Monday, July 8, 2013

Dolly Sods North: Bear Rocks Trail Loop

Canaan Valley View From Rocky Ridge Trail
Rocky Ridge Trail View From The Other Side Of Canaan Valley
   Two friends, Mindy and I headed out to the Dolly Sods in West Virginia for an overnight backpacking trip this past weekend. We haven't thrown on the packs since Colorado last July so it felt great to get our gear together and head into the bush for a night. The beautiful Dolly Sods was our destination. It has been two years or so since I backpacked the Red Creek Trail in this area and I was anxious to see what type of terrain the Dolly Sods North had to offer.


An Out West Feel On An East Coast Hike
Paul's Secret Campsite
   We left the car at a parking lot near the Bear Rocks Lookout and headed down the Bear Rocks Trail for 2.4 mile until the intersection of Raven Ridge Trail (took it to the right). The majority of Bear Rocks Trail goes through an awesome meadow that feels more like out west then east coast. The vast meadows and pine trees really make this hike worthwhile. The Raven Ridge Trail (2.8 miles long) offered more of the same views, the cloud cover was pretty dense by this time and obscured most of them but I would imagine they are breathtaking with good weather. We then hit the boundary of Dolly Sods and hooked a left onto the Rocky Ridge Trail. This trail was a ridge line trail that looked out over the Canaan Valley area and was lined with big rocks. We actually lost our way on this trail so beware! Rock Cairns were not existent and we had to bushwhack our way back onto the Rocky Ridge Trail. Mad props to the old Garmin for saving the day again. I believe the area we got lost on was around the scenic lookouts.....for whatever reason we needed to keep scrambling around the rocks down toward Canaan Valley and instead we went up a bit and got lost. One hour later we found our way and continued down the 3 mile long Rocky Ridge Trail until it intersected the Dobbin Grade Trail. The views across Canaan Valley though were awesome for the whole 3 miles even with some cloud cover.


Dobbin Grade Trail Mud Boggs
Upper Red Creek
   Our destination on the Dobbin Grade Trail was a so called spring with a hose attached to it. We were going to set up camp here but DID NOT FIND the spring with a hose attached to it???? For whatever reason we couldn't locate it, it is definitely not easily visible from the trail. Lucky we had Paul with us who has camped in the area many times and he got us to a nice campsite along the Upper Red Creek in 2.5 miles down the Dobbin Grade Trail. Note: The Dobbin Grade Trail is extremely boggy in certain areas, I fell through a bog all the way up to my thigh in one spot, if you don't want to get muddy avoid this trail. The scenery is well worth the mud though, a nice meadow stream follows you for the majority of the time.


View From Bear Rocks Trail
Bear Rocks Lookout
   After crashing for the night, we woke up and realized we only had 2 miles to go back to the car! We really pushed on day #1 traveling almost 10 miles (9.2 on trail) So we packed up and finished off the rest of the Dobbin Grade Trail back to the intersection of Bear Rocks Trail. Once we hit the junction we were back to where we started and went back to the car. This hike did not have any crazy climbs, elevation change was very limited on the route we took because of the plateau, the only issues we experienced were getting lost on Rocky Ridge Trail and not finding the Spring with a hose. Everything else was spectacular maybe the most scenic of any hike I've done on the East Coast, this loop gets 5 stars in my book and I will be back again, hopefully this time in the fall!








More Of The Bear Rocks Lookout View


West Virginia....Mountain Mamma......Take Me Home......

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