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Best places to backpack around Morgantown

Today I’m going to highlight some of my favorite spots to go backpacking in the surrounding area.  They aren’t exactly secrets but after many years of exploring the region, these three spots stand out as some of the best.

First, we’ll stay close to Morgantown.  The Quebec Run Wild Area is only about 20-30 minutes away from town making it perfect for a quick overnight trip.  Since I get off work around 7:30 or so, Quebec Run usually is my “go to” spot for after work trips.

The nice thing about this area is the quiet.  There aren’t any huge vistas or overlooks but that is probably what makes QR special.

You don’t have to fight the crowds or fight for a campsite.  The creek is easy to cross but strong enough to swim in and of course accessibility is extremely easy.  The biggest drawback is that the area is popular for hunters so make sure you wear your blaze orange in hunting season.

Dolly Sods is one of the most unique wildernesses in the east, let alone in West Virginia.  Shaped by ancient glaciers and Red Creek (even though it’s pretty close to a river), DS has amazing views and unusual plants and animals.

Head up Red Creek towards the popular “Forks” area for an easy, low difficulty hike or try to make it to Lion’s Head overlook for more of a challenge.  Just be sure to keep your eyes open for unexploded WWII ordinance that still may be hiding in the forest (unlikely but, hey, who knows).

Lastly, Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, also provides some of the best opportunities for backpacking.

Just drive to the overlook area, park, and head down Huckleberry Trail towards Seneca Creek.  Once you’ve made it to the creek, get ready to enjoy yourself in the Judy Springs area (there’s actually a spring) or head downstream to find some quieter campsites (and an awesome waterfall).

The biggest drawback about the Seneca Creek area is its popularity.  Overuse can be a problem around Judy Springs because of easy access so bring an extra trash bag and help clean up some of the mess (and your own).

Unfortunately, the Seneca Creek area is also threatened by our thirst for fossil fuels.  Let’s hope it doesn’t end up on the list of places I used to enjoy most.

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