Low elevation Winter Setup
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Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Dolly Sods v. Cranberry on 11/04/2005 07:35:34 MST Print View

Stephen;

Thanks for the list. I, too, live in Columbus (Hilliard). I have a map for Pisgah, but haven't even heard of the other places. Western PA has some nice places (several smallish SF areas) as well. Only 4 hours, or so from here. They are a bit too small for 3-season stuff (15 miles of trails or so each), but in the winter that could prove to be quite a trip.

Bob;

Not sure about access from the east. I might be making a call to the MNF service at some point during the winter to get more info. I'll post back what I hear.

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Dolly Sods v. Cranberry on 11/04/2005 09:44:04 MST Print View

Check out the Allegheny National Forest in PA. It won't be too far from you in that part of Ohio, and there are plenty of trails. The section of the North Country Trail that runs through it is 95 miles and is probably my favorite hiking spot. Just prepare for much colder weather than most other places in PA.

Stephen Parmenter
(parmens) - F - MLife

Locale: OH
Re: Dolly Sods access from the east on 11/04/2005 16:46:26 MST Print View

Bob,
I assume you are talking about the Laneville trailhead, it's in the SE part of Dolly Sods. (Bear Rocks is in the NE.) Any of the trailheads that I am aware of has miles of FS roads which are not plowed before you get to the trailhead.

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
east side Sods access on 11/04/2005 20:06:54 MST Print View

Stephen,

Laneville is in the SW corner of the wilderness area, isn't it? I hear you can access the Sods from there in the winter but then you have to cross Red Creek. Are the water level lower in the winter so that you can cross on rocks? I was there a couple weeks ago right after a storm and the water was waist deep. I haven't been there in the winter. Does it freeze over?

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: east side Sods access on 11/08/2005 14:41:51 MST Print View

I went the Laneville route to spend a night out in the Sods just before New Year last year. Although it was technically winter the conditions were about as benign as you could hope for. The road to Laneville is paved all the way to the Red Creek bridge (narrow and twisty, but since a number of people live on the road I'd guess it does get swept) but there was no snow when I was there.

There was ice on Red Creek but the creek is probably too wide and quick running to totally freeze over except in very cold conditions. We took our boots off, walked across the ice to the water's edge, waded shin deep through the freezing water, and then put our boots on at the other side. Wasn't too difficult because the water level was fairly low - I'd have second thoughts if the water level was knee high or higher.

Edited by gfinley001 on 11/08/2005 14:46:57 MST.

Stephen Parmenter
(parmens) - F - MLife

Locale: OH
Re: Re: east side Sods access on 11/08/2005 18:54:42 MST Print View

Bob,
Laneville is the most SW entrance, yes. But sorta south central, from what I remember without looking at a map. It is the lowest elevation trailhead, so should be the best winter entrance to a trailhead. I do believe though that there is a sign on the way to the trailhead which says they don't plow. So, watch the weather if you are going or call the ranger station.
Yes, you do have to cross Red Creek and it is quite wide where you have to cross. But my experience has been that unless there has been a lot of recent rain, that it runs fairly shallow and you can pretty much step across on rocks or at worst, knee deep water. I bring my sandals even in the winter, and running shorts, and if I have to, strip down to make the river crossing.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
east side Sods access on 11/09/2005 06:44:16 MST Print View

I still think it might be worth another 30-45 minute drive and take a lift up the northern most ski resort on the western edge of the sods. From the sattelite views one of the runs comes very close to FS80. Which is the western boundry of the wilderness.

Any ideas the name of that resort?

Frankly, I wouldn't be to surprised if FS80 isn't open up to that resort. Any one know?

