May 10, 2014.
The second class hike that we took was the Lions Head Rock in Dolly Sods.
To access Lions Head Rock, we took the Stonecoal Trail and turned on to the Dunkenbarger trail. You’ll find the Rocky Point trail after that, and you’ll find a trail straight ahead (the actual trail goes down the mountain, but you’ll want the one that continues up to access the rock.) The trails have stream crossings and range from grassy to wooded to sandy. They are very confusing at some points because trails to camping areas look so much like a well-used trail. So much for leave no trace, eh? The inclines do get steep at points. Here’s the waterfall you’ll pass on your way to the rocks:
This makes for a good lunch spot if you started in the morning. You’ll continue through some rhododendron enclosed trail and finally come to the crossroads near the top of the mountain. There’s a large spruce tree where we left our packs, since we knew we’d be returning to hike back. The trail goes below the rocks and you essentially just have to pick which scramble up the rocks looks the easiest. After the scramble, you’ll head through an old christmas tree farm and out onto the rocks.
This is the view from the top of the rocks. Somehow, I missed taking any photos of the actual rock that the area is named after. Whoops. I’ll be quite frank: I wasn’t overly impressed. The view was kind of lackluster for all of the effort that we put into getting there. It’s in the middle of a sort of bowl shaped valley, so you can’t see far at all.
We did find some vultures who had a nest on top of Lions Head Rock proper, which was neat. The scramble back down was much of the same as getting up. As we started down the mountain from the tree where we’d left our things, the hike took a turn for the worse. The trail is incredibly narrow, steep, and loose. A torrential downpour started, which left myself and classmate- the only 2 glasses wearers- fumbling and hoping to keep our footing. We kept sliding down the mountain- thankfully never too far- and it was obvious that landslides had been happening in the area. It was incredibly difficult to see and a bit of a terrifying descent given the steep grade. We made it to the bottom with only a few new bruises, and headed back to the car to head home.