Encompassing 100,000 acres, the scenic Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area (NRA) contains the highest peak in West Virginia, some of the best rock climbing on the east coast, outstanding views and a chance to enjoy America's great outdoors. Congress established the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area in 1965. This area is unique because it was the first NRA to be designated in the USDA Forest Service. The Forest Service was directed to manage this special area with emphasis on the outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, cultural resource protection and scientific study. Other resources are managed in harmony with these emphasized activities. Cattle and sheep graze much of the open area, maintaining these areas in their open state, providing visual quality and benefiting wildlife while also providing beef and wool to local communities. Parts of the National Recreation Area are leased for natural gas production; openings built for gas wells are seeded with game-supporting grasses. Some areas are leased to farmers who raise corn or hay, continuing the rural agriculture landscape that has existed here for nearly 200 years. The Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks NRA provides a wealth of products, resources and recreational opportunities. Visitor facilities include the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, Seneca Shadows and Big Bend campground, and the Spruce Knob Tower. Many thousands of acres of unspoiled quiet land await discovery. Use your imagination to see how the area may have looked to the early settlers, as they crested the mountain ridges or moved up the river. Imagine living a self-sufficient life on a high hillside farm. Envision the Native Americans gathering food on hunting forays. You will discover not only beauty, but a sense of history in the NRA.
Could be rated as moderate due to the incline, but the trail is well groomed. Moderately traveled on a 58 degree Saturday in January (??). Parking was easy. The view of Seneca Rocks from the parking lot is beautiful, and the view from the overlook is nice. The old homestead and creek (with several bridges) are worth exploring before/after hiking the trail. Three paws up!
The trail is easy in the sense that it's wide level and well maintained. There are some rockier washed out sections at the steep switchback corners. The elevation gain makes it more moderate however. It was freezing rain and pretty foggy so we didn't get much of a view from the top but it was nice regardless. I wanted to explore more at the top but it wasn't clear where the trail continues to and it was getting late in the day.
Great trail. Easy hike if you're good with going uphill the whole time. Views at the top are stunning. Once you hit the top end of he trail you have the option to start climbing the rocks to some beautiful views. It is dangerous at this point so be careful and enjoy!
Came here on the last day of my weekend in WV, drove up the mountain and then walked the short trail to the look out tower. Loved all the trees and the thistles that were in bloom. However the best part of the whole experience was getting to see an adolescent black bear cross the road right in front of me on my drive back down the mountain, absolutely amazing! Really want to come back and walk some of the longer trails.
Very enjoyable trail. We left the summit and hiked down Huckleberry Trail 4.7 miles, then took a right on Lumberjack Trail. After about a mile on Lumberjack we found debris from the airplane hanging in the tree on the left side as we traveled. From there it's a 30 second hike into the woods downhill to the crash site.
Round trip it was just under 5 hours. We had our 10 year old with us. The hike was mostly wooded, with not many vistas but still beautiful. We met many other hikers. There was no a lot of elevation change, and most of the hike was fairly flat. The footing was the challenge. Much of it was either roots or rocks. I wore my running shoes but if I do it again I will wear my hiking boots for a little harder sole. Forget about cell service, so either take a map or GPS. I lost cell service along the drive and was able to find the summit by following the signs.
Not a bad hike. Some ankle rollers in spots along the trail. TAKE WATER!! Especially on the hot days. No water on either end of the trail, but you can fill up over at the store at the Y intersection. Take a dip at the swimming hole on your way out and get a really good view of where you hiked to.