Dolly Sods road
March 2, 2005
Im heading up to Canaan Valley in the next two hours, and I recalled a certain road that I always pass on my from Petersburg to Seneca Rocks. On the right, closer to SR, there is a road on the right that turns off, with a sign for Dolly Sods. Does this road go all the way through to 92? Is it paved/ok for winter driving (this afternoon)? Is it a lot longer than going via Harman? Thanks.
I believe this is the road that many have talked about that in the winter time it's unplowed it's dirt, and it takes a nice hefty 4WD vehicle just to make it up part of the way across and just to get across in the summer.
I checked on mapquest and it shows that when you turn off of Rt 28 you are then on road 28/7 for roughly a fraction of a mile (see link 1). Then you make a left where it becomes Public Road 19. After about halfway it becomes Forrestry Service Road 19 appearantly when you are at the top. Going down the otherside you will enter Lanesville where it becomes route 45/4. Continue to stay on this road and it brings you south of Canaan Valley State Park (see link 2).
If you do this, PLEASE PLEASE get pictures as I would love to see what this is like and possibly make summer journies up there.
I personally would not try it. We've had almost a foot of snow since this week and that road is not plowed. I've seen it impassable in April. We haven't have that much snow this winter but I would guess that its not going to be open. Even in the summer is not a very smooth road and its condition varys according to the weather. It does cut the corner off from Seneca and it a nice scenic route to take, just not during the winter.
Yeah, unless you've got a serious 4wd vehicle and snow chains and the kahunas to extricate yourself from big trouble it's probably wise to stay off that road in the winter. The road goes up a northeast facing ridge, where a) a lot of snow blows into for drifting and b) significant ice builds up in freeze-thaw cycles. Coming from the Laneville side up to the Sods is probably better but going all the way across is an extremely risky proposition.
Another road, 72, near where that one rejoins 32 at the south end of CV State Park, is reputed to be a very nice drive in the summer.
Denis, is that the Hendricks Expressway you're referring to? Made the mistake of taking that from Parsons to CV one December; looked like a shortcut
. My wife wore out a set of beads on that trip. Snowing sideways so hard you couldn't tell a switchback from a hayfield. Took us about 75 minutes to go what i think was 15 miles. If you're looking for shortcuts, look in the summer!
SO, we did attempt the shortcut through Dolly Sods on Saturday afternoon....but ended up turning around. It started out nice and clear, but after the "road is impassable in winter" sign, things went downhill. It was completely snow covered and did have some tracks, and I was in a car with all wheel drive, but it wasn't worth it. I'll post some pictures once my friend uploads them.
YA its been a few years since I been up there in winter, but it can get bad. A shortcut I sometimes take is out of moorefield cut up to Fisher than to Kessel and over to Patterson rd back to 42. Its pretty tight and twisty in parts but basically goes over the mountain rather than follow the valley to petersburg and around.
It's Patterson Creek Road....I've done that run before. In perfect conditions you can shave a good 25 minutes from moorefiled/Old Field but the road is steep and is prone to edge washout (not good considering no rails). I have become a big fan of the 81N/37/50W/93S/32S route. It works out to about 8 miles further than 55 but is solid high speed driving most of the way with almost no cutbacks other than the 93 climb of the allegheny ridge line. Not a big fan of the shorcuts...between the stress of the steeps and wear and tear on the tranny---I'm not sure you're coming out ahead.
I have been driving in the valley for nearly 30 years and if there is one thing that I would never do is go exploring or short-cutting over the sods after any type of snowfall. If the deep snow and mud won't get you, snow drifts big enough to hide a small house will. Just hiking up that way on snowshoes is rough enough. Keep the rubber on plowed roads!
Been there ... done it. It's one "shortcut" I'd skip. I did LOL with your "...in a car with all wheel drive...". Those are OK for the Yuppie 'Burbs..but in the WV mountains !!?!? I took a Jeep through there and ended with knuckles whiter then the snow...no guardrails, 100' drop into trees, soft edge on one side, sheer rock wall on the other. Doing it in the Summer is bad enough! When your "car" can no longer move forward - I wouldn't take the bet that you could BACK out! It took all of a Jeep w/knobbies in 4-wheel low.
OK I tried to stay out of this but couldn't any longer.
I was fortunate enough to be driving back last winter without the wife and finally got to do the "cut" through the sods. As you all remember almost all of last year was covered with deep snow. This trip there was about an 18" fresh cover on the road. We passed the buffalo just staring at us through the falling snow and it was hard to tell who was more amazed. Beautiful....
When I arrived at the "impassable in winter" sign I got an adrenaline rush akin to downhill bliss. I would not recommend it for anyone I did not know very well. I drove in a Subaru Outback which is one of the few cars I would trust to do it. If you were to atempt it you should do it when there has been substantial fresh snow. It is not a road you want to encounter ice on. The sights are truly one of a kind and special. I cannot imagine how incredible it must be to cross country or winter camp up there. Now that is real adventure way over my head.
Stupid as it may sound I count it as one of my accomplishments. My first triple black diamond road.
