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Topic: Dolly Sods questions, Roads, trails - NE side< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 12 2013, 10:41 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A few years ago I was at Dolly Sods and I think it was on the NE side (between Blackbird Knob and where FR75 goes down the east side of the plateau).

What I'd like to do is relocate an overlook we stopped at back on that trek. I don't know what trail it was on, but what I do remember is before the overlook, maybe 1/4 mile before, there was a small stream crossing where we had to rock hop across. The trail was on the side of a ridge, not on top but most of the way up, in the trees. There were a few clearings that we passed that we could see through the trees and turned off down in to one and it opened up to an awesome view - we could see 3-4 mountain ridges way off in the distance.

Is anyone familiar with that area that may be able to pinpoint what trail it was on? I recall that it was very close to one of the access roads, but we never hit the road because we looped through. Which brings up another question - can we get close to that area by 4x4 vehicle at least? Or get somewhat close to it? Something tells me that FR75 is closed at FR19, but I've never tried the climb in from the North.

I'd like to get back to that spot for an in/out overnight winter trek if I can.

I've been snowshoeing out there before (right out of the top of Timberline) so I am aware of the conditions - and thats part of why I'd like to go back. This time pulling a sled with my gear if conditions allow :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 12 2013, 10:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm looking over the trail map and the area on google maps... The stream crossing I referenced I am 99% sure was NOT Red Creek, much smaller - more like a tributary that drained in to it. I want to say we were traveling north when we passed the stream and it was within 1/4-1/2 mile from where the overlook was.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 13 2013, 9:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Huh. That sounds like shortly after where Bear Rocks Trail intersects Dobbin Grade Trail.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 14 2013, 6:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am going through my picture sets from that trip and it is labeled as "Roaring Plains". Looking through the pictures the trail markers start at Flatrock Run, Roaring Plains, then Boars Nest. That is a LONG ways off from where I was thinking we were.

I think what I am going to do is run down Flatrock Run Trail to Roaring Plains, then back the next day.

I still have not found the camp site I want to get to but going back through the pictures and thinking back to the trip there was no shortage of awesome views and places to camp.

Got the topo map downloaded in my app on my phone so I'm set. Now if I just had a trail map to put in there too...

By the way, how is the snow out in Sods right now? We're going out Thurs/Fri and it looks like there is more snow in the forecast for earlier in the week, then warming up for the last few days of the week. That may detract from our "winter" camping, I'd like to get down to single digits-teens temp-wise, but thats OK. It will still be an adventure. Now.. if they have 4' of snow already then we're in for a bigger pain than we think.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 14 2013, 7:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

KC,

I don't think you'll be "running down" Flatrock Run Tr. to Roaring Plains. Flatrock Run Tr. starts from the road near Laneville and goes "up" to Roaring Plains. In fact, it has the greatest elevation change of any official trail in the Mon. at 2200 ft. In winter with any snow it will be a challenge. If you want a nice overlook that might be relatively "easy" to get to in the winter, Rohrbaugh Plains Tr. is probably a better bet. If snow is light you might be able to drive to the trailhead and the trail is relatively level leading to a view down the Red Creek Canyon.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As to "running down" - I meant head South. I see the elevation change on the topo.

On another note, on the official site for the Forest they say the two accesses for Roaring Plains are via Flatrock Run Trail and Forest Road 70. I've been looking over my map and cross-referencing Bing Maps and havent figured out what Forest Road 70 is.

Throwing in a giant assumption - is Forest Road 70 the access road to the Pipeline that drops south of Forest Road 19 about 1 mile west of the FR-75 split? I have seen that road labeled as Roaring Plains trail on Bing Maps and coded as a "road" in my trail map but it isn't clearly marked like FR-19 and 75.

The first trip I was at Sods we parked at Rhorbaugh Plains and took that north to Fisher Spring, back along Red Creek, and made a loop around Stonecoal and Breathed Mtn. then back Rhorbaugh. Boy, that brings back memories. We were running out of daylight on day 2 and were at Red Creek. My buddy looked at the map and thought we had about 2 miles of trail left to get up on Rhorbaugh where  the camp site was, or we could climb the straight face of the mountain and be at camp in no time. So we climbed - with all our gear and wore out from the days hike already. I'll never forget that. What a short cut....

I checked out the picture sets from that trip and there are  some decent overlooks it looks like. I'll hold that as a backup plan and go over the trails/topos with my hiking buddy(ies) to see what we want to tackle.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 12:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FR 70 is the gravel road to the pipeline. It will be gated closed. The only time I have seen it open (and I drove it to the pipeline) was during bear season.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 4:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I personally would go in on the eastern trailhead of the South Prong Trail if FR 19 was open.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 6:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the info.

I don't recall ever running in to Forest Road 19 being closed. We have run it with a foot or more of snow. I've seen the gate shut on FR-75 though, as well as another road further east. Just not 19 - always been open for us.

If i had several days I would try to hike the whole loop through flatrock, roaring plains, and bores nest. One of the guys going only has 2 days off work so we have to do an in/out trip over one night.

