I'm trying to get a small group together of maybe around 6 people who are interested in weekend backpacking and one night camping in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. I've been researching the best hikes and I think a total of 9 miles over two days would allow us to experience the highlights of the area. Also, at the end of September is a new moon and the Dolly Sods is what of the best dark sky areas on the east coast. I'm hoping to get some good photographs of the Milky Way, and of course the fall colors during the day. Let me know if you have experience here and/ or are interested.
yep, Dolly sods (or bogs) is fantastic! One of the two best backpacking places on the east coast (not in New Hampshire), the other place being the Mt Rogers National Recreation Area, specifically the area around Grayson Highlands. Reason being - you're NOT in a dreaded tree tunnel all weekend!!!
The issue is its remoteness, at least a 4-6hrs drive from most population centers, unless your in the DC area. It's remote, but it can become super crowded on summer holiday weekends. I have seen over 100 folks vie for camping spots along Red Creek drainage areas on summer weekends. (100+ around 1 area!)
That said, it pays to just take friday off or leave early on friday and hike in same day, camp saturday and make it a 2 night trip.
The beauty of the place is, you can hike all day in open fields, maintained/well marked trails, WITH ACTUAL VIEWS and then camp around any of the many creeks - in the trees.
One thing to watch out for, if there has been ANY rain withing the past 2-4 wks, the trails stay covered in water (if you're lucky), or deep mud. Be prepared to have wet shoes. Dolly "bogs".
Love that place. Pro tip - Lions head overlook, Rohrbaugh (rock outcrop area) overlook.