Dolly Sods - packed with people
8 posts
7 users
1k+ views
2 months ago
Member since 11/25/2019 🔗
4 posts

Just got back from two days up @ Dolly Sods and while it was a great hike, weather, and scenery - I was stunned to see how busy and packed it was! Before life got in the way (moving up north, married, first kid) I used to regularly backpack up there from the early 2000’s through around 2012. I never remember seeing more than a handful of people each time we were up there for a weekend.

This past weekend, we found a great camping spot fairly isolated in the Northern part of the area on Friday night then decided to hike down to the Forks to set up camp then hike w/o packs to Lions Head. By the time we got back to our tent, within 100 yards there were at least 5 other tents and one of the tents was within 10 ft of my buddy’s tent. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I remember barely 10 years ago hiking up here and always being totally secluded when setting up camp. 

While it was great to get outdoors and back up to the area, I was very disappointed that the area was completely overwhelmed with people. It might just be me but it really detracted from the experience. I’ve always thought of Dolly Sods as the ideal “get away from it all” spot within a few hours of DC and that is definitely no longer the case. I swear I pass fewer people around the trails in Reston on most days.

End of rant… (maybe I’m getting old). Is this the new normal? Am I misremembering… has Dolly Sods always been crowded? Is this byproduct of Covid and the fact anyone can download a trail map off AllTrails?

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
2 months ago
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,931 posts
The WV Highlands Conservancy is pushing to gate the road on weekends. Not sure if that will fly but many people are aware and shocked by how crowded it has become. Hint: State Park Trails, Canaan Loop trails, and the Wildlife Refuge trails are much less crowded.
2 months ago
Member since 11/15/2005 🔗
279 posts
The last time I was there was the summer BEFORE covid started and it was way too busy for my tastes.  And pretty much any/all outdoor pursuits have gotten busier because of covid.  So I could only imagine what it's like now.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,485 posts

I was in Asheville last weekend helping my daughter move from one apartment to another.  Drove through downtown around lunch time just to see how things were.  It was packed with people walking around on the sidewalks.  No masks in sight.  In NC, I doubt that 100% of those people were vaccinated.

I expect all the campgrounds will be packed for the holiday weekend.  I'm staying home.

2 months ago
Member since 11/25/2019 🔗
4 posts

Thanks for the hint!

Although it would be hard to enforce given the number of entry points to the area, some type of permit/lottery system would be great. No day hikers on weekends in the summer/fall, take out 1/2 or more of the newly established fire pits, and heavy fines for using the area without a permit. It’s unfortunate but it’s necessary.

2 months ago (edited 2 months ago)
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,026 posts
Heh! Get used to it re: The Horde - at Incline Village they have arrived and this won't clear out until Labor Day; just try to figure out what day/time is a little better etc. Like here we noticed one of our "beaches" had a lot of construction going on but we know where it is not happening  - we try to time it in the early evening and have had great success. Hard to know in your case but look for it. Yep you've been discovered!
2 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
77 posts
It is the covid effect rebound Parks and Rec mobility is 50 to 80% above normal. same all over. zardog
23 days ago
Member since 12/15/2005 🔗
270 posts

Unfortunately the new normal in Canaan Valley, the Sods, Davis and Thomas.  

Gonna get worse.  New public sewer lines, more commercial development coming along rt 32, PSD contemplating public water....

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