Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek - MNF
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High Meadows/Seneca Creek - Seneca Rocks, West Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
13.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
2 Days. 6 hours 1st day, 2 hours 2nd day
1,210 ft
Monongahela National Forest
FS Seneca Creek Backcountry (PDF)
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Seneca Rocks Weather Forecast
Graphic Precip/Temp Forecast
Current Weather Radar Loop (Java)
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route!

e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Parking area on gravel FR112 has spots for 10 vehicles. 38.71179, -79.54994

The sister hike to the Allegheny/Seneca Creek circuit, the High Meadows loop also has spectacular views from two open pastures on Spruce Mountain. With views, Seneca Falls, and some of the best camping spots in the Monongahela, the Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek area is one of the best backpacking destinations on the east coast.

From the Seneca Creek parking area, hike up FR112 for the only section of road walking on the loop. In 0.7 miles turn left off FR112 onto the Lumberjack Trail (TR534). All the trails are marked with blue diamonds.

The Lumberjack Trail is very boggy, even in dryer weather. If there has been any rainfall within the past week be prepared to take extra time on the the Lumberjack Trail. Follow the Lumberjack Trail for 3.6 miles and arrive at the intersection of the Huckleberry Trail (TR533). Continue straight on the Lumberjack Trail for another 2.0 miles, passing through a small clearing, then arriving at the High Meadows Trail junction.

Stay left on the High Meadows Trail where in 150 yards it cuts back to the left heading steeply downward for 0.4 miles before entering the first set of meadows. Cross to the opposite side of the meadow where a blue diamond trail post marks the descent, and several acres of wild blackberry bushes. After passing through the blackberry's the trail will turn back to the left and reenter the forest. Continue to follow the trail for 0.4 miles, then be alert as the trail turns right downhill off the old path it has been following.

At this point the High Meadows Trail passes through a rocky area in the forest, and is hard to follow for the next 200 yards before entering the next set of meadows. Follow the blue diamond trail markers through the meadows as it descends to the left for another 0.4 miles before heading more directly downward, then turning more uphill to the left.

As you enter the forest cross a small stream, and arrive at the next intersection. Turn right downward towards Seneca Creek (the arrow has been scrapped off the sign), and in 0.2 miles reach Seneca Creek at which point the trail turns right downstream. Continue for 0.1 miles, turn left crossing a small gully, and in 150 yards turn sharply down to the junction of the Seneca Creek Trail (TR515).

You will cross Seneca Creek here, but first turn right for 75 yards to the Seneca Falls overlook. There are also several campsites 100 yards further on. After visiting the falls head back up the trail and cross Seneca Creek, and pass a campsite on the right. Continue on the right bank of the creek for 1.0 miles before crossing back over to the left bank. In 100 yards there is single campsite at the top of a small waterfall, and in another 200 yards a larger camping area. Cross Seneca Creek again, and in 0.1 miles there is one of the prettiest camping spots in the Monongahela with a waterfall on the opposite back.

In 0.1 miles pass the intersection of the Bear Hunter Trail on the right before arriving at the Judy Springs campground. Pass through the campground, and continue past the Judy Springs Trail (TR512) on the left, DO NOT cross the footbridge. In 0.5 miles cross Seneca Creek for the last time where the trail becomes easier to follow for the remainder of the hike. Pass the Swallow Rock Trail in another 0.5 miles, and the Tom Lick Trail 1.4 miles further on. 1.0 miles past the Tom Lick Trail arrive back at the Seneca Creek parking area.

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Hiker Reviews For The High Meadows/Seneca Creek Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the High Meadows/Seneca Creek hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: reswob10 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
Great Hike! Just as beautiful as everyone says.  Great for beginner hikers.

Only word of warning, don't use the tool above to get directions to the parking lot/trail head (the blank entry that asks you to put in your starting point).  It puts you on FR112 just south of Seneca Knob campground.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 06, 2015
The Seneca Creek parking area was packed!! Most of the people were just there for the day though. We got started about 1 pm and considered parking at the Lumberjack trail head, but decided it would be best to do that uphill on the forest road 1st rather than last. Lumberjack is boggy, but I think we went on one of the better days because of the drought conditions we have been having. If you have hiked in Dolly Sods, then you can handle these bogs. You pretty much walk straight onto the High Meadows Trail, so don't feel like you've missed it. Every intersection is marked with a wooden sign. When we reached Seneca Falls, it was breathtaking!! We could not have asked for a better camping experience or spot!! We had the whole area to ourselves!! The next day, we did the 5+ miles back out to the parking area. There were a lot of people camping around the Judy Springs area. I would have to say that this hike is a 'low' 3 as far as difficulty is concerned. I (mrs roberts) carried a 25-28 lb backpack, and did about seven miles with a blister on my heel.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 08, 2015
Great hike with diverse scenery! The only strenuous part was the descent starting at High Meadows - it's the last leg of the first day and was difficult.

The directions, as stated in other comments, are a bit off, though it's pretty straightforward.. Once you hit High Meadows Trail (which was our favorite part), you'll keep going through three large meadows. After the third meadow, you'll come to a creek crossing - it's a small waterfall with water running over smooth rocks and then falls down some small levels. Be careful crossing - it's an easy one to slip on and seriously hurt yourself.

After this crossing, the trail winds for a half mile down hill, with campsites on your right as you defend. There's no clear signs, but once you get to the bottom and the creek is right in front of you, you have two options. Go left, you'll immediately come to a creek crossing that's at least 20 feet long. Go right, and you'll follow the creek and pass by the falls and a lot of camp sites. If you camp, you'll need to cross the stream (this is the start of the Seneca Creek trail). There's also a few campsites on this side of the stream. We came out on the seneca creek trail as we didn't want to do all the uphill and re-hike the huckleberry (but also had a car parked there...you wouldn't be able to walk back to your car at Huckleberry trailhead from Seneca trailhead without a ride). There are at least 4 creek crossings on the full Seneca Trail which vary, but you should be ready to take off your boots at least once or twice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Beautiful, beautiful and more beautiful...love the feel of this forest. Completed some trails in this area as a day hike. I'm going back! Cool air, less buggy than SNP and great scenery...this area has it all...

By: Brian B. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 24, 2013
Overall, an excellent hike (done as overnight backpack). But note that no one is kidding about the boggy conditions - I think there was quite a bit of recent rain, so the entire first day was pretty soggy, and as for some of the Lumberjack trail. . .I've literally seen drier rainforests, with several boot-sucking sections to cross. Camped at the falls (three excellent sites on your left just past the overloook) I pitched my tent maybe 50 yards away. The high meadows are indeed nice no blueberries yet but some ripe rasberries, and the hike up Seneca Creek is fanstastic. Saw a number of folks (two other groups camped at the falls, and maybe 3-4 others on the way out). BTW, don't miss the spur road to the top of Spruce Knob. . .well worth a small detour.

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Early August
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