Camping on the Sods is cool. Its something I did a lot of growing up in the region. For some reason this made me think of a funny camping bear story my sister-in-law posted on a family website back in OCT 2000 about a trip she and my brother took. It was at Blackwater Falls not the Sods but very funny. A little long but worth the read.
We've been wanting to go camping for a while and so Monday we took off for an adventure. We didn't know where we were going, we just headed out. We ended up going to Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, WV. It was snowing when we got there and there was about 1/4 of an inch on the ground in no time. It was beautiful. The deer were everywhere. We were one of two campsites being used on the non-electric side of the campground but the other folks must have frozen out because they left their gear there and left the grounds fairly early. Gene has a bivy sack (room enough for only one) and since we don't have a tent, I slept in the car. We had a large box in the back seat so I slept in the front passenger seat with it being reclined back as far as it could go. I locked all the doors but the right rear one because Gene was sleeping right outside of it and no one could get to me without going over him. About 11:30 I heard someone coming in the rear door and called out "Gene?" Then all I heard was "Deb, a bear! A BLACK BEAR!! A BIG BLACK
BEAR!!!" A BIG BLACK BEAR!!, and Gene came flying into the car. He had a hard time getting in with the box in the back and my seat reclined but he made it in two seconds flat. He had been sound asleep and heard a rucus. He lifted up the fly of his bivy and was staring at a huge black bear. The noise was the bear ripping a trash can off it's post right across the road from the car. It was standing at the rear of our car (we had put our utensils and food in the trunk) about 5 steps away from him. He said he VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y lowered the fly of his bivy and waited. The next thing he heard was the bear huff right over him. He didn't move for what he says was a long time but what was probably 30 seconds, (you know, about the time it took him to come out of the dead faint) and then headed for the car. He went ahead and climbed over the seats and we took off and drove around the campground looking for the bear. He showed me the tracks by the trash can
he'd knocked off and they looked about as big as the lid off of one of the big coffee cans to me. We couldn't find him so we went back to our site and he got out and got his shoes and closed up his bivy because it was still snowing. We sat in the car until about 1:00 then he went back outside and I settled in for the rest of the night, after he assured me the bear wouldn't be back. Yeah, right! About 2:30 the back door handle started rattling and I yelled, "Gene?" once again. This time it was, "The door won't open! He's over there, he's over there!!" I was sure I left the door unlocked. The little red thing was showing and everything but it wouldn't budge. So there I am trying to get the door unlocked, feeling like I have boxing gloves on my hands, not knowing where "over there" is and thinking Gene was going to get eaten in a second. I finally got it unlocked and he came flying in
again and leaned over to the other side of the car and was trying to clear the steam off the
windows because the bear was over by the shower house (about 30 yards) right under the light and he wanted me to get a good look. He couldn't get the steam wiped off so he started to roll down the window. The whole time he's doing this he's flashing me in the eyes with his headlamp and yelling, "can you see him, can you see him?" Well, let me tell you, after having that light shine in my eyes, I couldn't see ANYTHING!" When he started rolling down the window I think I almost broke his arm when I grabbed it and told
him NO!" He said would I calm down, the bear couldn't climb through the window (yeah, and he wasn't coming back either, huh?). I finally calmed down and got to see the bear's behind as he slowly ambled around the end of the shower house. At least that part looked huge to me. He wasn't concerned about us at all. Gene had heard him over there and just wanted to show me but when the door wouldn't open he said he started to panic. Again we went for a ride to see if we could find him, but no luck. That time when we pulled back into the campsite he pulled really close to the bivy sack and said, "Deb, reach out and get my shoes, will ya?" We sat there a while longer and he got back out, straightened and
closed up his bivy, got back in the car and that's where we both stayed for the rest of the
night. The next morning we went over and looked at the bear tracks. I could lay my hand out flat in them. When we went to check out we told the ranger about it and when I told him I could lay my hand in the print, he said, "Oh that's the big one. That's the 600 pound one. We haven't seen him since Thursday." He said they had been having trouble with a couple of bears coming around a lot. (When Gene was telling this story at work one of the ladies there told him they had been over to the lodge there the weekend before and there were signs on the doors asking to make sure they went shut because the bears had been
wandering into the lodge). We went ahead over to the Falls and all around the souvenir shop there was trash everywhere. No one had worked on Monday due to the holiday and the bears had torn the heck out of the trash cans there. When we came back up from the falls (jumping at every sound I might add) we met a couple just pulling in to go take a look. The lady was putting on her gloves and the man rolled down his window to talk to
Gene and then opened his door. Gene told him our little tale and then waved his hand over the mess all around and said, "It looks like he's been here, too. Well, the lady took her gloves off, the man slowly got back in his vehicle and shut the door. We have the feeling they didn't see the falls that day. We didn't have either of the cameras but we would definately have won America's funniest home videos. The video camera wouldn't have been much good anyway. It would have looked like the Blair Witch Project movie. But the audio would have been hilarious! Well, we wanted an adventure... and we sure got one!!