5.0 Miles / 8.0 km
Time to Hike:
2 hours, ~30 minutes
Surface Type:
Monongahela National Forest
Roaring Plains Wilderness, West Virginia
38.958616, -79.359357
July 16, 2018
October 19, 2022
207 '

Total Change
360 '

360 '


This portion of the South Prong Trail at Roaring Plains Wilderness in Tucker County, West Virginia is an easy 5 mile out-and-back hike to a campsite tucked away in the wilderness and an amazing view of Dolly Sods and the Red Creek Plain. Please note that the South Prong Trail is much longer than what's provided here - the trail eventually crosses the Roaring Plains FR-70 Trail and continues on to make a loop with FR-19.

The trail starts off along FR-19 just south of where FR-19 meets FR-75 (the road to Dolly Sods) and passes through coniferous forests with rhododendron and mountain laurel lining the trail. If you show up between June and August, you'll find the mountain laurel and rhododendron are blooming, which makes the hike even more interesting. You'll also pass some 'rock rivers' along the trail, which are open areas of rock that were left over from fire that previously burned away the topsoil.

Around mile 1.1 you'll come across a section of the trail that feels a bit more open with a bare spot of rock through the trees to the north - from here you can see the tops of surrounding hills to the east, which is the southern section of Dolly Sods and the Red Creek area - behind those hills is the Red Creek Trail. Continuing on further, you'll find some smaller campsites along the side of the trail.

Lookout point: Eventually, at mile 1.7, you'll come across a section of the trail that has a peek of a view through the trees with some small trails leading out to a larger lookout point. From this lookout point you can see an amazing view of the Red Creek Plain and even the top of the Bear Rocks Preservation in Dolly Sods - the tallest peak due north from the lookout.

Campsite: From the lookout, you'll hike for another 0.8 miles until you reach a small trail on your left - this is the Hidden Passage Trail that leads further into the Roaring Plains Wilderness, which I highly recommend hiking. To get to the campsite, hike for an additional 100 feet or so beyond the Hidden Passage Trail to find another small trail on your left - this is the campsite trail. Walk down the trail to find a creek, campsite, and some blueberry bushes on the hill behind the site.

The Roaring Plains Wilderness is one of the last great secluded areas where backpackers can find some solitude. This section of the South Prong Trail is a great way to get into Roaring Plains to experience some true backcountry West Virginian trails. For even better views and more Roaring Plains hikes, check out the Hidden Passage Trail to Lookouts.

Be sure to checkout MidAtlanticHikes Roaring Plains trail map PDF.

This hike was originally shown to me by Tony Van Vugt who owns and runs HikingUpward.com in 2018, all credit goes to him.

Explore 31 trails near Roaring Plains Wilderness, WV
  1. Parking

    38.958616, -79.359357
  2. Main Trailhead

    38.958494, -79.35949
  3. Campsite with a creek flowing through to filter water

    38.932919, -79.366158
    Campsite with a creek flowing through to filter water
  4. Lookout point north towards Dolly Sods

    38.938392, -79.360169
    Lookout point north towards Dolly Sods
  5. Small view of Red Creek Plains hills

    38.944775, -79.356597
    Small view of Red Creek Plains hills
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3 Trip Reports

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Write-up by:
Admin user profile picture
5.0 miles / 8.0 km
Trail added
July 16, 2018
Hiked on
July 14, 2018
Updated on
October 19, 2022
5.0 miles / 8.0 km
July 27, 2019
The trail was extremely wet within the first 0.5-miles from the trailhead. Some parts of the trail were essentially creeks flowing slowly downhill. Just before the last 0.1-miles of the hike, just before the campsite, was an enormous stagnant section of water that required slow traversing to get around without falling in or sinking your feet into. The campsite was dry and the creek that flows through it did not flood the campsite like the rest of the trail. The lookout point on the way up was a nice break from the 2.5-mile hike in with packs. Hiked with Nina, Jax, Tony (HikingUpward), and Linda (HikingUpward).
Camping Dogs Hiking
5.0 miles / 8.0 km
July 27, 2019
Camping Dogs Hiking

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In Roaring Plains Wilderness, WV

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