An easy drive from Harrisonburg, VA or the southern portion of Shenandoah National Park, Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks are two beautiful places you must see in West Virginia. Both these spots are part of the Monongahela National Forest and just a 30 minute drive apart, so they’re perfect for a day trip from Shenandoah or the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. We enjoyed a quick camping weekend here in the early spring.
Admission to each site is free.
West Virginia’s highest peak, Spruce Knob is a beautiful spot with alpine vegetation not commonly found on the east coast. Take a half mile loop hike on Whispering Spruce Trail around the knob and climb the short observation tower to enjoy panoramic views of West Virginia. The large boulders and alpine look reminded us of Oregon.
An iconic West Virginian landmark, these rocks are a beautiful scenic attraction and a very popular spot for rock climbers. Rising nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River, Seneca Rocks is a unique challenge to rock climbers, offering over 375 mapped climbing routes. But even those who don’t intend to climb Seneca rocks or even hike to its base will enjoy a visit. The Seneca Rocks Discovery Center offers an excellent viewpoint of the landmark as well as wonderful exhibits and a film on the history of the area. Seneca Rocks was an important training location for American troops during World War II.
Enjoy a walk through the Discovery Center grounds. Cross Seneca Creek to see the historical Homestead site on the property and take the start of the Seneca Rocks trail to cross the bridge over North Fork River. Several areas around the property offer viewpoints of the rocks. Even the Discovery Center parking lot has a great view!
Pack a picnic dinner if you plan to stay overnight. There are very few restaurant options in this area.
Book a cabin or motel at Yokum’s or camp at Seneca Shadows Campground. Add on a visit to Seneca Caverns before heading home.
Extend the Trip
Here are a few more beautiful spots in West Virginia that are on our short list for our next trip:
Continue north to Blackwater Falls State Park in the Allegheny Mountains. Visit Blackwater Falls, Lindy Piont, Elakala Falls, and Pendleton Point Overlook. The park also offers over 20 hiking trails and options for camping as well as a lodge.
To the north of Blackwater Falls State Park, you’ll find Cathedral State Park with towering hemlock trees. The oldest hemlock is 20 feet around at the base, 123 feet tall, and estimated to be 500 years old.
To the west of Seneca Rocks is Audra State Park. You’ll want to see Middle Fork River and Alum Cave while you’re there.
And of course, the newly crowned New River Gorge National Park is well worth a visit. View the New River Gorge Bridge on the boardwalk paths from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. Drive Fayette Station Road and the continue south to Grandview Visitor Center and the Main Overlook.