Seneca Rocks State park has the highest peak in West Virginia and provides outdoor recreation in a central location
Seneca Rocks is a local landmark in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Seneca Rocks is one of the best known landmarks in West Virginian and the faces of the rocks are popular with rock climbers. The rock forms 900 feet above the confluence of Seneca Creek.
The Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area is part of the Monongahela National Forest which is over 100,000 acres of products, resources and recreational activities. These activities include a visitor centre, campgrounds and the Spruce Knob Tower.
The rocks are an example of the formations of the white/gray Tuscarora quartzite. The quartzite is approximately 250 feet thick and is located primarily on exposed ridges. The rock is composed of fine grains of sand that were laid approximately 440 million years ago, then as the ocean slowly closed the underlying rock uplifted and folded. After years of erosion stripped away the overlying rock, the remnants of the arching folds formed Seneca Rocks.
Camping in the National Recreation Area is available in different campgrounds. Seneca Shadows Campground is opened from May to the end of October and offers many different size and style of campsites in looped areas. The Spruce Knob Lake Campground is located in a mixed hardwood forest and offers picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets and water from hand pumps. The lake is stocked throughout the year for trout fishing. The Gateway Campground can accommodate large camping groups and access is only allowed by a campground host.
The Seneca Rocks hiking trail is a 1.3 mile trail running from the North Fork River up the rick to an observation deck located just below the peak of the rocks. The trail is a wide gravel path with steps to ease the grade along with benches at rest points to make this a hike that people of all ages are able to complete.
For climbers wanting to climb the rock they have a choice of over 375 major routes that vary in difficulty. Two Climbing schools are in the area to train perspective climbers and in nearby Riverton is a school that offers climbers rescue courses.
There is romance linked to the rocks, `The Betrothal of Snow Bird, Princess of the Seneca Indians', written by Harry Malcolm Wade, is the story of Princess Snow Bird who would climb in the shadow of the rocks to contest to her father, and suitors would follow her. The first suitor to take her hand would become her mate. Snow Bird and her future mate believed that they would rule Seneca one day. Even though Seneca tribesman passing through the area were transients.
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