The Dolly Sods Wilderness Area in northeastern West Virginia is a high altitude plateau. Dolly Sods is a large wilderness area with over 17 thousand acres with 47 miles of hiking trails.
At the very end of an 11 mile dirt and gravel road is Bear Rocks Preserve, a pleasant surprise for landscape photographers. Bear Rocks is right along the road so there is not a lot of hiking is required to get there. Bear Rocks has numerous large rock formations that over look the valley of the South Branch of the Potomac River.
The 11 mile dirt and gravel road that leads to the Bear Rocks Preserve doesn’t require a 4 wheel drive vehicle, but take it easy going down the road and watch for holes and rocks in the road. I saw two vehicles with flat tires on my trip to Bear Rocks.
Also make sure you bring along extra layers of clothing and maybe gloves and a warm hat depending on the season. Bear Rocks can be very windy compared to the weather in town.
Wide angle and ultra wide angles are the lenses of choice at Bear Rocks. A polarizer filter can also help with glare and darken the skies.
Use the large rocks as foreground when photographing the valley and distant mountains. In the fall the leaves on the blueberry bushes around Bear Rocks turn red, making them excellent as foreground as well.
To reach Bear Rocks, turn east on Jenningston-Lanesville Road. The turn is marked with a Dolly Sods sign. Follow Jenningston-Lanesville Road until it becomes a dirt road. Follow the dirt road 11 mile until the end and you’ve reached Bear Rocks. There are restroom facilities at the Dolly Sods Picnic Area which is about 1/4 of the way into the drive on the dirt road, and also at the Red Creek Campground which is about 3/4 of the way into the trip.
Written by Martin Belan
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