Exploring the Dolly Sods Wilderness: A Photographer’s Paradise

By Jonathan Eggleston, for RealWV

West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness has long been admired for its breathtaking beauty and rugged landscapes.

Nestled within the Monongahela National Forest, this hidden gem has become a go-to for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and, more recently, astrophotographers seeking the perfect shot of the night sky.

Many Photography enthusiasts from across the country travel to Dolly Sods, drawn by the promise of unspoiled wilderness and the opportunity to capture the magnificence of the night sky…

The remote location of the Dolly Sods Wilderness ensures that light pollution is kept to a minimum, allowing for optimal stargazing and astrophotography conditions, promising visitors the unique opportunity to witness the grandeur of the Milky Way as it rises above the eastern horizon.

In addition to the mesmerizing night sky, Dolly Sods also offers remarkable hiking trails and scenic vistas that are worth exploring during the daytime. The area features over 47 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging, catering to hikers of all skill levels. The trails wind through dense forests, open meadows, and unique ecosystems…

To make the most of your visit to Dolly Sods, here are a few hiking tips:

Plan and Prepare: Before embarking on any hike, familiarize yourself with the trail maps and weather conditions.

Dolly Sods can be unpredictable, so be prepared for sudden weather changes and carry essential gear such as extra layers, rain gear, and ample water.

Start Early: To capture the beauty of Dolly Sods at its best, begin your hike early in the morning. Not only will you witness stunning sunrises and soft lighting, but you’ll also have plenty of time to explore the trails and find that perfect shot!

Take Safety Precautions: Dolly Sods is a wilderness area, so be mindful of potential hazards such as uneven terrain or wildlife encounters..

Stay on marked trails, let someone know about your hiking plans, and always practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the pristine beauty of the area.

Visiting Dolly Sods Wilderness is an immersive experience that transports you into a world of natural wonder and beauty.

Whether you’re an avid photographer or a hiking or climbing enthusiast, this West Virginia gem promises unforgettable adventures and breathtaking moments under the vast expanse of the night sky.

Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Dolly Sods, where nature’s marvels unfold with every step…

These images were captured using my Sony A7rii and Canon 80d cameras during my recent trip to Dolly Sods.

I spent most of the day hiking around and was rewarded with a truly magical sunset that was a real treat! 

Then,  finishing the trip off with this epic shot of the rising Milkyway against the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains really transformed my trip into a memory I won’t soon forget!


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