Spruce Knob

HARD 25 reviews

Spruce Knob is a 10.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Riverton, West Virginia and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and scenic driving and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
10.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1391 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

scenic driving

trail running

hiking
5 days 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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this one in Feb of this year. Pretty smooth down to Seneca creek where we camped by a beautiful water fall. The only negative on the way down is Lumberjack rd. It was a swampy mess and was feet were soaked by the time we got to the end. The next morning it was a 6 mile hike back out and its straight up. Probably the only time I have ever longed for switch backs. Lol. All things considered I really enjoyed the loop...16 miles round trip ...second day taxes you pretty good summiting Spruce Knob but good mix of easy and hard.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful views with a good mixture of scenery. Heading down the mountain was not very challenging but if you use lumberjack trail I highly recommend wearing boots. It is a sloppy mess.

Once we made it to the creek, there are plenty of campsites with the peaceful sound of the creek in the background. We returned back up the mountain on Judy springs trail. This was by far the biggest challenge of the entire hike. The elevation gain just on this trail is grueling. This portion is why this hike is considered hard.

We felt very accomplished when we completed it and will most definitely be visiting again.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail starts on a fireroad just off the main road. The part when the trail goes from fireroad to trail is easy to miss and we ended up having to bushwhack our way almost to the where the trail meets the huckleberry trail. On the fireroad, less than a quarter mile after you cross the stream and white drainage tunnel, there are orange plastic flags off to the left and six or seven large boulders, the trail into the woods starts there and although switch backs are noted on the trail, we didn't encounter any. It was an enjoyable, semi challenging trail with nice views at the top. There are multiple boggy and rocky areas so waterproof hiking shoes are a must

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a downhill trail that, at time can be taxing on your legs, but with the gorgeous views, it's one of my favorites!

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked 15 miles today. The beginning of the huckleberry trail is hard to find. it's beautiful, and a nice temperature. it was hard to look around at the scenery in order to be sure of your footing. make sure to wear lots of ankle support.

backpacking
2 months ago

We started at the Huckleberry trailhead and hiked until we got to the Lumberjack trail where we turned right. We passed the plane crash and headed to Seneca Creek trail to set up camp. The trail was foggy and mossy and there were nice meadow areas. There were a lot of rocks and roots to navigate and after the rain the next day the trail was wet and muddy for the hike back to the car. It was a pretty trail.

3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is not for cars at all, there is just a road that runs parallel to it about a mile away. The top part is about 4-5 miles and is pretty flat with a lot of rocks. Very cool trail.

scenic driving
4 months ago

8 months ago

scenic driving
9 months ago

12 mile drive to the top. Beautiful views to stop and take photos. 17 miles if you want to stop at the lake and go for a hike or fish. Enjoy.

scenic driving
9 months ago

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.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

hiking
Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hiked twice, just didn't have this app and cell coverage was very poor.

hiking
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

By far my favorite trail on the east coast. I've done this hike in every season, even trekking in on the snow covered roads just to sleep on snow at the first campsite just off the parking lot. You will cross mountainside meadows, sleep by waterfalls, and if you know where to look, investigate a plane crash from the 70s. I highly recommend this trail.

Monday, March 28, 2016