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Hiker Comments for the Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek Hike - 1 to 44 of 44   
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By: Wolly and friends Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 12, 2019
Awesome hike( my favorite now), it rained the previous two days making the trail difficult at times but manageable with a good pair of waterproof boots.

We arrived in the valley later in the day and had difficulty finding a camping site as most were already filled.

The Seneca Creek was beautiful, the mountain laurel was in full bloom, the entire hillside was covered in flowers almost making it look

We didnt have any issues with bugs or mosquitoes.light lightening bugs. There were waterfalls everywhere you looked , including one cascading down a flat rock.

We swam below the largest waterfall, the water was cold but very refreshing, the creek was running strong making the falls looks spectacular.

You need to do this hike at least once in your lifetime.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 16, 2019
This was a fantastic hike, although I'd be interested in coming back at a warmer time. Writing this review because I see very few posts about hiking this in March (when most are rightfully inclined to stay indoors).

My girlfriend and I arrived at the trailhead on Friday night around 9:30pm. It was scary. 20 mph winds, pitch black, and light snow. It took us a while to find the trailhead. Note that the trailhead is NOT the Spruce Knob circuit hike (about .4 mi). We made that mistake. I'd recommend saving that short circuit hike for after completing the trail, when you can drop off your packs and climb the fire tower with ease. The trailhead for THIS hike is immediately to the left when you enter the parking lot at Spruce Knob.

We set up camp Friday night about 200 yards from the trailhead. There are a bunch of nice campsites there for those like us who for some reason enjoy setting up a tent with headlamps to get an extra night in the woods in. We woke up Saturday morning to find about a half inch of snow on the ground. Note that the Seneca Rocks weather station forecast is not accurate for this hike. This hike will be a good 7 degrees colder than the temperatures at Seneca Rocks, if not more. The Huckleberry Trail was nice because most of the mud was frozen over. The Lumberjack Trail was insanely muddy as well--even the cold temps were not enough to keep our boots from the mud. Note that the plane crash is NOT visible from the trail. I put up a rock formation on the left side of the trail to try and show others where it is. If you struggle to find it, enter "38.76409,79.49852" into Google Maps (works without cell service) as the hiking instructions suggest to find it. The site is somber, but interesting.

Your first stream crossing will be at the "intersection" of the Horton Creek Trail and the Seneca Creek Trail. I put that in quotations because it isn't clear that the Horton Creek Trail has turned into the Seneca Creek Trail. The trail name changes once you cross the Creek. Make sure you don't miss Seneca Falls maybe 100ft down to the right (on the Horton Trail) before you cross Seneca Creek. Once you see the falls, head back up the trail and cross right before Seneca Falls. I'm not sure if we got lucky, but the Creek is not as dangerous as other posters would suggest. The water was shin-high, though we had to take off our boots and brave the near-freezing water. It was the coldest water I've ever experienced, though it made the hike more memorable! We had to cross the Creek three times total, all on the first day. The last Creek crossing is a bit confusing...we got lost. Cross the Creek, then take a sharp left and follow the Creek to the "prettiest campsite in the Monongahela." We saw two hikers with their dog at this point--the only people we saw on the trail the whole time we were out there. If you're hiking when we did, you'll probably have your choice of campsite. This campsite is gorgeous. It has a waterfall, a stone mill grinder turned into a table, and a bunch of seats. We got to the site around 5, struggled to get a robust fire going, and turned in early. We kept warm with our two 20 degree bags inside a REI Siesta Double two person sleeping bag.

The only truly strenuous hiking comes on the second day. The Judy Springs Trail is straight uphill--no switchbacks--for a half mile or so. This trail is a bit confusing to find. After you cross the wooden bridge, take a LEFT. To the right is Judy Springs (not worth seeing)...the namesake for the trail, but not actually ON the Judy Springs Trail. The Judy Springs Trail has some of the nicest views of the whole hike, albeit to your back. The rest of the hiking is pretty straightforward after this intersection--head back to the Huckleberry Trail via the Horton Trail and make your way to the parking lot. We left camp around 9:30 and were back to our car before noon.