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
resort on west side of Sods on 11/09/2005 07:21:15 MST Print View

It's Timberline Resort. I haven't been there, but I read somewhere it's $15 to ride the lift. Sounds like a good option to not have to worry about sliding off the plateau in your car or drowning in a ford ;)

Bob

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
resort on west side of Sods on 11/09/2005 07:38:26 MST Print View

That's definately the one. The Upper Salamander (Easy) run brings you right along FR80. After looking at the satellite photos (via World Wind) again, it also looks like you might have access to DS via the residential area just North of the ski resort. As the Eastern most road, runs parallel to FR80. I assume access to that neighborhood is available in the winter as that's probably the only reason why the homes are located there (to use the ski resort).

Charles Ledney
(lednec) - F
Re: Re: BD Flightlight on 11/10/2005 19:11:39 MST Print View

The Sods gets alot of snow in the winter and all the FS roads are pretty much impassable. I don't think there is any access from the east. From the west the easiest access is from Canaan Valley Ski resort. You can ride the lift to the top. You can also access it from the Whitegrass XC Ski Center. You take the Three Mile Run trail to the top. They allow you to snowshoe along the trail as long as you stay out of the tracks. They are a great bunch of folks and they run a lot of XC programs in the Sods every winter. There may even be an overnighter. You may want to contact them for more info on access.

http://www.whitegrass.com/

Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
Sods Winter Access on 04/18/2006 16:05:14 MDT Print View

Tony,
Just found this thread.

I hike & ski the Sods in winter, & can give you some info for next season.
Where did you end up for your first winter trip?

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Re: Sods Winter Access on 04/20/2006 06:40:47 MDT Print View

I had a serious ankle sprain in mid-Dec playing Wallyball. Haven't been able to do much (except for PT) since. Have my first trip planned in 2 weeks (4-day dolly sods trip to locate good "take my kids with me" loops).

Bob Gabbart
(bobg) - F
Re: Sods Winter Access on 04/20/2006 09:08:47 MDT Print View

Three Pinner,

I was planning on going up to Dolly Sods this winter but it never happened. Can you suggest access from the East? Is it possible to park by FR75 & Jordan Run Rd and then walk up?

Thanks,
Bob

Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
East entry on 04/21/2006 17:56:47 MDT Print View

Hi Bob,
Yes you could enter that way, but that would be one long boring unrelenting uphill slog. I'd do it on skis - with the anticipation of the downhill run at least!

There is another way in from the east, but it is a bit of work.
You could drive in to Laneville, and if it's plowed as far as the bridge over Red Creek, shovel out a place to park as close to the bridge as possible.

At the west end of the bridge (laneville side), there is a trail that goes strait uphill - part of the old abandoned high water route along red creek.
If you take that trail, it goes up and ends at an old railroad grade. Turn right and head upstream along the grade.
The grade runs parallel to red creek for a ways, then ends in a bunch of jumbled boulders. You can do one of two things:
If it's not icy, scramble down the boulders and you will end up at Little Stonecoal Run. I wouldn't recommend this if it's snowy/icy as it's pretty steep in places.
Or, as you are approaching the boulder field, the area between the old rr grade and Red creek opens up enough that you can see red creek off to your right. Scramble down off the rr grade here toward Red Creek. There is a small stream/wash right at the base of the RR grade that you will need to cross.
Walk toward Red Creek, and about half way between the Creek & the RR grade, you will see a fairly obvious way upstream, winding through a meadow & the trees eventually leading you to Little Stonecoal Run. Not really a trail anymore, but pretty easy to follow.
In either case, you will need to cross Little Stonecoal Run somewhere, (It's a fairly deep and narrow cut at this point)
Once across, you will quickly intersect Little STonecoal Trail and you can head uphill to Dunkenbarger, & on up to Big Stonecoal etc.

This avoids having to wade across Red Creek in winter conditions, but you will still likely have to wade across Dunkenbarger run when you get there.

