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Dolly Sods North Backpack 15 Miles

After meeting up we will drive the 4.5 to 5 hours to the Sods. Upon our arrival we will park at Bear Rocks and hike 1.02 miles along the Bear Rocks Trail (522) till it crosses Red Creek where we will make camp for the night.

Saturday we will head west on the Bear Rocks Trail (522) to the Raven Ridge Trail (521) to the Rocky ridge Trail (524) and finally to the Black Bird Knob Trail (511). We will camp Saturday night where the Black Bird Knob Trail (511) crosses the Left Fork of Red Creek. (8.7 miles)

Sunday we will continue on Black Bird Knob Trail (511) to the Upper Red Creek Trail (509) to Dobbin Grade (526) then back to Bear Rocks Trail (522) back to our cars for the drive home. (5.25 miles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a moderate 15 mile backpack through the scenic Dolly Sods North. You’ll walk through areas of breath-taking beauty. The entire trek is one big photo op. There are some deciduous forest along the way but you’ll spend most of your time walking through heath bogs on Dobbin Grade, grassy plains sprinkled with Spruce groves along Raven Ridge and the rocky, tundra-like ridge of Cabin Mountain. There will be views in every direction. Although there are suitable campsites throughout the area this description has you camping in a Red Spruce grove along the Left Fork of Red Creek.

 

There are some wet spots, especially along Dobbin Grade so have some dry footwear waiting for you back at the car. Also remember that mountain top weather can change with a wink of an eye and in many instances you might be totally exposed to the elements so pack accordingly.



http://mrhyker.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/mnf-dsn-bp-w.jpg

 

Dolly Sods is well known for its often extreme and mercurial climate. Sun, rain, snow, and fog are all possible within an hour. Cool, wet weather prevails throughout the year. Although summer temperatures can reach the 80s or higher, frost is possible at any time of the year in higher elevations (above 4,000 feet) and winter temperatures can dip below zero. Yearly precipitation is more than 55 inches. Precipitation is heavy because rising air masses cool as they hit the higher mountains and deposit moisture. Snowfall is impressive and may reach 150 inches in a year. This heavy snow breaks down trees and shrubs. Heavy glazes of ice and deposits of rime frost also break down trees and shrubs, giving them their characteristic forms and gnarled appearance. Prevailing winds are from the west and blow almost constantly. The effect of these winds can be seen in the flag-form red spruce trees; their branches grow on one side, away from the wind. Frost and snow effects also contribute to the flag-form shape of the trees. Because of the drying influence of the wind, no branches are produced on the west side of the tree above the protective shrub layer. Stunted branches on the east side give the trees a twisted appearance. Where spruce are protected by a shrub layer, luxuriant webs of branches extend for a radius of a dozen feet, giving a mat-like look to vegetation.[13]

The explosive collision of air masses attendant upon the Allegheny Front dumps many tons of snow on Dolly Sods each winter. During the winter of 2003, 290 inches (7.3 m) of snow fell in the area. Humid and warmer air from the Potomac River Valley to the east and south meets colder Canadian air blowing off the Great Lakes. This churns and produces the locally severe weather that can sometimes rival that of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

This section of the Allegheny Front is one of the windiest spots east of the Mississippi, a fact responsible for the wind farming that is now so highly visible just north of Bear Rocks. Wind recorders in the Wilderness have been known to blow away in the gusts that can exceed 100 miles per hour. Just to the west in Canaan Valley, temperatures of 40° F below zero have been recorded.

I have encountered snow here  before the first week of October and others I know have also, most recent 3 years ago, 2' fell.

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  • Phil

    October 8, 2013

  • Jake S.

    We're here and haven't been able to find y'all. Got into Wise shelter area at 1:30am, crossed creek and knocked on wrong tent. Waited 1 1/2 hours south of scales on AT. Did pine mountain trail hoping to run into group and are now back up in Grayson.

    October 5, 2013

    • Mike G.

      I am just glad everyone had a good time, the rain held off, and we got to see all the ponies and longhorns one could ask for. We also got to hear some coyotes on Saturday night...did you guys hear them too from where you were camping? It was before we went to bed, maybe 9 pm or so

      October 7, 2013

    • Jake S.

      It was a good time all around. I think we climbed into our bags around 2:00 Saturday morning and were up breaking camp by 7:15. Amy and Mike were great company and even with little sleep and some decent miles we had a great time.

