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The Club House => Off Road Ride Reports => Topic started by: RideWV on May 24, 2008, 11:15:06 pm



Title: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: RideWV on May 24, 2008, 11:15:06 pm
I've been all over Monongahela Forest but I've never been to Dolly Sods, sounds like a good excuse for a ride.  

Dolly Sods is a 32000 acre plateau in eastern West Virginia.  It's at an elevation of about 4000ft and is on the eastern continental divide.  Due to it's altitude and unique climate effecting geography, it is similar in flora and fauna to Alaska.  The plateau gets about 160" of snow a year and many of the trees only have branches on one side due to the constant wind from the west.

From Morgantown, I decided to take a twisty route to Parsons (pretty much every route to Parsons is twisty).  From Parsons, I took rt. 72 east to the southern end of the Sods.  This road turns into a narrow winding mountain road with great views of the rapids below.  It's very technical with extremely tight, gravel covered hairpins.  Great fun on a DR.  There are the occasional abandoned farms but mostly it's just forest.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/Route72-1small.jpg/Route72-1small-full;init:.jpg)

Forest Road 19 climbs the southern end of the plateau passing ranger stations and parking lots full of backpackers hiking along the Black Fork River.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/RiverSmall.jpg/RiverSmall-full;init:.jpg)

Dolly Sods has lots of interesting history.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/SignSmall.jpg/SignSmall-full;init:.jpg)

Once you get to the top of the very long gravel climb the road intersects with Forest Road 75.  This road is a straight shot across the plateau.  You can't really see it in the picture but the colors are spectacular.  There are meadows and barrens off each side of the road with little alpine flowers and other bright vegetation.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/ForestRd75small.jpg/ForestRd75small-full;init:.jpg)

A large portion of the Sods is a wilderness area accessible only to hikers.  There were hundreds of backpackers heading off into the back country at the many trail heads.  I'm going to go back as soon as I can to do some hiking.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/PacksSmall.jpg/PacksSmall-full;init:.jpg)

The road back down the Allegheny front is more loose gravel and pretty tricky on the brakes.  The scenery is distracting and there are waterfalls everywhere.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/WaterfallSmall.jpg/WaterfallSmall-full;init:.jpg)

Forest Road 75 comes out on Jordan Run Road.  I took this south toward Seneca Rocks.  I stopped along the way for some lunch at a WV-style gas station/hardware store/restaurant.  I sat in the Guns and Ammo section, ate my lunch, and watched Beverly Hillbillies.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/BestStationsmall.jpg/BestStationsmall-full;init:.jpg)

Obligatory Seneca Rocks pic...

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/SenecaRocksSmall.jpg/SenecaRocksSmall-full;init:.jpg)

Just west of Seneca Rocks I took Smith Mountain Road back into the mountains to the north.  This turned out to be a great dual sport road.  Be warned, I had to open a few gates and go through a few No Trespassing signs to get to the other side.  Also there was cattle on the road at very points.  Before I took the road though, the local fire dept. told me the road went all the way though.  If I got busted, I planned to blame them.  Along the road I saw a bobcat!  The roads seems to climb forever.

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/SmithMountainRd1Small.jpg/SmithMountainRd1Small-full;init:.jpg)

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/SmithMountainRd2small.jpg/SmithMountainRd2small-full;init:.jpg)

(http://jkeefover.googlepages.com/ChampeRocksSmall.jpg/ChampeRocksSmall-full;init:.jpg)

The road came back out on Jordan Run.

I've got a feeling there are alot more roads like Smith Mountain Rd. in the area and I look forward to finding them.

James



Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: R Doug on May 24, 2008, 11:26:46 pm
Excellent.  I've heard a lot of good things about riding in that area.  After dinner this evening, Sheri and I ran into a guy at the grocery store who told me he was down there with two of his friends riding around.  They all purchased '08 KLRs last year for the purpose of riding in that area.  He said he can't wait to go back and explore more.  



Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: garry on May 25, 2008, 08:29:26 am
Nicely done James. Keep finding that good stuff and then show it to me :-) Time to get the DRZ dirty after the National.


Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: XLR8 on May 26, 2008, 12:13:02 am
More beautiful green stuff.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: SWriverstone on July 20, 2008, 09:35:20 pm
Great pics James!

Yes we definitely need to have a "Region 6 Dual-Sport Meet!" I really want to explore more of those roads too. I've always said a great reason to get a DS bike is that there are probably *more* miles of unpaved than paved roads, especially throughout Monogahela, George Washington, and Jefferson National Forests.

Scott


Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: RideWV on July 20, 2008, 09:53:21 pm

Great pics James!

Yes we definitely need to have a "Region 6 Dual-Sport Meet!" I really want to explore more of those roads too. I've always said a great reason to get a DS bike is that there are probably *more* miles of unpaved than paved roads, especially throughout Monogahela, George Washington, and Jefferson National Forests.

Scott


Scott,

I'd love to get a tour of some of those roads in your area.  It's unbelievable how many we have around here.  

I'm all for doing some sort of Reg. 6 DS Meet.  I think an autumn get together would be nice.  

James


Title: Re: Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Smith Mountain Road (West Virginia)
Post by: Hulked Up on August 02, 2008, 06:29:39 am

Be warned, I had to open a few gates and go through a few No Trespassing signs to get to the other side.


Were the signs on the trees in the woods or on posts, facing the road?  

We have of those signs too, but the signs indicate the surrounding land is private. The road is a public way, but the land on either side of it is private with no trespassing.  No problem to ride on it.  Just don't step off.  


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