Feeling the first blast of summer hitting DC after a short spring got me to thinking of hiking somewhere just a little cooler. And what better place to visit than Dolly Sods, one of the few summer spots within reach of a short drive of the DC area. With temperatures in the scenic area a good 10-15 degrees cooler than DC, and some really unique views, this trip has something for both first-timers to the Sods as well as returners. Karan and Jimmy are going to help lead this, and over the course of one weekend, we'll be visiting almost every trail in the park.
We'll meet up at Vienna at 5PM on Friday the 13th. We'll be driving some variant of this route (https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Vienna+Metro,+Saintsbury+Dr,+Oakton,+VA+22031/38.9722,-firstname.lastname@example.org,-78.3317236,7z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!4m7!1m5!1m1!1s0x89b64bf3dd9a9bff:0x81f73f3c1c3278fa!2m2!1d-77.270058!2d38.877196!1m0?hl=en), with a quick stop built in. After a short hike in, we'll make camp somewhere along Red Creek. Our route on Saturday will be somewhat dependent on where we camp, since we'll either hike up Dunkenbarger or Big Stonecoal in the morning. Our morning route will take us up the 'spine' of Dolly Sods, and I'm guessing we'll go up to Dobbin Grade before heading east to reconnect with Red Creek. Now for the change: we'll hike out of Dolly Sods along the Fisher Spring and Rohrbaugh Plains trails to connect with the South Prong trail into Roaring Plains. We have a few options for Saturday camp (Hidden Passage is the most likely), but the sites will be bigger than the one originally under consideration. On Sunday, we'll explore Roaring Plains (dependent on Saturday camp), but probably no more than 8-10 miles total.
I'm thinking our route total will end up in the 30s with considerably more walking Saturday than Sunday. I didn't pull out the string or a GPS file for this estimate, so please consider that we might go over a bit in your decision to attend.
We will be stopping to get barbecue on the way home.
- Start at Red Creek Trail Head, and walk .5-1.5 miles depending on where we find camp.
- Red Creek Trail (514)
- Left onto Little Stoncoal (552)
- Then onto Dunkenbarger (558)
- Left onto Big Stoncoal (513)
- To Blackbird Knob (511)
- Left onto Rocky Ridge (524)
- Right onto Dobbin Grade (526)
- Right onto Upper Red Creek (509)
- Right onto Blackbird Knob (511)
- Left onto Red Creek Trail (514)
- Left onto Fisher Spring Run (510)
- Right onto Rohrbaugh (508)
- Road walk south on FR 19 (till past the picnic area)
- Left onto the South Prong Trail
- Find camping about 1.5 miles in.
- South Prong Trail southbound
- Left onto the Hidden Passage/Jeep Trail
- Left onto the Pipeline
- Right onto the Canyon Rim Trail
- Right onto the Tee Pee Trail
- Right onto the Roaring Plains Trail
- Cross Pipline onto Forrest Road 70
- Left onto Boar's Nest Trail
- Left onto FR 19 back to Cars
Trip size is limited to 10 people. Also, seeing that we'll need a 3rd driver (I'm likely coming back from Michigan the weekend before and won't be up for driving), I'm setting this trip to a waitlist. I'll take RSVPs in the order they're received, but if you have a car, you will get the first spot in.
Secondly, given the number of twists and turns we'll be taking (and given that Dolly Sods/Roaring Plains is not blazed), you will need to possess map/compass skills to attend, so a proven history with the group is requested. While we will do our best to stay together, you should have the wherewithal to make it to camp or the cars if we do get separated. Make sure to print out the relevant maps for this trip. I'd recommend the overview map:
and the topo maps here:
Also, by RSVPing, you agree to our Liability Waiver (http://www.meetup.com/DC-UL-Backpacking/pages/Liability_Waiver/). Any questions? Drop me or one of the other organizers a line. Hope you can make it!