This is a 6.8 mile moderate circuit hike on the Roaring Plains, Monongahela National Forest, WV following both segments of the South Prong Trail and 1.5 miles of FR19 to close the loop. The first 2.7 miles is pretty strenuous as you climb out of the creek valley, along some nice gradual railroad grades mixed with short segments of very steep footpaths. At lower elevations you?ll walk through a mature hardwood forest. As you reach the plateau the environment will suddenly change to terrain commonly seen on the Canadian Shield. The hardwoods will give way to dense Red Spruce thickets, Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron and wild Azaleas scattered amongst sandstone formations. From there the hike is mostly flat with a few short hills until you get to FR19 and a rapid descent back to your car. If time is of importance or you have an extra vehicle and the notion of road walking doesn?t appeal to you, leave a car at the trailhead discussed below and drive up to the upper trailhead. From there you can accomplish a very enjoyable 5.3 mile hike the bulk of which will have no major elevation gains. Of, course, you'll have to reverse the directions given in the following trail notes.
From Cannan Valley go to Lanesville road. There will be a sign stating that the Dolly Sods Road is ahead on the left. Lanesville Road take it to the end were it will turn into forest road19. If hiking in the winter remember the county does not plow. Go up Forest Road 19 for about a mile you will see the parking area for South Prong Trail and the Boars Nest.
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