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Monongahela National Forest Trip Planning help

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Can anyone suggest a good itinerary for Monongahela National Forest? Our troop does high (10-15 mi per day for 15 people ) and adventure (3 -5 mi/day for new guys 20 people) backpacking trips and wanted to go to WV this year. Any route suggestions ? This is for Oct 21-23rd.

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You could look at Dolly Sods Wilderness Area near Laneville, WV. The National Forest Service and US Army Corps of Engineers have good information and mapping on their web sites.


Dolly Sods is a plateau of about 50 square miles at about 4,000 feet elevation. Topographic relief is almost 800 feet in the southern valleys; 400 ft in the north. The trails are rocky. The vegetation is sub-Alpine with heather covered valleys in the north and bogs near the streams. Tree cover tends to be Spruce with dense canopy only in the valleys. A late October trip could very well experience below freezing daytime temperatures and snow brought in by 30 mph winds.


All in all it is a great trip. Good luck.


Eric Augustine, SM

Troop 287

Lakewood, OH

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Our Troop just returned from a six-day camping / backpacking trip to Seneca Rocks and deep into the wilds of Dolly Sods. I highly recommend both.


Seneca Rocks is a great hike/climb, and easily accessible from the beautiful group camping sites at Seneca Shadows (Forest Service campground). The rocks are spectacular and offer excellent views from the top.


This was our second foray into Dolly Sods. Last year we explored and traversed the great plains, rocks, and forests of the northern areas. This year we descended into the deep canyons and rock outcrops of the central wilderness, crossing forests and streams as we hiked amazing trails.


Both Seneca Rocks and the Dolly Sods wilderness will reward you and your Troop with beauty that will surprise and amaze you. Dolly Sods takes a bit to get to and hike into, but is well worth it. Seneca Rocks is much more accessible, and the group campsites are very nice, offer great view of the rocks, and have good facilities -- flush toilets & hot showers! Note that there is absolutely no cell service anywhere in the area -- something none of us missed!!

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I get a recurring itch to take my crew back to the Sods! We have a deep affection for the place, but she doesn't always return it with warmth, still waters, and low winds. October is the next opening on our schedule, but I have one youth whose circulation won't permit her to endure long hours in the cold. So, we may be stuck waiting until late April or May.


All that to say: have your boys come up with a plans B, C, and D. B and C should be alternative hike plans in case the road is closed to the insertion point for your plan A. D is what you will to do if you call the Potomac Ranger's station and they advise against traversing the Sods, period. Last time we went, we had to fall back on plan C.


If you or your boys use Facebook, check the Dolly Sods group (http://www.facebook.com/groups/44192266956/ One of the pics includes my crew "prepared as usual" [i say, eyes rolling]). They have some useful links, and are pretty quick to respond to questions. They should read all of the posts thoroughly. It's a good way for your troop to get into the planning.

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