I've visited Spruce Knob more times than I can begin to count. As part of
the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks Recreation Area, this highpoint is in one
of the finest areas in the east for backpacking, rock climbing, caving,
and whitewater paddling. The summit is one of a handful of spots in
West Virginia where the high elevation has created an alpine-like island
in the sky. Also of interest are the "one-sided" spruce trees which owe
their asymetrical shape to the harsh climate and strong winds.
My first visit was in 1974. I made many return visits here in the
70's and 80's, driving up each time. Then in 1999 I made two less
The first of those two was in June when Diane Baker and I made a one-day
highpoint circuit of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. We knew
we needed to get an early start here in order to also make it to the other
two highpoints, plus a few other points of interest we wanted to see. That
gave us the idea to be on the summit at before sunrise.
The summit was cloud covered and pitch black when we arrived. I thought
the clouds would ruin any hope I had for some nice sunrise pictures but
as the sun burned through the clouds some interesting effects were
created. You can see the photographic results below.
My second visit in 1999 was a two-day backpack with highpointer Steve
Tricarico. We wanted to get in about twenty miles of hiking so I came
up with a circuitous point-to-point route through the best of the Seneca
Backcountry, ending on top of Spruce Knob.
I'd highly recommend this route to anyone wishing to make their Spruce
Knob ascent on foot. It turned out to be an outstanding hike with an
exceptional camp near a waterfall and swimming hole in Seneca Creek.
Since this was a hot mid-summer weekend, we made ample use of the
wonderful swimming hole. It was about 40 feet wide, 20 feet long and
eight feet deep with a 15-foot waterfall pouring into it.
Here was our itinerary
(click here for map)
Start at the Big Run (of Gandy Creek) Trailhead on route 29. Hike the
Big Run Trail to the North Prong Trail. Turn left on the North Prong
Trail. At the intersection with the Allegheny Mountain Trail turn right
onto the Allegheny Mountain Trail, then shortly take a left turn onto
the Tom Lick Trail. Tom Lick T's into the Seneca Creek Trail. Turn left
at that intersection. Follow the Seneca Creek Trail to the Huckleberry
Trail. We camped near this intersection. Turn right on the Huckleberry
trail. After a short distance turn left on the High Meadows Trail.
The High Meadows Trail eventually makes a sharp right turn and becomes
the Lumberjack Trail. Where the Lumberjack intersects the Huckleberry
Trail turn left and proceed to Spruce Knob.