Dolly Sods Wilderness

“A bit of Canada gone astray”

The Dolly Sods Wilderness and Scenic Area is one of West Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest’s most treasured natural assets. Situated atop the highest plateau east of the Mississippi River, this U.S. Wilderness Area is characterized by weather typically found much further north in Canada. Avid backpackers and photographers know Dolly Sods to be a gem that delivers a true wilderness landscape and adventure.

Its rocky, boulder-strewn and densely forested landscape is home to several notable summits, including Coal Knob, Breathed Mountain and Blackbird Knob. The lofty elevation, much of it at nearly 4,000 feet, affords awe-inspiring views. More than 47 miles of hiking trails, some trail-to-rail and old logging roads, make the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area a fascinating place for hiking.

As a Wilderness area overnight camping comes with special regulations. Please refer to the US Forest Services guidelines before your journey into the wilderness. The “Sods”, as we call it, are as special a place you will find. The lush landscape, abundant fauna, and vast remoteness are fragile and need to be cared for.

True Four Seasons

Four distinct seasons revolve around 17,371 acres of West Virginia's Dolly Sods Wilderness.


Spring is a welcomed time of year, as Dolly Sods Wilderness sees long winters come to an end. Wild flowers, blooming mountain laurel, and newborn wildlife consume Dolly Sods Wilderness.


Perfect weather and ideal hiking conditions are a welcomed sign that summer has arrived. The trails have dried up and temperatures are typically 15 degrees cooler than low elevations of the mid-Atlantic.


September brings with it the anticipation of world renowned fall colors. Uninterrupted mountainsides of Maple, Cherry, Aspen and other tree species create a picture perfect backdrop.


Dolly Sods treats winter adventurers with a true test of will and proper preparation. Access into Dolly Sods via the Forest Service Road is closed from January first to April first every year. Trail heads at Red Creek and Forest Service Road 80 remain open.

Nearby Lodging

Lodging is available for the hiker that prefers staying in a bed versus sleeping bag. Canaan Valley is the closest location you will get to the main trail heads of Dolly Sods. For a real treat, rent a house in the Timberline gated community with private access to Dolly Sods and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Eight miles from Canaan Valley are the historic mountain towns of Davis and Thomas. Both towns have lodging options within walking distance of live music, coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries.