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Our Backyard: Dolly Sods Wilderness

See the wild side of West Virginia's best backcountry.

1. Best views
See both the northern heath-padded plains and the piney southern forests from the aptly named Rocky Ridge Trail on an 11.5-mile out-and-back. Hike the northern perimeter and veer onto the ridge of 4,281-foot Cabin Mountain.

2. Top ridge walk
Take the Rocky Point Trail to the 3,700-foot southern end of Breathed Mountain. “From Rocky Point,” says Matthew Savener (below), “scramble to the summit for views of the Red Creek Valley and the wall-like Allegheny Front.”

3. Surest solitude
Find black bears and snowshoe hares (but few hikers) on the Big Stonecoal Trail, which runs the valley between Coal Knob and Breathed Mountain. Leave Red Creek, a popular out-and-back, and take the Breathed Mountain Trail to Big Stonecoal. Close the 11.8-mile loop back on Red Creek.

4. Favorite dayhike

See the highlights of the high country on the 10-mile lollipop across blueberry-rich meadows to 3,800-foot Breathed Mountain. Take Bear Rocks Trail to Rocky Ridge and Breathed Mountain Trails, then return on the Red Creek Trail.

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