Sand Springs, Rockville and Wonder Falls

Paul waits to go up - Click to Enlarge!


4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!



It had been some time since I had gotten out on the trail.  There had been so much going on in my life that it would have been difficult if the Jeep was in perfect shape.  So between starting a new job, selling our house, buying a new one, moving, crashing, blowing the engine and then the u-joints, I was just a tad busy too go wheeling (and Jeepless for almost two months.  It was time to go wheeling!

I did some poking around on the web and came up with a group here in West Virginia that was talking about some local trails.  I contacted Jason in response to some install headaches he had with some Rancho shocks.  He and Ryan came over the house to let me have a look and we got to talking about trails.  They offered to show me around a little whenever I was ready.

I was ready.  I sent Jason a message and pretty soon we had something set up.  That morning I took Tom to basketball clinic and then we shot home to get ready to go out.  In my haste, I left the house without the tools and winch kit.  Teddy said something that reminded me so we went back to get them.  Jason called to give me an idea what time they'd be over so we headed for a local dirt road that I had read about online.


We were on our way back to get the winch kit and tools when Jason called to say they'd be about an hour.  So the kids and I got the stuff and went up to Sand Springs Road near the house.  I had read that it was an easy trail for bone-stock vehicles and I wanted to see what that meant around here.


Pretty much as expected, what I found was a dirt road with some washed out spots and some bare shale exposed here and there.  Very do-able in a stock vehicle and a no-brainer in mine.  I decided to drive in for about 30 minutes and then come back out to meet Jason and Ryan.  We got a ways in - up to the middle of Ryan Hollow then turned around and came back down to the road.  We met Jason and Ryan as they were coming up the road toward my house.

From there we hopped on the highway and drove down a couple exits and then dumped off into the Sandy Creek area south of Bruceton Mills.  There were lots of vehicles coming out with kayaks on board.   Jason took us down to Rockville and then over to the road that led down to Sandy Creek.  We stopped to air down and disconnect on the bridge then took a side trail up into the woods and along the creek to Wonder Falls.

Bridge over Little Sandy Creek

Jason, Kristie and RyanJason airing downKristieLittle Sandy Creek

Boys on the BridgeTime to Go!

Here they come

The first hill was the only iffy part.

Paul waits to go upRyan goes up

After that it was a nice drive in the beautiful woods on a great rainy day.

I have told a few people that I like the woods when it's wet.  I don't really mind the rain at all.  Of course I also like driving with top down and doors off.  But there's something about the woods when it's all shiny with fresh rain.  There's no dust.  The smells are very fresh.  In this case, I would add that the creek was flush with runoff and running high and fast.

Ryan tried a little fork in the trail and found he could not get over a rock so backed off and went the way Jason had chosen.

Trying the Road Less Traveled

Maybe Not...

Learning from Ryan I stuck to the main path as well.  Pretty soon we reached the spot where a nice waterfall runs by.  We left the Jeeps and walked a few yards down to the creek at Wonder Falls.

Ted and Tom in the backEnd of the Trail

It was not to be trifled with today.  If this creek was ever to be crossed with a vehicle, this was not the place and this was not the day.  The water was roaring down the pass and out of sight with a great fury.  It was dark with silt.

Ted's view of the rushing river at Wonder Falls

Nobody's swimming today at Wonder Falls!

Kids!  Get away from the Edge! Wonder Falls

The kids wanted to go out on the rocks over the bank and get a closer look.  Anyone who knows me has seen the cautious approach I take with the kids.  It kills me sometimes because I feel like I'm hovering.  And maybe I am.  But I just don't think a 5-year old and a 7-year old always comprehend the power of nature.  Thinking it might help to demonstrate it, I showed them how fast a large twig disappeared into the frothing flow.

This only served to heighten their interest.  Instead of creeping to the edge for a single glance, they began making trips back and forth over the wet, mossy rocks to snap twigs off the deadwood then return to the stream to toss them in...  So after a few attempts to discourage this, and after failing miserably, I marched the kids back to the bank and into the Jeep.   Mean Dad.  But I was going home dry with both of my kids still accounted for.   I may have marred their memory of the trip by my stern nature but at least they're alive to remember it!

Jason and Kristie on the way outRyan in the lead

We turned around and doubled back the way we came.  Ryan took point and soon we broke out on the main dirt road we'd followed in.  There was still some time left so we headed deeper into the woods following the main dirt road.  There were many interesting spots on either side of the trail. 

Got Rocks?

We followed a logging spur down to one side thinking we could get to Cooper Rock that way (It doesn't).  Soon we came to a fallen tree.  It would have been easy to deal with had I remembered to put my saw in the Jeep, or even better brought a chain saw.  We had neither so we turned around and went back up to the main road and on to pavement.

Near Bruceton Mills and Cooper RockSand Springs

Sand Springs and Bruceton Mills


We stopped there to air up and connect, and to chat for a few minutes.  Then we drove out to the road, under the highway right about even where King Trees is located, then up the side road parallel to the highway.  We passed the road that empties out from Sand Springs and will probably come out that way when we get a chance to run that whol trail.  When we got to the highway, I caught Jason and Ryan for a second to say thanks and then we got on the highway.

A little ways down we encountered a nice looking white Jeep out of gas on the breakdown lane.  I stopped and dumped my gallon reserve into his tank.  His help showed up right behind me and we headed out to go home.

When we reached our exit, we found Ryan airing up at the gas station.  We joined him and got air too.  I suggested the gas was cheaper down the road so we went and did that too, then we said our good-byes.

As you can see from the map, this is very close to my new home.  I have many times said in the past that if I could find a way to make a living here in West Virginia, I would move here.  Please realize that my decision to move here was made based on work and career, not to mention the desire to give my kids a good place to grow up.  But the sweetness of having the wilderness this close to my front door is a blessing!

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