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Dolly Sods / Monongahela National Forest, WV

Half Week Trip

Jul 11 - Jul 15, 2015 -- $700 ★★

While West Virginia is known for whitewater rafting, not many people know of an alpine wilderness destination in the Monongahela National Forest, called Dolly Sods. Dolly Sods is a roadless area considered one of the crown jewels of the Monongahela NF and has sweeping ridge views, health bogs, grassy plains, tundra-like features, canyons, creeks and spruce groves. Plus, we will spend an afternoon hanging out at an idyllic swimming hole during in mid-summer. For those who are limited by time constraints or just want to try out backpacking for the first time, this trip is a great introduction to Fatpacking.

Our journey will begin at the Southwest corner of Dolly and traverse counter-clockwise around the wilderness. There will be sweeping views such as those from iconic Lions Head. This loop is designed to give you a diverse sampling of the beauty this wilderness has to offer.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Historical July weather averages in the high-70s during the day and mid-50s at night. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 90s and the 30s at night. July is often rainy, so be prepared for precipitation with high quality raingear that we hopefully won't need to use.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Bruce Cannon


$700 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Dulles Airport (IAD) as well as personal equipment and any restaurant meals.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 3 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.

Important Note

Please Note: This is a half-week Trip that begins on a Saturday. You may also choose to join us for the second half-week trip, to Dolly Sods.

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Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fly or drive into Dulles Airport (IAD)

Take free airport shuttle to Homewood Suites by Hilton, Dulles Int'l Airport, 13460 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA, 20171, 703-793-1700

Equipment shakedown

Trip to REI Tempe, 1405 W Southern Ave, for forgotten or last minute equipment

Distribution of trail mix

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out to dinner in town, not included in trip cost

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Second set of before body composition measurements taken

Free Hotel Breakfast

Check out of Hotel

Shuttle van will take your spare bag(s) for safekeeping

Drive 3 hours to Red Creek Trailhead at the Southwest End of the Dolly Sods Wilderness off of FR19

Begin Hiking on the Red Creek Trail

Hike 0.7 miles on the Red Creek Trail to the Little Stonecoal Trail

Turn left towards Red Creek to scope out the end-of-trip water crossing, just in case of high water

Hike 0.9 miles on the Red Creek Trail to the Big Stonecoal Trail

Turn Right and hike 1.5 miles on the Red Creek Trail to the Fisher Spring Run Trail

Descend to Red Creek. There are many campsites here.

Camp along Red Creek, practicing Leave No Trace principles

Miles today: 3.1 miles. Total to date: 3.1 miles

Bailout: Forest Road 19

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hike 2.1 miles on the Red Creek Trail to the Breathed Mountain Trail

Turn right and hike 0.2 miles to "The Forks", an amazing swimming hole and waterfall. Take some time to swim and laze around here.

Hike 0.2 miles back on the Red Creek Trail to the Breathed Mountain Trail

Turn right and hike 0.3 miles uphill on the Breathed Mountain Trail to a highlands plateau with blueberry bogs and young red spruce.

Hike 2.1 miles on the Breathed Mountain Trail to the Big Stonecoal Trail

Turn left and hike 1.1 miles on the Big Stonecoal Trail to Big Stonecoal Run

Ford Big Stonecoal Run

Hike 1.3 miles on the Big Stonecoal Trail to the Dunkenbarger Trail

Set up camp here, drop your pack and pack your day-pack

Some say that the campsite here is the best campsite in the entire area

Day-hike 2.3 miles round-trip on the Rocky Point Trail. Lions head is one of the iconic lookouts in Dolly Sods

Camp at the old lumber camp where we set up earlier

Miles today: 9.6 miles. Total to date: 12.7 miles

Bailout: Route 37

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hike 1.6 miles on the Dunkenbarger Trail to the Little Stonecoal Trail

Turn left and hike 1.4 miles on the Little Stonecoal Trail to Red Creek.

Ford Red Creek

Hike 0.7 miles on the Red Creek Trail to the Red Creek Trailhead

End of Hike

Miles Today: 3.7. Total to Date: 16.4

Shuttle to Best Western Dulles Airport Inn, 45440 Holiday Drive, Sterling, VA, 20166, 703-471-8300

"After" body composition measurements taken

Dinner and Awards Ceremony at local restaurant (dinner not included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Free breakfast in Hotel

Check out of Hotel

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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