Scenic USA - West Virginia

Dolly Sods Scenic Area

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Dolly Sods Scenic Area - Petersburg, West Virginia

Photos by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography

     Part of a large tract of wilderness land in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, Dolly Sods is found atop one of the highest plateaus east of the Mississippi. Its dense forestlands, rugged terrain and catchy name add up to some of West Virginia’s most fascinating, wild and scenic lands. Grouped with the Monongahela National Forest, Bear Rock Nature Preserve and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Sky Watching - Petersburg, West Virginia the entire Dolly Sods area has to be one of the state’s most noteworthy success stories. Once covered in an ancient forest of huge red spruce and hemlock (some trees measuring well over 12 feet in diameter), this timberland quickly gave in to area lumber mills. When the area was stripped of its tree canopy, the underbrush dried and easily succumbed to ravaging fire. The land remained barren, stripped of its forest and woodlands until the forest service arrived.
     The Dolly Sods name was an Americanized version of the first resident family sheepherders. The Dahle family, grazing their sheep in these West Virginia meadows (sods), eventually gave their name to the entire area. Today, in this recovered scenic area, Forest Road 75 visitors are able to explore the 2000 acre Dolly Sods Scenic Area. Complete with a picnic area, information station, campground and nature trail, the parcel is a popular stop in West Virginia's Potomac Highlands. This tranquil scene is just a short walk from an overlook parking area, taking in a grand view of the North Fork Valley. For avid explorers, an extensive web of trails are interlaced throughout the wilderness area. Between Dolly Sods and Flat Rock-Roaring Plains, a variety of trails entice hikers to explore the entire mountainous wilderness.

       Area Map

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