Past Meetup

MO/VMO: Dolly Sods + Roaring Plains Outside Loop (~36 Miles)

This Meetup is past

10 people went

Vienna Metro (North Parking Lot)

9490 Virginia Center Blvd · Vienna, VA

How to find us

Brian (B~~~) will organize the DC rendezvous and carpool.

Location image of event venue


Photo credit: Karan G (Beer Angel) Dolly Sods, October 2017

Hosted by: John C (The Look, DOC) and Brian H (B~~~~)

I've (DOC) never backpacked in Dolly Sods or Roaring Plains (except for near disastrous route finding in RP!) in the fall season or any other season. With a little luck, we should have great weather and fall colors for the first weekend in October. We are planning to cover both regions hiking a big perimeter loop. With the record breaking popularity of Merritt's Dolly Sods trip (20 attendees, 18 wait list!), we will hopefully give a few DC UL folks the opportunity to hike in Dolly Sods the same weekend.

The plan is to leave from Vienna metro and drive to the Red Creek Trailhead (SW corner of Dolly Sods Wilderness) following this route:


We will hike in ~1.5 miles to camp somewhere along the Red Creek Trail Friday evening. Expect to rise early on Saturday - we have ~24 miles to cover hiking . We will hike north in Dolly Sods along the Red Creek trail, Big Stone Coal trail, out/back to Lions Head, Rocky Ridge trail to the northern boundary of Dolly Sods. We'll continue on the Raven Ridge trail towards Blackbird Knob and then pick up the Red Creek trail, Fisher Spring Run trail, and finally the Rohrbaugh trail heading into Roaring Plains where we will camp Saturday night about 2.5 miles south of the Dolly Sods southern boundary. We may adjust the splits or the Roaring Plains section based on the speed of the group (shorter only!) but expect to hike 20+ miles on Saturday with up to 4000 ft of elevation gain.

On Sunday, we will hike across the southern edge of Roaring Plains along the Canyon Rim trail and eventually back to the trail head. We anticipate some route finding challenges and will require everyone to bring maps and have the route loaded on your smartphone (GAIA GPS or Backcountry Navigator are both excellent apps) This section is roughly ~10.5 miles. We will hike together as a group in Roaring Plains - navigation here is no joke.

So, splits are 1.5/24/10.5 for a total of 36 miles. Members can easily fulfill their 20+ mile day requirement.

Brian and I have posted this trip as MO/VMO because the long Saturday segment and the route finding/navigation challenges in Roaring Plains. **Minimum requirements** for the trip are DC UL Member status + completing Route Finding 101 OR Member Status + strong recommendation by DC UL Organizer who hosted a trip you completed. The number of spots is set at 6 for now but we may add a couple more spots.

Here's a sketch of the plan:

Note: This is a Member Only/Veteran Member Only trip. If you are a Member and interested in joining, message me.

Map referring to trails in Dolly Sods:

Reference Trips:
Dolly Sods (camping spots):

Roaring Plains (Camping/Water):

By RSVPing to this trip, you agree to DC UL's Liability Waiver -