll have an amazing winter season with loads of snow!

    October 14, 2012

  • Aileen

    Great photos and I love "the tree."

    October 12, 2012

  • Aileen

    Thad, thanks so much for sharing your photos!!! Awesome trip/fantabulous company.

    October 12, 2012

  • Thad

    Snow in early October at Dolly Sods? Unpossible. But very cool.

    October 12, 2012

  • Iggy

    Seems like about half the peeps on this trip need a ride (me included). I'm looking into renting a car for 3 days and can pick it up Friday night. Anyone interested in splitting the rental?

    October 4, 2012

    • Iggy

      FYI, instead of a rental, I have my roommate's car this weekend. I'll head to Vienna metro tomorrow morning.

      October 5, 2012

  • Aileen

    Hey everybody, Weekend weather for Dolly Sods looks like it includes rain. Be prepared :)

    October 4, 2012

    • Thad

      Yes. Also expect temps around 30 at night.

      October 5, 2012

    • Karl K.

      Due to the expected inclement weather, perhaps a waterproof bear bag is in order... ;)

      October 5, 2012

  • Thad

    We'll be hiking 8.5 miles the first day. The temperatures might be in the upper 30s at night.

    September 29, 2012

    • Ching

      I was there this weekend. The trail was very muddy at spots and it was freezing cold (around 30s) at night. The temperature dropped fast once the sun was gone. However, the color of the tree is definitely at its best right now. Simply amazing! I wish I could go back again this weekend (but have plans already).

      September 30, 2012

    • Thad

      Thanks, Ching.

      October 1, 2012

  • Sutikare O.

    This sounds like a fantastic trip, I'd love to make it, unfortunately I have a prior engagement. Hopefull the next time.

    September 29, 2012

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