Summary: The views in Dolly Sods makes the difficult drive worth every minute. This trail can be done in a single day, but to fully enjoy it I would recommend camping or backpacking over the course of two days. This will provide time to explore the area and many side trails to waterfalls.
The upper portions of this trail lead through a sub-alpine tundra with vegetation (e.g. reindeer moss) otherwise only found in Canada and other arctic areas. The trail will lead downward through some boggy areas (be prepared for mud) passing beaver dams, expansive meadows, and aspen and spruce groves. As the trail closes in on Red Creek you will have a couple of minor stream crossings.
Descending into the Red Creek canyon, the terrain will change dramatically to the more typical easterna forests, marked by abundant firs, oaks, and maples. There are plenty of swimming holes and watefalls and one major stream crossing.
Hurricane/flooding has obscured some of the lower trail.
Trailhead: Traveling to Dolly Sods is not easy! The following is from the Forest Service web site, but I would recommend that you consult a map as well.
Forest Roads 75 and 19 are graveled, narrow and rough. Heavy traffic and dusty conditions can be encountered on many weekends.
From Petersburg, WV: Follow State Route 42 north to Jordan Run Road. Turn left onto Jordan Run Road and proceed approximately five miles to Forest Road 75. Turn right and go four miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area.
Follow State Route 28 and 55 south to Jordan Run Road. Turn right and go one mile on Jordan Run Road to Forest Road 19. Turn left and follow Forest Road 19 six miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area.
From Canaan Valley, WV: Follow Route 32 south to the Laneville Road. Turn left and follow the Laneville Road ten miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area. Before reaching the Scenic Area, the road passes several trailheads and the Dolly Sods Picnic Area.
Trail Guides for Dolly Sods Red Creek Trail:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Monongahela National Forest, Potomac Ranger District (304)257-4488
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Brian Talbert, who has posted 20 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Lorax on 8/11/2009
Don't go here. It is magical. Too many people will ruin it. Only the hardy can make this hike. Getting lost is very easy. GPS and the Canaan Valley Adventure Map are a must. Find "Eden" and you'll never forget it. It's there. I found it.
Reviewed by AL on 6/11/2008
This is an amazing hike, I found out about it from this website and tried it out. Lots of water crossings, bring water shoes. Be warned, some of the trails in Dolly Sods are poorly marked. Signage is very poor and mostly the trails are marked with cairns. Seems if you stay on Red Creek Trail it is pretty easy to follow, but we nearly got lost trying to follow trail 510 back to the main road. All the locals we talked to told us it is pretty easy to get lost in Dolly Sods. So be careful, especially you novice hikers. Bring a GPS/compass and map and take it seriously. No cell phone service within an hour driving distance of the park. Also if you follow Red Creek Trail all the way you will end up miles from your car.
Reviewed by R.L. on 10/26/2007
Just hiked this one last weekend to check out Autumn foliage and this place is a gem. Within a short hike your scenaries kept changing - passing through pine forest, crimson and yellow meadows, open tundra with crimson bushes, and stunning maple forest. The highlight of the trail is the Red Creek but unfortunately due to drought in the East Coast, the water level is quite low. This place is not easily accessible so it's not too crowded at all. Overall a GREAT hiking trail.
Reviewed by Watson on 5/11/2007
I have hiked in several "top ten" places of all hikers, and this is truly an unsung hero. Tie your food as there is lots of bear sign and tons of racoons. Beautiful waterfalls and many opps to see wildlife.
Reviewed by Forest Wander on 4/20/2007
This is the best place to go in West Virginia in my opinion. My son and I hike here all the time and we take pictures. You are welcome to view our pictures at http://www.forestwander.com
Reviewed by Aaron on 4/2/2006
This is a personal favorite of ours. Worth all the effort to get there. Definitely camp a night at the "forks" of Red Creek. HIKER BEWARE: make absolutely sure you know what the weather forecast is. During periods of heavy rain, the creek floods and the crossings can be treacherous.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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