Dolly Sods Wilderness - Novice, 12-mile Backpacking Trip

Date and Time

Wednesday, August 11, 2021 3:00PM - Friday, August 13, 2021 2:00PM


Dolly Sods Wilderness, Laneville,
West Virginia,
WV United States


Registration is required for this activity.


INTRODUCTION: This trip is designed as a follow-up activity for AMC Novice Backpacking Workshop participants. Workshop participants will be given priority for registration. On this three-day, two-night backpacking trip, we will be entering the Dolly Sods Wilderness by way of Canaan Valley (FR80). We will be hiking the high meadows of Big Stonecoal Run and Breathed Mountain and visiting the Lion's Head and the Forks of Red Creek. Trip features include waterfalls, stargazing, a nice swimming hole and blueberries, if the bears have left any for us. This trip has been scheduled on weekdays to enhance the wilderness experience for the crew. Dolly Sods Wilderness is a 17,000 acre remote wilderness area located in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia. The topography is dominated by the Red Creek watershed bounded by Cabin Mountain to the west and the Eastern Continental Divide to the east. Named for German-immigrants, that Dahle family that once worked this land, the Dolly Sods contains heath and bog eco-systems more representative of southern Canada than the neighboring forests. The blueberries should be ripe and dark-sky stargazing is promising.

AMC Trip Policy



Related Link(s):

Dolly Sods Wilderness Map
Dolly Sods Wilderness Brochure

Driving Directions

Click map for driving directions

DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITY: The route begins in Canaan Valley on FR80 (Wilderness Way Trail) hiking about 3 miles to camp near the junction of Big Stonecoal (513) and Dunkenbarger (558) Trails.  The next day we hike about six miles on the Rocky Point Trail (554) and the Red Creek Trail (514) visiting the Lion's Head overlook and a Red Creek swimming hole enroute to our camp on Breathed Mountain Trail (553).  On day three we hike about 3 miles back to our cars. DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY - Reasonable fitness for the expected activity is needed, but the trip is designed for those new to the activity. Expect to be active up to 4 hours/day.? GEAR: To protect your food from wildlife, you must have a bear canister or Ursack as there are bears in the area and very few trees for good bear bag hangs at the campsites we typically use. Trails are rocky and likely to be very muddy. DIRECTIONS: Confirmed participants will meet in the parking lot of the Canaan Valley State Park Campground and Recreation Center (approximately 1/2 mile west of Route 32 main entrance) no later than 3pm on Wednesday. Restrooms and a small camp store are available there. From the rendezvous we will drive approximately four miles to the parking location on Freeland Road (FR80). PARKING PERMIT REQUIRED: Every car must have an overnight parking permit approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leave it overnight on FR80; no exceptions. The FWS only issues ten permits per day for this location. The trip leader will provide directions to qualified registrants on how to obtain the permit, which can take a few days. To ensure compliance, participation will only be confirmed after receipt of your parking permit.

Big Stonecoal Run Waterfall



Offered By







Adults (18+)


I'm a retired sixty-something who enjoys being outdoors and exploring the wilderness. I've been leading small group adventures throughout Appalachia for more than twenty years. I like working with beginners and novices to help them develop their skills and confidence. Wilderness First Aid certified.