Morgantown: Breathed Mountain Loop

This 16.2-mile overnighter in Dolly Sods Wilderness traverses a wild, isolated land more like northern Canada than the forests of West Virginia.
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This 16.2-mile overnighter in Dolly Sods Wilderness traverses a wild, isolated land more like northern Canada than the forests of West Virginia.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 20.6

Waypoints

Windy Expanse

Location: 39.0335578918457, -79.3265686035156

Wind whips along the open prairie filled with brushy magenta rhodedendron.
©Gary Clark

Red River

Location: 39.0322456359863, -79.3401565551758

Rock-hop across Red Creek then up a grassy knoll for mountain views.
©Gary Clark

Rock Shrewn Trail

Location: 39.0330467224121, -79.3821258544922

A cairn indicates the right direction over an indistinguishable trail of large rock.
©Gary Clark

Hardwood Forest

Location: 38.9998168945312, -79.359001159668

Brittle leaves crunch beneath hikers' feet as they blanket the trail and the forest floor.
©Gary Clark

Red River Overlook

Location: 39.0165519714356, -79.353874206543

Fall comes to the Red River region.
©Gary Clark

DS001

Location: 39.0335693359375, -79.3141174316406

From lot, follow the sign for Breathed Mtn. Loop

DS002

Location: 39.0320091247559, -79.3407211303711

Rock-hop across Red Creek then up grassy knoll for mtn. views

DS003

Location: 39.0324516296387, -79.3434371948242

Straight @ 3-way, keeping S of Blackbird Knob

DS004

Location: 39.030689239502, -79.3487930297852

L onto Red Creek Trail at giant cairn; scramble around spruce and mountain laurel

DS005

Location: 39.0196800231934, -79.352912902832

Skirt creek on R side until cairn, then safely cross the Left Fork before it joins the swifter, deeper Red Creek

DS006

Location: 39.017520904541, -79.3538131713867

Turn R up steep hillside to begin loop. Trees thin as you climb the rock-littered singletrack

DS007

Location: 39.0185699462891, -79.3574981689453

Trail abruptly hits rock garden and false summit; keep straight, following cairns towards a grassy sod

DS008

Location: 39.0334587097168, -79.3845977783203

Turn L; gently descend the often wet, muddy Big Stone Coal Trail, once an old railroad route for hauling coal

DS009

Location: 39.0199584960938, -79.3793334960938

Cross Stone Coal Run; good flat spots to camp before it gets steep and rocky again

DS010

Location: 39.0048904418945, -79.3767471313476

Keep L to stay on Big Stone Coal Trail

DS011

Location: 38.9977684020996, -79.3716583251953

L onto Rocky Point Trail. Traverse rugged, thin shelf above valley

DS012

Location: 38.9874114990234, -79.3679580688476

Rugged trail bends N around Breathed Mtn., with stellar views of Dolly Sods and the Greater Monongahela NF

DS013

Location: 38.9998893737793, -79.3595809936524

Swing L, winding N along mossy boulders of Red Creek. Loop closes in 1.4 mi.; at WPT 6, retrace steps back to lot