      October 7, 2013

  • Phil

    We went to Grayson Highlands instead, due to questions from the Gov't shutdown. Weather was fantastic, the leaves were 'peaking' which was a nice surprise. Walked thru 2 or 3 herds of ponies and 2 herds of Texas Longhorns (not joking!), one of which was at out campsite for a while!! Great folks, great laughs, unfortunately we missed the evening group!

    October 7, 2013

  • Mark

    Sorry guys our start will be to late. Have fun up there and stay dry!!

    October 4, 2013

    • Mark

      See you next trip

      October 4, 2013

  • Jake S.

    Highlander is gassed up and just waiting for the evening crew. Have a safe drive and see y'all this evening.

    1 · October 4, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Yeah, it looks like the weather would be better in the Sods too with the hurricane coming up the valley. But it is what it will be. See you all tomorrow.

    October 3, 2013

  • Mike G.

    After all this, I find out the MNF is still open, including FR 70....here is what someone posted on a forum in response to a question I posed a couple of days ago: Per the Charleston Gazette, the Monongahela National Forest is open,http://www.wvgazette.com/News/... , and I climbed at Seneca Rocks yesterday among a number of other visitors. I assume that the visitors
    center was closed, but they had not locked outdoor restrooms. In addition, many gates are open for hunting season, including FR 70, which turns off FR 19 and leads to Roaring Plains. Not advocating switching back, but it just makes you shake your head that we couldn't get a straight answer anywhere a couple of days ago!

    1 · October 3, 2013

    • Jake S.

      So what are we doing?

      October 3, 2013

    • Mike G.

      GHSP of course!!!!

      October 3, 2013

  • Mike G.

    I am printing out some maps to bring in case anyone needs one.

    October 3, 2013

    • Ken M.

      Cool I need one or you can send me the link. Thanks

      October 3, 2013

    • Mike G.

      I just uploaded it to the "files" section of the OCB page. Click "more" at the top of the page.

      October 3, 2013

  • Phil

    I just called the GHSP rangers about 'da bear', ranger said bear has been 'relocated', we can all calm down now....

    October 3, 2013

    • Phil

      don't forget the Texas Longhorns!

      October 3, 2013

    • Jake S.

      Cool enough. Should be there by midnight, and I plan on getting up and fishing the creek there at sunup. Nobody panic if I'm missing in the morning when people start getting up. I'll stick to within 200 or so yards south of the meadow

      October 3, 2013

  • Jake S.

    What time do we plan to start hiking Saturday morning. The only place worth fishing is going to be right where we camp Friday night. May just leave the flyrod home if we plan on an early start.

    October 3, 2013

    • Mike G.

      I am guessing we won't be in a great big hurry, especially since you guys are getting in so late.

      October 3, 2013

    • Phil

      not until the pancakes and sausages are consumed

      October 3, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Sounds good Joe. See you tomorrow at 10.

    October 3, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Okay I have a rental car through wednesday of next week so I can drive. I would like to have some company and want to leave in the AM from Richmond. Anyone want to join me?

    October 3, 2013

    • Joe

      Yes. meet you at park and ride at 10am tomorrow.

      October 3, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Not sure I will have a car or not. Mine has been in the body shop for the last 12 days. May be ready friday. I have a rental but need to figure out for how long depending on when mine is ready. Should know more tomorrow. My plans for the weekend depend on the outcome.

    October 2, 2013

    • Mike G.

      I hope maybe Joe can drive, then you might can catch a ride with him!

      October 2, 2013

    • Joe

      I can drive. I will likely get 25-27 mpg. Ken, if your car gets better than perhaps better to take yours???

      October 3, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Ok, it's set Amy, Jake and myself are leaving around 4pm from NN. Mark if you are still going and want to follow us give me a call.
    [masked]

    October 2, 2013

    • Mark

      I don't think we will make NN by 4 pm, but we plan in still going

      October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      Sounds good Mike. I figure we'll drive straight thru to the Christiansburg exit. Top off the tank at the Shell station, hit the restrooms and then punch it to Marion exit and highlands parkway. Already have the overnight permit done all we have to do is park and head up the spur trail.

      October 3, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Seeing the possibility of bears (we never saw any evidence of a bear last time), what is everyone doing for food protection? We may just pack our bear canister.

