- Canaan Mountain Backcountry and Winter 101 Trip!Canaan Loop Road, West Virginia, WV
Once again winter is almost here, this is a great way to start off the season. This is another classic trip I have done for years and it is usually the first place that gets reliable snow and a great location. How great? Michael and Catt met and actually got married here! So we always have a great time on this one with lots of great memories and fun!
Prepare to have a great bon fire and chili for Saturday dinner. We will plan the hike on the conditions, we could do anything from a few miles to half the day of hiking, after the camp chores are done.
This event is held in conjunction with the Washington Backpackers Meetup.
From the Forest Service Description for this area:
Canaan Mountain Backcountry is a high elevation plateau ranging in elevations from 4,145 feet at Pointy Knob to 3,100 feet near Blackwater Falls State Park. The semi-primitive area consists of approximately 13,532 acres on the top of the plateau. Since Canaan Mountain is relatively flat, there are many seasonally wet places.
Keep fires small and use only dead and down branches, however, we encourage the use of lightweight camping stoves.
Closest Towns: Canaan Valley, WV and Davis,
Next to the campsite, but all water should be considered to be contaminated by an intestinal parasite called Giardia. Vigorously boiling the water or a good quality water filter will eliminate the parasite.
Restroom: None, so come prepared to bury your waste and toilet paper.
Operated By: Monongahela National Forest Service
Map for Canaan Mountain Backcountry here:
Otter Creek Wilderness is 20,698 acres in size. The Otter Creek Wilderness lies in a bowl formed by Shavers Mountain and McGowan Mountain. Most of the streams flow north into Otter Creek. Vegetation consists of second-growth timber, rhododendron, and a variety of mosses and lichens. Elevations range from 1,800 feet at the mouth of Otter Creek to 3,900 feet on McGowan Mountain. Sometimes depending on the group we may hike over here as well, but not usually.
Map for Otter Creek Wilderness is here:
Click the link for Monongahela National Forest, Canaan Mountain Backcountry or Otter Creek Wilderness "Trail Map" to download your map and print it off and bring it in a zip lock bag. We will be car camping on Friday night at a great little spot I know. This will allow us to get an early start on Saturday hiking out to some stellar overlooks such as Chimney Rocks and Pointy Knob to name only 2 of many, and also enjoying some of that one of a kind high mountain red spruce and rhododendron in the snow on a high "Canadian Like" plateau to help get you into the Christmas Spirit! Total distance of the hike will be about 12 miles with about 2000' elevation gain/loss which makes this the ideal Winter Backpacking 101. You will get sweeping vistas, gorgeous high mountain bogs, majestic spruce, hemlock, moss and rocks, with some roaring streams thrown in for good measure. If there is enough snow, this is a great place to cross country ski and snowshoe!
Our campsite is on a great hiking loop I have laid out in the area with options from 4 to 12 miles.
Saturday dinner: Cost is about $20-$25/pp plus $5 for firewood. Bring cash and your beverage of choice.
Saturday group dinner for will be Texas Chili, Dutch Oven Style, with all the sides and fixins'. So you are responsible for Friday dinner and your breakfasts and lunches for Saturday and Sunday.
Additional Information on the Area here:
Finally my How to Backpack in all weather conditions and styles: https://www.meetup.com/dc-backpackers/files/
Scroll about halfway down the page to "Jim's Backpacking 101 and Advanced Backpacking..."
We follow Covid-19 protocols for everyone's safety!
More and more.....
Come prepared for some sleet just in case, but normally there is plenty of snow up on this high mountain plateau as the picture shows!
You can also stop for a great meal on the way home in nearby Davis. So time to saddle up for one of the finest areas you did not know about in the Midatlantic, one of my old haunts, and a grand adventure high up on the mountain!