Dolly Sods Wilderness

Details

Website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=12366

Location: Vicinity of Davis, West Virginia.

Address: Red Creek Campground

                Forest Road 75

               Davis, WV 26260

Agency: US Forest Service

Primary Attractions: Highest plateau in the East.  Alpine bogs and meadows, krumholz, mountains, blueberry heaths, waterfalls, red spruce groves, rock formations, dense hardwood forests, Red Creek gorge

Miles of trail: 47

Entry Fees: None for general entry.  

Operating Hours: Open year-round.  Most park areas closed dusk until dawn.

Camping: Dispersed camping allowed anywhere in wilderness boundaries, except within 300 feet from road.  Many established campsites along creeks.

 

Summary

Dolly Sods Wilderness exists as a final stronghold of the ice age in the mid Atlantic.  Nestled in the Allegheny mountains, it is the highest plateau east of the Mississippi River.  Here you can find an environment more like southern Canada, with spruce trees, blueberry heaths, and sphagnum moss bogs.

The northern area of the Wilderness exhibits the most striking demonstration of this.  When the glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago, Dolly Sods (and the adjacent Roaring Plains area) remained high enough in elevation to support cold-weather species such as the flying squirrel, snowshoe hare, and red spruce.  As one follows the Red Creek into its gorge, towards the southern end of the wilderness, the environment becomes more of an Appalachian mixed hardwood forest, more typical of the region.  

The Blackbird Knob trail serves as the dividing line between north and south, and is heavily traveled, as almost any location in the wilderness is accessible from the various trails that connect to it.