    October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      Odorproof liner inside of Waterproof Bear bag hung PCT style

      October 3, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Just noticed. We are making history, as this will be the group's 100th meetup!!

    3 · October 2, 2013

  • Lisa

    Just FYI, Wilson shelter is closed due to bear activity. I was just there last weekend. Accidentally slipped into creek about a half mile from the shelter. While I was sitting to wring my socks out, I look up to see Mr. Bear standing on the trail about 100 feet away watching me. We both kind of stared at each other for what seemed like five minutes but I'm sure was less than a minute, before he finally walked off trail. Just wanted you guys to know so you can be prudent with food, etc.

    October 2, 2013

  • Phil

    ok, decision made, GHSP/Mt Rogers loop. Still meet up at Richmond park and ride 1000hrs Friday. Camp at meadow on wilson creek, on AT, about 200 yds past shelter; about 1.6 or so miles from GHSP overnight parking lot. From parking lot take AT access trail to...wait for it...AT, turn RIGHT on trail (AT) follow to shelter, then cross bridge at creek, meadow on the right. thanks everyone for being patient as we sorted this out.

    October 2, 2013

    • Mike G.

      http://www.midatlanti...­ Note that he goes backwards from the way we are going

      October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      That works for me. Mike and Amy, if that works for you let's try to get as early a start on the road as possible. Looking at probably a 7 hour drive with friday traffic, gas, and food. Puts us at the trailhead around Midnight if we hit the road at 4:30

      October 2, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Per Zack's request, and perhaps others need it too, here is a link to the map of the area. http://files.meetup.com/751131/Mount%20Rogers%20Map.jpg

    Here is another meetup that did approximately the same trip: http://www.meetup.com/Blue-Ridge-Backpackers/events/15950763/

    October 2, 2013

  • Mike B.

    It does not matter to me where we go, let's just make a decision.

    October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I agree so GHSP it is. I can take max of4 4 with me. We can work out the route tonight

      October 2, 2013

  • Phil

    just talked to head ranger at GHSP, a car coming in late from VB can just self register at the gate ($8) for the weekend, no problem - and - bonus - there are longhorn cattle rounded up at the Scales!

    I vote scales, but we should try to decide tonight so we can get on with packing.

    1 · October 2, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Hiking Upward on Facebook just put this up: So are you planning on hiking this weekend? Here are the basics of the closures: All federal Park or Forestry Lands including the Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, Jefferson National Forest, and Monongahela National Forest are closed. State Parks and Municipal Lands are not included in this restriction.

    Let's just go to GHSP. At least we have a state ranger who one of us has actually talked to who says it's ok.

    October 2, 2013

  • Jake S.

    From what pictures I've seen online there are signs stating closures at major George Washington National Forest trailheads. May be the same way in Monongahela. This whole thing is making my head hurt

    October 2, 2013

    • Mike G.

      I wish Monongahela NF would do a release like the Plumas National Forest did...here is a quote from it: Visitors may continue to enjoy traveling on forest system roads and trails, cut firewood with a permit, hunt and camp, among other activities. All campgrounds without gates are open although services are curtailed.

      October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      (304)[masked] Here's the number for the WV Department of Agriculture. I'm in class or I would call. USFS falls under Ag, so they should have some info

      October 2, 2013

  • Joe

    One more option to consider. If gates are closed at dolly sods than park and hike in from there (unless it would be illegal). I have had to do that before when gates are closed for winter and i dont recall it being that far from gate to Bear Rocks. It would be going up in elevation at start of hike and add 1 (ish) mile on first and last day. Just something to consider.

    October 2, 2013

    • Mike G.

      We actually start this hike from the Bear Rocks Trailhead on the north end. I don't recall how far that is from the north gate on FR 75. If you zoom in on google maps, they actually show the trails. We start right by where FR75 makes a hairpin left turn and runs more or less north and south.

      October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      Let's do it. Worst case we hop the gate and take our chances

      October 2, 2013

  • Phil

    All - still can't find any info on the gates being opened or not. I called the climbing school at Seneca Rocks and got no help.
    Consider: According to google maps from my house to the Sods is 5hrs 16 min; to the Grayson overnight parking lot is 5hrs 55min. There is a great weekend hike at GHSP, hike 1.9 miles to Wilson Cr meadow, camp Friday night. Sat hike AT

    1 · October 2, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Horror story I envision...pull up to GHSP and buy backpacker lot pass. Guy says he can't sell you one because the Mt Rodgers National Rec Area is closed. He knows you can't backpack in the park because you can't camp anywhere but the campground, and you have no reservations. lol

      October 2, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I talked to one of the rangers, Ron yesterday, he said Mount Rogers is a national rec are and didn't fall under the closure. It is limbo more or less since the AT isn't owned or controlled by the Feds in the area. It is open and camping will not prevented or discouraged, GHSP is state and is open as are the facilities.

