Dolly Sods Wilderness Area

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Dolly Sods at dusk

 

We've made a few trips to Dolly Sods and usually in October.  The first several trips are consolidated into one story and two photo albums and are found at the Dolly Sods button.  The other trip was in 2006 and can be found at the Dolly Sods 2006 button.

Dolly Sods is part of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.  Its a wilderness area of 10,215 acres.  From the east, it is accessible from Route 55, 10 miles South of Petersburg.  From the West, you can get there from just South of Canaan Valley.  Either way its about 9 miles up a twisty dirt road to the top.

It gets its name from the early 1900's.  There was extensive timbering done on top of the mountain.  A family named Dahle established a claim on a few acres.  They burned the logged areas to try to get good grass cover for grazing.  These areas were called Sods.  Over time the area became known as Dolly Sods.

In 1943, the US Government used it as a practice range for artillery.  There has been a big effort to remove all unexploded munitions.  There are still many warning signs up but we've never seen any problems.  You need to pay attention if you're off the trails, though.

Dolly Sods is a great place.  Beautiful and usually peaceful.  My brother liked the place enough that his ashes were scattered there.  We've been on long hikes without seeing anyone.  We like people but this is a nice place to get away.  If you're there in the fall, though, bear in mind that it can get very cold.