West Virginia Trip Reports

West Virginia photos

West Virginia features some of the most scenic backcountry in the eastern United States. The state features a variety of interesting areas. Our favorite is the dark forests, deep canyons, and high open plains of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. We visited the area for the first time in July of 2001. That summer, Fungirl spent a full week visiting her family in Pennsylvania. I didn't have that much vacation to spare, but I did go up for the 4th of July weekend. Fungirl stayed, while I returned home for a week. I didn't want to attempt the 10-hour drive by myself, so I took the scenic route home. I drove to the Seneca Rocks area, where I camped and did a couple of short hikes.

Seneca Rocks

I returned to West Virginia the next weekend. Fungirl needed a way home, and her parents agreed to bring her part of the way south. We met at Blackwater Falls State Park. Fungirl and I visited the falls and explored the rim of the canyon. Then we drove to the Dolly Sods area. We stayed at a primitive campground just outside the wilderness and dayhiked to Blackbird Knob, Bear Rocks, and the rim of Red Creek Canyon. Click on the link above to read the entire trip report.

Blackwater Falls

That trip gave us a taste of Dolly Sods that made us yearn for more. We returned the next summer for a 3-day backpacking trip. We hiked a long loop that took us through the high plains of the Dolly Sods Scenic Area, along the rim of the canyon, and by the waters of Red Creek. We had some company for part of the trip, as Kevin brought Leigh on her first backpacking trip. Highlights of the trip included abundant wildlife and a rare and spectacular celestial event. Click on the link above to read about it.

Dolly Sods

We returned to Dolly Sods in July of 2005. On this 3-day trip, we completed a grand tour of the area. We started near Laneville, at the mouth of Red Creek Canyon. We hiked out of the canyon on the Little Stonecoal and Dunkenbarger Trails. From there we hiked the western edge of the plateau through the High Plains, crossing Harmon Knob and Rocky Knob. We looped back on grassy Raven Ridge, before descending back into the canyon on the Red Creek Trail.

In June of 2007, I took advantage of a business trip to Pittsburgh to dayhike in the adjacent Roaring Plains area for the first time. On that hike, I combined the Boars Nest and South Prong Trails, along with a couple sections of dirt forest roads, to make a loop.

The maps of the Dolly Sods area are notoriously inaccurate. Follow this link to download or print quality topo maps for Dolly Sods.

Red Pines

We have taken a couple of trips to West Virginia outside of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. In June of 2000, Fungirl and I joined a group from my office for a whitewater rafting trip on the New River. The next day we hiked along the Bluestone River. In January, 2016, on a last-minute trip to Pennsylvania, I stopped in the New River Gorge National Recreation Area for a short hike in knee deep snow to Long Point. Photos.

Perhaps our most interesting adventure in West Virginia occurred underground. One weekend we met some friends at Rocky's cabin along secluded Second Creek. With Rocky as a guide, we spent one day exploring the narrow passages and beautiful formations of Patton Cave. I returned with Rocky several years later, for a trip in Organ Cave.

Patton Cave

Back to Hiking and Backpacking Trip Reports

Please remember to Leave No Trace!