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.

hiking
16 hours ago

pretty steep path uphill; I'd call moderate. But beautiful view at the top

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

Good hike up! Awesome view of the valley floor below... Can't wait to get back down this way next weekend!

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

Excellent views from the bottom and the top! A great family hike. Easy to get up this well-groomed trail.

one of my favorite local sprints, amazing payoff at the top

hiking
1 month ago

A vigorous climb to the top but so worth the view! Bring water on a hot day. Not easy but a moderate hike.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This is an excellent length day hike that takes around 5.5 - 6 hours round trip to the Spruce Knob summit and back, covering 10.4 miles (we had 10.9 with my extra walking around the summit, etc). I'd say ages 11 and up, depending on physical maturity, can do this hike. Not difficult except for the light bushwacking for the first mile and typical muddy portions of trail on Huckleberry.

Our family has made a tradition out of bagging eastern state high points over the past few years vacations. Spruce Knob was our 12th since 2014. We typically like the 6-8 mie variety with the exceptions of 10.4 on Hunt Trail at Baxter Peak/Katahdin and 2 miles for Hoye Crest in MD (this week, also). As you can imagine, the referenced 16 mile hike was a no-go for us as we typically travel a bit less than 2 mph given all of the stops and time at the summit. Fortunately for us, through a lot of online digging, we found an "unofficial" track that leads to the tight bend in the Huckleberry Trail, making a summit round trip right at 10.4 mi. I can't find the original post, but someone had provided a GPS track that started at Forest Road 274 off of FR 112. And, this is what we went with.

None of the land marks are difficut to find but it takes some mental toughness to continue when there seems to be no trail at the beginning of the trek. My mileage numbers were from US 33 E, right on Briery Gap Rd then 2.4 mi to Forest Road 112 then 2.6 miles to Forest Rd 274 on the right. This is actually not a drivable road and is gated just up from 112. We parked on the turnoff to the left, but you could also probably park at the entrance of 274, as long as you left enough space of a park service truck to enter (though it looks like that hasn't happened for some time). Anyway, we were a bit unsure as the road/trail was completely overgrown with weeds, etc. except for a thin path around the right-hand post of the gate. We were baited and started our hike. The night before, my daughter was researching this route and found some information in a post that my hours of research hadn't (yes, that's how much we like to hike to the summit instead of drive) - the exit from the forest road onto a connector trail to Huckleberry Trail was "1/4 mile past a stream crossing the road, with a white pipe, some orange flags, and big boulders." As we hiked along, not knowing how long we were supposed to be on the forest road, we saw a lot of big boulders, but none of the other landmarks. We did pass a large silver unearthed culvert at a stream, but continued on since the flags and boulders were missing. At around 1 mile we did cross a stream, and low and behold found after .12 miles orange marker tape on a tree, a possible trail in to the woods and boulders. This was the victory we needed and I was now confident we would have a successful ascent. To be noted, the track up the forest road is not well trod and I was bushwacking with a stick, though the track was apparent, it wasn't obvious, and could easily get overgrown. The GPS track I had printed had some switch backs on the way up to Huckleberry, but we did not hike these. The new trail was definite and clearly cut, though at times very tight due to rhododendron infringing on the trail. Less than a half mile later we were at the "point" in the Huckleberry Trail where it drops down on the trail map, then almost doubles back up. There was a well weathered sign pointing Trail 533 straight ahead and to the left (from where we had come from). We debated for a minute, mostly because it seemed we reached the trail too quickly) then decided to turn left and headed up. This was the correct route and we summitted around 3.5 miles later.

This is not a difficult hike - no difficult uphills but just mostly roots, rocks at some points, and the typical muddy trail sections, though none long. I would recommend hiking boots just to keep your feet dry and not have to worry so much about hiking around the mud - it's the typicaly pine needle-infused mud that you don't sink too deep into - usually. Oh, also, FR 274 had some wet spots, too.

hiking
1 month ago

Not too bad.

Very nice trail easy to walk. Beautiful view from top platform but 100% nicer view just up past the platform.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail was socked in all day. Heavy rain coming down the mountain. I still enjoyed the hike, even though there were no views.

hiking
2 months ago

A vary romantic thing to do with you significant other and vary wonderful experience also a good form of exercise for an active person

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail to get the heart rate up.