Check out the first leg of our West Virginia roadtrip where we explored Berkeley Springs, Capon Springs, and Wardensville, WV. Read it here.
Our next destination is Seneca Rocks.
Seneca is a beautiful rock formation striding atop a mountain towering around 900 ft tall. this is part of the Monongahela National Forest and it’s gorgeous here any time of year.
There is a visitor center and observation decks here. If you are pressed for time, this is is a great place to stop and stretch and go to the bathroom before getting some terrific photos and hitting the road again.
But, if you can spare a day here, I encourage you to enjoy the scenery for a while longer. There is a moderate level hiking trail that leads to an observation deck. The hiking option is 3.4 miles. Another way to see Seneca is from horseback. From April to November ages 6 and older can ride on docile trail horses. For more information on horseback riding click here.
If you are a rock climbing enthusiast, you probably already know about Seneca. But, if you have ever been curious about the sport or love going to your local indoor climbing gym, you really should take the opportunity to try the real deal here. There are a couple guide services available and they cater to new climbers. I climbed Seneca years ago. It is one of the most physically demanding things I’ve ever done. But, few other times in my life rival the satisfaction I felt after conquering that mountain. Guides can be found here or here.
For lodging, check out Yokum’ s Vacationland. Or head down the road to Smoke Hole Caverns. Take the underground cavern tour ($15), browse the huge giftshop, and relax for the night in a pretty cabin on the property. Reserve a jucuzzi cabin here after your climb, you’re gonna need it.
Some tips and things to consider for this leg of the trip:
- Cell phone signal is practically non-existent for most here. AT&T has the best chance for coverage but, chances are, you won’t be able to use your phone for anything but taking pictures.
- Your GPS won’t be much help. Again, you won’t get a signal. So, print out paper directions before leaving home and bring a map.
- If you see a gas station, STOP! Stations are few and far between and this is not the place to run on empty.
- Bring a cooler. This is God’s country. There aren’t many restaurants to be found. It’s especially difficult to find anything open late. So, pack snacks, drinks, sandwiches, etc. This is even more important if you have food allergies or are vegan/vegetarian.
- If you ask for directions, expect people to tell you distances based on minutes, not miles. This is because some roads are meandering curves and switchbacks. This means that a few miles can take quite a long time to traverse.
- It’s dark here at night. It may sound silly but, if you are from the city, the thick blanket of darkness that covers this area at night may be a bit surprising. There aren’t streetlights. There are no neon signs or lit billboards. There’s no ambient light from rows of houses lining little streets. Its a stark contrast from most urban environments and it catches people off guard who aren’t used to it. Pack a flashlight in your glove box.
- Watch for deer. Be aware that whitetail deer in this area are plentiful. They will dart right out into the road into traffic. Be especially vigilent at dawn and dusk.