Waterfalls on Red Creek
Dolly Sods has some very beautiful waterfalls. Anne Johnson has photographed and hiked the Red Creek and offers her images and directions. Images and trail descriptions courtesy of Anne Johnson. I think she lives at Dolly Sods. She definitely loves the place. Anne's website.
- I have created a google topo map of the falls locations. It does not profess to be 100% accurate, and in several cases may be off base, but will give you a rough idea of the terrain and locations.
- Here's a link to the U.S. Forest Service trail map for Dolly Sods which includes the Red Creek area trails. (PDF Version).
- Here's my post from my blog about my day hike, with photos and directions, along Red Creek.
Directions: (From Forest Service Website)
From Petersburg follow WV 28/55 south to Jordan Run Road. Turn right and go 1 mile to Forest Road 19. Turn left and follow FR 19 six miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area. The wilderness is directly ahead of you at the intersection with FR 75. Turn right for Wildlife and Fisher Spring trailheads; turn left for Rohrbaugh and Red Creek trailheads.
From Canaan Valley: follow WV 32 south to the Laneville Road (WV 45). Turn left and go approximately 6 miles to the Red Creek Bridge, where the road changes from pavement to gravel and is now Forest Road 19. Red Creek trailhead is on the left behind the Laneville wildlife management cabin. Continue on FR 19 to get to Rohrbaugh trailhead and FR 75.
Please be aware that there are no blazes or markers on the Red Creek Trail. You will find some cairns from time to time to indicate a juncture, but nothing that specifically says where to go. Download the PDF map, study it, maybe print a copy and calculate some GPS coordinates from a Google map, or similar, to help you get there. Basically, the trail follows Red Creek's eastern shore from the Laneville cabin, but does wander away from the water quite a bit in spots. Once you pass a few campsites in the early goings (this is where to look for cairns as the trail is less obvious) you will enter some thick areas before the trail becomes more obvious. It climbs up and away from the creek for awhile, before dropping back in at Curtain Falls and the creek crossings near Fisher Spring Run.
1. Stairstep Falls: Begin at the Laneville Cabin trailhead and follow the Red Creek Trail for approximately 2 miles. Waterfall is by the trail.
2. Curtain Falls: Begin at the Laneville Cabin trailhead and follow the Red Creek Trail for approximately 2 1/4 miles. Waterfall is approximately 1/4 mile past Stairstep Falls and is by the trail.
3. Diamond Falls: Begin at the Laneville Cabin trailhead and hike Red Creek trail, passing the Big Stonecoal junction. When Red Creek trail starts up hill, go left off the trail and toward Red Creek. Cross the creek and follow an overgrown railroad grade for approximately 1/2 mile. Diamond Falls is off trail on the right. Another approach is from Curtain Falls. If the river is not too high, you can cross just upstream from the bottom of Curtain Falls where it empties into Red Creek. It's pretty shallow here and there are some rocks to hop across on as well. The falls is just downstream from here.
On a recent trip, we encountered a fall below Diamond Falls. At about 100 yards downstream, you will find another small but beautiful falls that had gone previously unnamed, to my knowledge, as well as others. Anne Johnson, a regular Red Creek trekker, suggested that I give it a name. Lower Diamond Falls came to mind immediately, but I dismissed it out of hand, and Anne agreed with me that Rock Face Falls was a good name, so here is Rock Face Falls. You will also find an excellent camping site right here beside Red Creek. Nice and flat with a fire pit.
4. Big Stonecoal Falls: Begin at Laneville Cabin trailhead and hike 1 1/2 miles up Red Creek to the Big Stonecoal junction, and cross Red Creek. Take Big Stonecoal trail 1 1/2 miles up hill. Waterfall is beside trail.
5. Little Stonecoal: Begin at Laneville Cabin trailhead and hike 1/2 mile up Red Creek to the Little Stonecoal junction. Take Little Stonecoal Trail, crossing Red Creek in about 200 yards. Continue up Little Stonecoal Trail for less than a mile, and waterfall will be on the left of the trail.
6. Destination Falls: Take Fisher Spring trailhead, follow the trail approximately 2 miles until you are within sight of Red Creek. Go off trail to the right and cross Red Creek, then bushwhack up the creek 1/4 mile.