Put your packs back in your car and do the Spruce Knob path sans pack as a reward. The view from the fire tower is a beaut. We went to a hole-in-the-wall place called Pupuseria Emerita in Moorefield (about an hour away from the trailhead) on the way back to DC. The pupusas were cheap and greasy, and stopping there was a nice way to break up the drive.

I can't vouch for the trail conditions in the Spring/Fall/Summer, but in the late Winter, it was fine. Seconding Emill9du's suggestion to print out and laminate the "FS Seneca Creek back country (PDF)" map. The route made no sense without it.

I like this hike just as much as, if not more than Dolly Sods--though the Sods undoubtedly has better views. The frigid creek crossings and the plane crash made the extra driving worth it.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 5, 2018
Great hike but it was quite muddy at some points (mostly on Lumberjack Trail).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2018
Overall a great hike! I understand why people say it is one of the best in the area for the diversity. It starts with wide panoramas at the lookout by the parking lot, then goes to thick moss covered forests, mountain meadows, and then river hiking and water crossings. This could be made into a 2-3 day hike.

Of note, the first 5-6 miles on the lumberjack trail do not have scenic views except for the lookout at the parking lot at Spruce knob. I didn't realize this before starting. If you wanted to make the hike shorter, it looks like there is a road that meets up with the huckleberry trail a few miles in. This would probably but out 3-4 miles each way (didn't get the exact distances). You would miss the panoramic views at the Spruce Knob parking lot though, but you would still get the mountain meadows on High Meadows Trail/Judy Springs Trail and the river views on Seneca River Trails.

By: Late September Backpackers Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 28, 2018
My partner and I did this hike as a 2 night - 3 day trip. I wouldn't classify this hike as very difficult, however its an enjoyable backpacking trip with beautiful camping spots. Highly recommend waterproof hiking boots. Also important to note you have to cross a wide river at least 3 times. I don't know how high the river is normally but after a rain it is at least knee deep with fairly strong currents.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 15, 2018
Solo hiker - I started early Friday and only saw three other hikers until I made it to Seneca Creek which gets quite a bit of a traffic. A large majority of the campsites were occupied on Friday at 2:00. I choose what I believe is the third campsite you encounter on Seneca Creek Trail which I loved. You had to cut across the creek to get to it which allowed for quite a bit of privacy compared to the others that are right off the trail. Saturday I hiked back up Spruce Knob and encoutered a lot of day hikers and over-nighters. If you start this hike on Saturday with the intention of camping Saturday night, start very early to beat the crowd. Water is ample on the creek but make sure you have ample water to get you there and ample water before you hike back out.

Lumberjack does require focus as the rocks are slippery and not stable. I also saw quite a few bear prints on lumberjack but saw no bears!

There is a slight descrepency in the directions, unless of course I missed an intersection but the forest map correctly shows what I describe below. I strongly suggest all those hiking this trail bring this map with them:

Mile 6.7 - Veer left onto the High Meadows Trail TR564..... At the end of the second large meadow cross a small creek and arrive a the intersection of the Horton Trail (Not Huckleberry Trail) and end of the High Meadows Trail. ** I believe there were three meadows and you cross a small creek TWICE before you hit the intersection of High Meadows Trail and Horton trail.***

Mile 8.6 - Turn right downhill on the Horton Trail (not Huckleberry) for 0.5 miles where the Horton Trail (not Huckleberry) intersects with the Seneca Creek Trail TR515. (Must go down a little hill and cross Seneca Creek to reach the Seneca Creek trail.)

Mile 9.1 - Continue right downstream on the Horton Trail (not Seneca creek) for 75 yards to view Seneca Falls . Now return up up the Horton Trail (not Seneca Creek Trail and again you do not pass the Huckleberry Trail, and cross Seneca Creek for the first time to reach the Seneca Creek Trail. There will be a very large campsite right there on the banks of the creek.

All in all, I loved this hike and would definitely do it again!