      October 2, 2013

  • Mark

    What time is the afternoon group leaving and from where. I know its posted, but its much easier to be lazy and ask, instead of digging thru the posts.

    October 2, 2013

  • Amy W.

    I like Three Ridges or St. Mary's. I was at GHSP not too long ago.

    October 2, 2013

  • Phil

    ok, my wife just made a good point, if they locked the gates, they would be locking people in! Hard to argue; lets vote. As for alternatives I'd rather go to GHSP, those riding with me would plan on being back to Hampton NLT 6pm sunday night.

    October 2, 2013

  • Ken M.

    A five hour drive to find a locked gate at midnight would suck. Still looking for a morning ride to wherever.

    1 · October 2, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Ok folks, here are a couple of options if we don't want to drive 5 hours just to find a locked gated. We could do three ridges, parking at the tye River about 13 miles for the weekend but a hard hike. The other choice is St. Mary's Widerness, about the same miles but easier hike. Both are only a 3 hour drive. Any opinions? I have done both of these many times over the years and know them well.

    October 2, 2013

  • Mike G.

    This news story seems to indicate that the national forest will remain open, but services would be stopped. We could be safe. http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201309300171


    Quote: While the 919,000-acre Monongahela National Forest would remain open, most of its public facilities, including developed campgrounds and visitor centers, would close, and many of its employees would be furloughed.

    October 1, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I've tried the number for every forest service district in the region and they're all unanswered and none have any messages about trespassing or trail closures. It really seems like they locked up the visitor centers and left. Worst case scenario there might be some forest service road gates locked and we can't get to the parking lot.

      October 1, 2013

    • Phil

      Read the article, it seems the gates would stay open since state road 75 traverses the edge of the Sods; just can't be sure.

      October 2, 2013

  • Jake S.

    So what's the consensus?

    October 2, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Phil, is dolly sods going to be open to the public during the shut down?

    October 1, 2013

    • Mike G.

      That sucks...I thought it was the "public" that owned it.

      October 1, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I'd have to agree. The GOP sent a bill to the Senate today along with a bunch of others that independently funded each department except for the ACA. I'm not getting into the politics of the healthcare bill, but the Senate kicked it back and told them all or nothing. So nothing is getting funded unless the GOP folds. After this big of a stand over it, I don't see that happening.

      October 1, 2013

  • Jake S.

    If the park is still closed come Friday and the trip is scrapped I plan on heading to Grayson Highlands for the weekend if anyone is interested in tagging along. The park manager down there said the AT into Mount Rogers will be open since it falls under some foot travel exception.

    October 1, 2013

    • Mike G.

      Whether to do a 16 hour drive to hike 15 miles is a hard choice.

      October 1, 2013

  • Phil

    Can somebody take Ken in Richmond; he's a great guy, good company, and doesn't bite!

    October 1, 2013

    • Ken M.

      Jake are you leaving in the AM or PM?

      October 1, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I'm leaving with the PM group. With Hampton Roads traffic I hope to be on the road by 6 or 6:15.

      October 1, 2013

  • Joe

    just to clarify, the morning group is meeting at 10am (not the original 9am) at the Richmond park-n-ride, I64 exit 173 Ashland Rd"?? I'm planning to be in the morning group. Any more room in someone car for me?? I consider myself a great guy, good company, and rarely bite (haha). I live near Richmond.

    October 1, 2013

    • Phil

      That's true, Joe is a really great guy also, who also needs a ride...

      October 1, 2013

  • Jake S.

    Does anyone know what the trout fishing situation is like up there? Thought about grabbing a weekend trout license and bringing a Tenkara rod for use at camp around the streams.

    September 28, 2013

    • Phil

      just got a pole for my B-Day, where are you getting your WV license and trout tag? Do you already have trout lures?