Just one note about being up in the Sods in the winter.
have you ever really looked at the trees at Bear Rocks? They aren't flagged for nothing! When it's windy, it can be brutal, so go prepared for real winter conditions, and please don't underestimate how much work it is to get around in deep snow drifts. It's work even with skis, but man is it ever spectacular! (The boulder fields on Dunkenbarger would be particularly treacherous in icy conditions, and require cleats to navigate safely)

As another thought, you might try contacting the ranger station in Petersburg and talk to them about other possibilities, the Sods is part of their jurisdiction.
And at the risk of getting flamed and banned forever from the UL website, you could also snowmobile up the road to the top and hike from there.
nah........ I won't even THINK of suggesting that :-)

Edited by 3pinner on 04/21/2006 18:00:29 MDT.

Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
Tony on 04/21/2006 18:11:55 MDT Print View

Tony,
Sorry to hear about your ankle injury.
How old are the kids?

As long as I'm giving away my secrets, here's a couple of ideas for you. They're not loops, but short entry/exits that would be great for younger kids.
1) follow the directions for the old high water route in my post above. After you leave the rr gade and start heading up stream, you will come across a really nice meadow nestled in some trees that would be a great place to camp. It the kids are up to it, on the trip out you could continue up to Little Stone Coal trail and cross Red Creek there, the follow Red Creek trail back to your car at Laneville.

2) Take Blackbird Knob trail a short distance from the road until you begin passing a large pine grove on your right. Leave the trail and enter the pine grove. there are a lot of private places to camp here. Get your water at the REd Creek Campgrounds first as it is a dry site. Use the spring rather than the pump at the campgrounds. The only drawback is you are on a bluff above the campgrounds, and you will hear some campground & road noise in the distance.

3) Park at Bear Rocks. Just down the road is an obvious old eroded Jeep road heading west. Take that until it intersects Dobbin Grade - an old RR grade. Continue strait across Dobbin Grade and head toward Red Creek. There are some places to camp near where this informal trail intersects Red Creek.

That's it!!!
No more secrets!!!!
But if you do a web search, you can find maps with all this stuff on it.
Damed Internet has ruined my wilderness :-(
Have fun. It really is a remarkable place! (And prepare for muddy conditions)

Edited by 3pinner on 04/21/2006 18:14:04 MDT.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Dolly Sods -- Winter Access on 05/08/2006 09:49:55 MDT Print View

Just got back from a 4-trip to Dolly Sods. We had great weather. I didn't take the kids, 'cause I wanted to "test" my ankle without the extra weight. My father and I were able to hit 80% of the trails in "Dolly Sods North" (the "new" area north of Blackbird Knob trail). Amazing area. I love the openess so much more than the "woods and creek" stuff you find elsewhere in the Eastern US (save for NE). It was quite dry for this time of year and the creeks were noticeably low. Even so, the strech of Dobbin Grade between Raven Ridge and Beaver Dam had "mid-shin" deep marshy water. It appeared as though someone had tried to build a dam (it would have taken them 1-day plus to do what they did) along the trail to hold back the water. But I'm not sure why. As it actually made the trail worst. And I suspect the first hard rain would washout their efforts. IMO, it was sort of odd.

We also hit a few trails in the Southern (Wilderness) portion. I noticed that the intersection of Blackbird Knob trail, Breatbed Mtn Trail and Big Stonecoal Tail on Western edge is only 150' (yes feet) from the "elbow" in adjacent "Upper Salamander" ski slope at Timberline.

So, that ought to provide easy access to both the northern (exposed) and southern (wooded/creek) areas of Dolly Sods in the Winter.

Edited by tlbj6142 on 05/08/2006 10:59:13 MDT.

Bruce .
(3pinner) - F
Sods trip on 05/12/2006 19:51:29 MDT Print View

Hey tony,
Just saw your trip report, and yes that intersection is easy access from Salamander ski trail. That's where I usually enter on skis, lots of great touring possibilities.
As for the muck you had to slog through - that's one of the trademarks of hiking in the 'Sods. Wait till it rains a bit, then it's realllllly fun.
Make sure the kids all have gaiters. They'll need 'em!