ON LONGER TRAILS

The vision of the Naturalist is always looking outwards-- new lands to discover, new environments to experience!!  On this page we want to share with you some fascinating places to visit outside of the Shenandoah Valley--  some near by, others further away!

                  Dolly Sods 

Two hours west of Winchester lies a highland plateau more characteristic of boreal tundra than typical Appalachia.  This is Dolly Sods Wildlife Area, a hundred square miles of stark and primitive beauty-- a place of remarkable history and evolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Sods_Wilderness

This is one of only a few areas in the East where you may not see another human from one horizon to another-- Dolly Sods leaves visitors with a lasting impression of our primitive wilderness heritage.

DOLLY SODS FR 75 GOING WEST FROM BEAR ROCKS

Directions:  OK-- this time you're gonna need some maps!  Might we suggest that you stop by Mountain Trails hiking shop http://www.mountain-trails.com/  and let them help you plan your trip!!  Dolly Sods can now be best approached to the northern end of the plateau:  Take the new corridor H from Wardensville, WV through Moorefield, and on past the Petersburg exits-- past Patterson Creek Road and Thorn Run road to the end of Corridor H which now ends on Knobley road. Follow the Petersburg signs west & couple miles travel brings you to turn right onto Rt 42 north; now after just 2 miles turn left onto Jordan Run Road.  Continue 4.5 miles and turn right onto Brushy Ridge Road, which is Forest Service Road 75 and has signs marking the turn to Dolly Sods.  Now make your ascent (20 min & 2000 ft!) up to the plateau; after 2.5 miles you will slowly climb up to Bear Rocks and the plateau view as pictured above.  Enjoy the scenic views as you drive another 2.5 miles past Red Creek campground & neighboring trails. The road eventually descends down the south edge of the plateau and rejoins Jordan Run Road where it intersects Rt. 55 just past Seneca Caverns.

THE ROAD IS DECENT: JUST TAKE YOUR TIME!
BEAR ROCKS
A CAMPSITE NEAR BEAR ROCKS
OUR CAMPER AT RED CREEK CAMPGROUD
THE BANDING STATION AT RED CREEK CAMPGROUND IN AUTUMN
A WARBLER IN THE HAND .. (IMM COMMON YELLOWTHROAT)
IN THE FOREST
IN FULL BLOOM
THE BOG: NORTHLAND LOOP TRAIL
SUNDEW PLANTS IN THE BOG

If you are going to hike or camp the Sods, you need to be serious about safety.  Bring compass & GPS and decent gear; remember that it can rain sideways on the Sods!  The trails can be confusing and it's easy to get lost; don't go in deep without topo maps! You need sunblock up here at 3900 ft elevation.  Be aware of snakes and also old military ordinance.  In the Red Creek area, you will always have FR 75 running north/south the length of the plateau-- but some areas are so rocky that you cannot travel in a straight line.

 

Much of Dolly Sods is quite rocky; conversely, the lower parts of the plateau are muddy peat bogs surrounding beaver ponds.  Be prepared for wet feet & clothes!