Dolly Sods Wilderness

This Mountain State treasure spanning portions of Grant, Randolph and Tucker counties in West Virginia covers 17,000 acres filled with panoramic views and miles of trails to explore. 


People hiking on rock overlooking mountains in Dolly Sods Wilderness in Davis, West Virginia (photo courtesy of West Virginia Department of Tourism)

For some of the best untouched natural areas that the Mountain State has to offer, outdoor adventurers look to Dolly Sods Wilderness for its more than 17,000 acres that span scenic vistas, rocky outcrops, wind-stunted pines and panoramic mountain views. 

Situated along the Allegheny Plateau, this expanse of wilderness spanning West Virginia’s Grant, Randolph and Tucker counties was established in 1970 to protect the natural features of the region. 

With 47 miles of hiking trails, ranging from the short 0.3-mile Northland Loop Trail to the challenging 6.4-mile Red Creek Trail, treks here suit hikers of various skill and experience levels. Additional activities include primitive camping, bird-watching and river and stream fishing.

Dolly Sods Wilderness is also known for its spring wildflowers and autumn leaves. One of the most popular sites for visitors to explore is the 477-acre Bear Rocks Preserve. Maintained and operated by The Nature Conservancy, this rugged stretch of mountain wilderness features hiking trails that cross through a sea of plant life that includes rhododendron, mountain laurel and wild azalea. 

Visitors to Bear Rocks can see mountains as far east as Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, while the highest mountain in view is Mount Porte Crayon, which rises to an elevation of 4,770 feet. 

During the summer months, bird-watchers can keep an eye out for songbirds such as warblers, thrushes and vireos, while other animal life on the preserve includes the rare snowshoe hare. 

Dolly Sods Wilderness is in the mountains west of Petersburg and east of Canaan Valley, and it is recommended that visitors come prepared for their day of exploring with plenty of food, water and warm clothing due to the higher elevation. Parking is also more difficult to find during the busier season. For more information about visiting Dolly Sods Wilderness, go to To learn more about Bear Rocks Preserve, visit