Area Map & Links: The description and link for each numbered listing are below the map.


1. Blackwater Falls State Park - This state park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River whose amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through an eight-mile long gorge. The black water is a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. The falls are one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia. More Information

2. Canaan Valley Resort State Park - Perched on the northern edge of the Monongahela National Forest, 3,200' above sea level, Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center boasts over 6,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, hills, and streams, and is minutes from the Nation's 500th Federal Wildlife Refuge. Play a leisurely game of golf, enjoy a rigorous mountain ascent, or relax by the pool. The 3,200' elevation causes air temperatures to be up to 15 degrees cooler than surrounding areas in the summer. A West Virginia State Park. More Information

3. Dolly Sods Wilderness - Dolly Sods Wilderness is 10,215 acres in size and has 25 miles of trails, many of which follow old railroad grades and logging roads. They do not have blazes and may or may not have signs. Most signs are expected to disappear over time as they are damaged and not replaced. Large rock cairns will mark major trail junctions, and smaller cairns may mark areas where the trail location is confusing. Deadfall trees will be made so that they are reasonably passable, but will not be completely cleared. This will help retain some of the naturalness of the area. No bridges are provided over streams. More Information; Dolly Sods Picnic Area

4. Big Bend Recreation Area - The main attraction is the canyon itself: it is nearly a half mile deep with many vertical walls. In 1965 this canyon was included in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area because of its outstanding scenery and recreation opportunities. The campground is the starting point for adventures into the lower canyon where there are no roads or trails. Canoes and kayaks launch near the day-use parking area.

The Big Bend Campground lies at the end of the Smoke Hole River Road. The campground is named for the horseshoe shaped bend in the South Branch of the Potomac River on which it was built. More Information


5. Smoke Hole Recreation Area - Smoke Hole Recreation Area lies in a dramatic canyon cut by the South Branch of the Potomac River. For over 20 miles the river has carved a half-mile deep canyon, with nearly vertical walls. Its most famous formation is Eagle Rock. Located north of Upper Tract, the road into the canyon, County Road 2, runs along the river until forced to a higher passageway to escape the tight confines of the canyon. At 4 miles there is a sheltered picnic area on the right over a low water bridge. The road terminates in another 4½ miles at the Big Bend Recreation Area, which has camping and is a favorite spot for people to go tubing in the gently flowing water flanked by towering cliffs. The Smoke Hole is managed by the Monongahela National Forest as a part of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. Smoke Hole Picnic Area

6. Seneca Rocks Discovery Center is located at the base of Seneca Rocks. It has an outstanding and majestic view of the vertical wall of Seneca Rocks dominating the scene. Interpretive programs are usually scheduled on weekends during the summer. On Friday evenings, movies of wildlife, local geology or history are presented at dusk in the outdoor amphitheater of the nearby Seneca Shadows campground. For a complete list of monthly scheduled events, special programs or presentations please contact the Discovery Center. More Information

Seneca Rocks - Purchased by the federal government in 1969, Seneca Rocks is one of the best-known landmarks in West Virginia. These rocks have long been noted as a scenic attraction and are popular with rock climbers. The rocks are a magnificent formation rising nearly 900 feet above the North Fork River. Eastern West Virginia contains many such formations of the white/gray Tuscarora quartzite. Seneca Rocks and nearby Champe Rocks are among the most imposing examples. The quartzite is approximately 250 feet thick and is located primarily on exposed ridges as caprock or exposed crags. Seneca Rocks Picnic Area

GreatLodge Hunting and Fishing Licenses


7. Seneca Shadows Recreation Area contains Seneca Shadows Campground, the newest campground in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. Many sites offer outstanding views of the 900 foot Seneca Rocks. This campground is a popular base camp for visitors while traveling through the Potomac Highlands. Fishing, rock climbing and sightseeing are a few of the many activities available in the area. An outdoor amphitheater hosts weekend programs. More Information

8. Camp Run Campground, located in the Sweedlin Valley, is ideal for people who want solitude without the usual campground amenities. First come, first served. No reservations. More Information

9. Spruce Knob - At 4,861 feet, it is the highest point in West Virginia. As you travel the 10 miles from base to peak, notice how the vegetation chances from hardwoods to alpine flora. Enjoy the 360 degree views of the Monongahela National Forest and the Middle Mountain Range. The Spruce Knob Area offers hikers a vast backcountry to explore. Nearly 70 miles of trails wind through stands of red spruce, open meadows and along fast-flowing mountain streams. Northern hardwood forests of maple, beech, birch, cherry and other trees cover most of the area creating a brilliant display of fall color. This area provides cool shade in the summer with many opportunities to see spring and summer wildflowers, birds and other wildlife. Elevation ranges from 3,000 feet to over 4,800 feet above sea level. Freezing temperatures can occur any time of the year. Snow can be expected anytime from October through April. The Forest Roads are not maintained during the winter, so call ahead for weather and road conditions. More Information

Spruce Knob Picnic Area is located on FS 104, which is the road to the top of Spruce Knob. The Spruce Knob Road is reached via FS 112. Spruce Knob Picnic Area

5. Smoke Hole Recreation Area 6. Seneca Rocks Discovery Center 7. Seneca Shadows Recreation Area 8. Camp Run Recreation Area 9. Spruce Knob 10. Spruce Knob Lake Campground 12. National Radio Astronomy Observatory 11. Brandywine Lake Recreation Area

10. Spruce Knob Lake Campground is located in a beautiful mixed hardwood forest near the 25-acre Spruce Knob Lake and within view of Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia. The lake is regularly stocked for trout fishing. A valid WV State Fishing License is required along with a National forest stamp and a trout stamp. Contact the WV Division of Natural Resources for more information on fishing and hunting licensing requirements. Fishing is available at nearby Spruce Knob Lake and in Gandy Creek. The campground contains 43 spacious and mostly barrier free campsites including 12 walk-in sites with vault toilets and potable water at hand pumps. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. Most sites also have level parking spurs and a tent pad. Some double sites are available. There are no electrical hookups or dump stations. Campers pay fees at a self-service station. More Information

For hunting and fishing regulations, as well as additional recreation information, visit West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

11. Brandywine Lake Recreation Area is a picturesque area featuring swimming, fishing, camping, and picnicking. Brandywine Lake is 10 acres in size and offers a sandy beach, swimming area and changing rooms. Boats without motors are welcome beyond the swimming area. The lake offers fishing for stocked trout and is encircled by an anglers' trail. A West Virginia fishing license is required to fish in the lake. More Information; Additional link

12. National Radio Astronomy Observatory - The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a research facility of the U.S. National Science Foundation. They provide state-of-the-art radio telescope facilities for use by the scientific community. They conceive, design, build, operate and maintain radio telescopes used by scientists from around the world. Scientists use these facilities to study virtually all types of astronomical objects known, from planets and comets in the Solar System to quasars and galaxies billions of light-years away. More Information

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1. Blackwater Falls State Park 2. Canaan Valley Resort State Park 3. Dolly Sods Wilderness 4. Big Bend Recreation Area