      October 1, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I'm going to be using a tenkara fly rod. You can get the permit through the West Virginia fisheries website. Make sure you get all of the endorsements though. Freshwater, forest service land, trout and I want to say there's another 2 dollar tag. Also be aware that it runs calendar year so basically you're looking at around 40 dollars for 2 days of fishing if you go with day permits like I did.

      October 1, 2013

  • Phil

    I love it when people bail at the last minute and don't bother to give any reason! Looks like we're at 11 and won't really need 2 groups!

    September 30, 2013

    • Paula G.

      Hey Mike I'm from Vegas ... Not you :)

      September 30, 2013

    • Mike B.

      Down too 11 people with 2 couples so we have 9 tents right now?

      1 · September 30, 2013

  • Jake S.

    Got bored this evening and calculated pack weight. 7.5lbs without food and water. Now I know where all my money has gone.

    September 30, 2013

    • Paula G.

      Mike and I like to compete for the heaviest pack, we are needy and strong :)

      September 30, 2013

  • Mark

    We are still in. Looks like we will drive up and meet the group at the campsite. Kitty had a school thing so we are not exactly sure when it will be done.

    September 30, 2013

    • Mark

      Roger, thanks Phil

      September 30, 2013

    • Mark

      Mike your reply just popped in as well, Thanks guys will let you know

      September 30, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Ok, another one bites the dust. Marilyn is out, Jake is back in. Jake I will call you after I talk to Amy. Amy give me a call as soon as you can so we can work out the meet up. Phil can you give me a call as soon as you can to go over a couple of things. Thanks everyone.

    September 30, 2013

    • Phil

      sure, my cell is[masked]

      September 30, 2013

    • Jake S.

      That's fine. I have class at the beach this afternoon so just leave a message if you don't get me.

      September 30, 2013

  • Ken M.

    Looking for a ride with the AM group out of Richmond. Anyone have room for one more?

    September 30, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Ok, looks like Amy and I are the only ones leaving in the afternoon or is their any one else looking to leave in the afternoon? Amy call me this week [masked]) and we'll work out when and were to meet, hope you can drive.

    September 29, 2013

    • Amy W.

      how about we flip for it?

      September 30, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I can wait and leave in the afternoon. Looks like there will be some rain up in Dolly Sods on Friday, so the fishing won't be great anyways. My business and home are next to one another so I have ample secure parking for anyone who needs it. My cell is[masked] I'm about 2 minutes off of 64 and 2 blocks from the Air and Space Museum

      September 30, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Marilyn we can meet you and ride together. Just let us know if you are going.

    September 30, 2013

  • Marilyn

    I may be interested in a ride from Richmond later Friday, will make my final decision if I can go by Tuesday/Wednesday. Would the later group be able to pick me up at the park n' ride noted by Phil? Or I can drive from Richmond if that helps anyone. Comfortably fit 4 in my Rav4. I just can't leave before @4:30ish.

    September 30, 2013

  • Phil

    carpools; morning group; let's meetup at the Richmond park-n-ride, I64 exit 173 Ashland Rd, at say...10am, we can convoy to the trail head from there. We'll stop in Harrisonburg for gas & lunch at Subway (but not gas at subway, he, he). If your carload wants to just meet at the campsite or trail head, that's fine also. Evening group - strongly recommend drivers coordinate to convoy to the trail head, either way please call me if you need to confirm directions to the TH and camp (it will be dark, duh!).

    If you can drive or if you need a ride, please be proactive and let people know, because there seems to be plenty of cars, and all cars are going thru Newport New and Richmond and can pick up riders. Whew! that's a long post!

    September 29, 2013

  • Mike B.

    Jake you are listed on the no go list, are you going or not going?

    September 29, 2013

    • Jake S.

      I am, I had to create a new account. Some sort of glitch when I changed my Facebook email. I can drive as well and can leave anytime after 5am

      September 29, 2013

    • Phil

      the 'other' Jake was on the NO list

      September 29, 2013

  • Phil

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5152038.pdf

    link to forest service dolly sods trail map, same one you pick up at the visitor center

    1 · September 29, 2013

  • Amy W.

    Mike, I get off work at 3:45. I work in Western Branch right of 664. Where do you want to meet?

    September 28, 2013

  • Amy W.

    I like Phil's answer! Anybody else interested in a late afternoon departure? I work in Western Branch and so can meet up on the Peninsula.

    September 26, 2013

    • Mike B.

      Amy, about what time will you be able to leave. I love a good night hike.

      September 28, 2013

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