I think I found the trail section the camp site is that I have been trying to locate - near the top of Flatrock run at about 4200ft where the trail swings to the west. If the Communications Tower on the map is the same as the one in my pictures I know right where it is.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 15 2013, 9:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Panhandler @ Dec. 15 2013, 12:59 pm)
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FR 70 is the gravel road to the pipeline. It will be gated closed. The only time I have seen it open (and I drove it to the pipeline) was during bear season.

FR70 is the road to the pipeline but it is not gated now. Everyone needs to familiarize themselves with the USFS MUVM's (motor vehicle use maps). These are the official statement on gate opening and closings. FR70 opened on 9/1/13 and will stay open until 2/28/14. FR75 will close on 12/31/13 however. FR19 should stay open all the time - whether it's passable is another story.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 1:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(vdeal @ Dec. 15 2013, 9:03 pm)
QUOTE

(Panhandler @ Dec. 15 2013, 12:59 pm)
QUOTE
FR 70 is the gravel road to the pipeline. It will be gated closed. The only time I have seen it open (and I drove it to the pipeline) was during bear season.

FR70 is the road to the pipeline but it is not gated now. Everyone needs to familiarize themselves with the USFS MUVM's (motor vehicle use maps). These are the official statement on gate opening and closings. FR70 opened on 9/1/13 and will stay open until 2/28/14. FR75 will close on 12/31/13 however. FR19 should stay open all the time - whether it's passable is another story.

Thanks for the correction!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 16 2013, 9:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I did a search for the motor vehicle use maps and it apparently goes by Ranger District. I haven't come across the specific one for the area. Still looking.

Edit: It appears to be the Patomac Ranger District.

The picture set I have from that trek several years ago shows the section of FR 70 east of the pipeline as well defined offroad road, not as "maintained" as FR 19, but not a 4x4-only trail either. I'd be curious to see if FR 19 is passable how FR 70 is, if it is not gated. We traveled on FR 19 with about a foot of snow one year and had no trouble. We even went off on a side road, but ended up finding it was gated about 1/2 mile down so we had to back up to FR 19 - no room to get turned around. Thing was, though, the roads were all OK to travel on.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2013, 9:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We hiked out FR70 this past year.  It's in good shape.  Your biggest problem on it is going to be the snow pack.

A foot of fresh powder or dry snow is doable. But once it's been through a few freeze/thaw cycles and had more dumped on top, it will be tough, even with a decent 4x4 and chains.

You really won't know how driveable it is until you get there and check it out.

I do a winter trip in the mon every year and have a very capable vehicle, but I've turned around and decided I didn't want to risk some roads more than a few times.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2013, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well I am on my way back from Dolly Sods. We had an epic adventure.

We came in from the North side of Forest Road 75. When we hit the forest road past civilization it turned to ice pack. There was no way with 4-wheel drive we were getting up on tires alone. We threw the chains on and had no issues at all. Bear Rocks was awesome. The wind was blowing about 50mph up there and the snow was mostly melted. We left the chains on and continued along the plateau south on FR-75. Once we got under tree cover the road was very snow covered. We hit some drifts that were a out 3-4ft deep but clawed right through. When we were about a mile from FR-19 we saw a truck headed the opposite way that was buried in snow. So we stopped and checked things out - no way we were getting past, not by a long shot. We had gear with us so we teamed up with the other guys to dig, pull, and push their truck out. It took about an hour. Then we turned around and drove back the way we came, went around the Mon and came up rt. 32 to Laneville from the west. We made it up FR-19 in 4wd alone, but it was scary slick. We got to the trailhead at South Prong ok. The snow pack was deep but hikeable in boots. The creek was running heavy with the snow melt. I ended up over ankle deep in mud a couple times too. I wore a pair of red wing boots - very glad I had them for the support and protection. My hiking boots would have made it about 100ft in to the trail. The way out was uneventful on the trail. I found a bell hanging on a branch half way back to the trailhead that had obviously been there for quite some time. When we hit the parking area we threw the chains back on for the descent. One small 4x4 truck passed us like we were on the way up the day before - spinnig all 4 tires and sliding all over the place. Then 10 minutes later when we were getting ready to head down a convoy passed us. It looked like a bunch of hunters, about 6-7 trucks. Then the guy i was with spotted a tranqulized bear in a cage in the back of one of the middle trucks. Im not real sure what that was all about but all I could figure is it was the park service or something relocating the bear in the wild, however I didnt pay attention to the markings on the trucks and if they even had any - park sevice, dnr, etc.

Fun trip. We got to see some awesome views, had the most fun off roading in the snow I've ever had, made an awesome camp, and got to experince some of the fierceness of the weather and conditions that can be present in Dolly Sods.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2013, 2:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you went up the South Prong Trail you were in Roaring Plains, not the Sods. Sounds like you used the western trailhead?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2013, 11:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was thinking Roaring Plains was part of Dolly Sods. They are right next door anyway. Does FR-19 split them?

We went to the Eastern trail head - just past Forest Road 70 as you head in from Laneville.

If we didn't delay our trip with digging the truck out and turning around we would have hiked in a lot further. My goal going in that way was to make it around the south rim of the plateau, past where the pipeline is. The original plan was to hike up Flatrock Run, but time-wise there was no way. South Prong was the easy backup plan. Due to the snow pack I think we would have ended up there even if time allowed.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2013, 12:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

FR 19 splits the 2 areas.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

FR 19 splits the 2 areas.

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