By: Be Safe Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 9, 2018
This is a serious message about hiking safety. We started at the trailhead of Seneca #515 on Friday 6/8, camped overnight at the upper falls of the Seneca. Our intention was to do some fly fishing while hiking and camping. All was good until we started to go to the un-trailed portion of Seneca Creek in an effort to get down to the lower falls of the Seneca at the end of FR 1580 and get back to the parking lot near White's Run where Allegheny Mountain Trail 532 ends. To be clear, this section of Seneca Creek between the trailed section and the lower falls is impassable, dangerous and quite possibly deadly. There were three experienced hikers in our party, about 2/3 of the way down we decided to send one ahead to notify authorities. He made it out at the lower falls at about 10 hours after leaving, we followed out about 2 hours later. If you have any ideas that this hike will be a nature walk, good adventure or "test" of your hiking skills I strongly recommend that you put your affairs in order before you leave on this hike because you may never return. My advice to anyone hiking off the USFS trails is to avoid this kind of stunt, it is a bad idea. Beyond the pure danger, the scenery is indescribably beautiful with natural wonder. Many waterfalls over 20' high, dozens of low falls 10' high, rock formations that boggle the mind, crystal-clear water...truly the very best West Virginia and the Appalachian mountains have to offer. This was beauty that I will never see in my life again! Don't be foolish and risk you life to see safe!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
We did this hike over Spring Break and will write a thorough review soon. In the meantime, we thought folks might want to see our post that tells the story behind the plane wreckage featured along Lumberjack Trail:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Leaving a review mostly to comment on the trail conditions when we went in early March 2018. This winter has not been very snowy, and there was no snow at the base of the mountain when we turned off of WV-28 onto Briery Gap Road. We encountered snow about halfway up the mountain, on the unmaintained Forest Roads however, the road up to the top is not steep, we stuck to the tracks that previous cars had left, and had no trouble making it up the mountain even in a small front wheel drive sedan. The composting toilet at the parking lot was open and stocked with plenty of toilet paper. There was no cell reception I would recommend downloading an offline map/directions ahead of time.

We walked a few miles down the Huckleberry Trail the snow was several inches deep, but it was fairly obvious where the trail went in most places, and there are trail blazes every few hundred feet. (It didn't hurt that we were following a couple sets of earlier footprints.) We were able to walk in normal shoes/boots - no skis or snowshoes required, though it was obviously harder to walk in than the trail would be were it dry. We passed several of the campsites mentioned in the trail description, completely covered in snow - if you wanted to camp, you'd have to clear it away or camp on top of the snow. We also saw a few animal tracks - deer, and something small with paws and claws! We're definitely looking forward to going back later in the year once the trail thaws out!

By: Collin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 14, 2017
Second time hiking this. I made a last-minute decision to do this whole guy in a day. Being of relative fitness with a desk job was able to do it in just shy of 7 hours. The ridge down on Huckleberry is gorgeous and has some great waterless camping. Depending on how muddy some sections of this trail is will give you a good gauge of how bad lumberjack will be. A lot of reviews say Lumberjack is terrible, but on a drier spell there are only 2 sections that will give you trouble. Last time I hiked it rained 4 inches the day before and I managed to get through this section without wet sneakers with a bit of rock hopping (pro-tip: use trekking poles to poke around for rocks where you don't initially see any).

High Meadows trail is incredible. You pass through 3 meadows with the first two being the best. I really like the second, but there is nowhere really to sit and enjoy that isn't right on the trail. The covered sections are nice as well, but there are a significant amount of angular rocks at each step.

The creek is beautiful with plenty of camping. The "best camping spot in all of WV" is always occupied, but you can check anyway. It is about 15 minutes from the first creek crossing.

When you hit the wood bridge it is a tad confusing especially if there are leaves down. Take a left to a campsite that is only 50 ft away and then look to the right and you will see the trail starting to head up. To know you are on the right track- after maybe 5-10 minutes of uphill you will come to a wooden gate that is at the start of the last meadow. Once you get back to the ridgeline however you will always have the same thought- you will enjoy it for about half the distance and then the last 2 miles you will not understand why it is so long. It is too bad that this hike overlaps the same trail for about 9 miles, but so it goes. Definitely my favorite hike in WV/VA.

By: Joe B in NC Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
This is an excellent length day hike that takes around 5.5 - 6 hours to the Spruce Knob summit, covering 10.4 miles (we had 10.9 with my extra walking around the summit, etc). I'd say ages 11 and up, depending on physical maturity, can do this hike. Not difficult except for the light bushwacking for the first mile and typical muddy portions of trail on Huckleberry.

Our family has made a tradition out of bagging eastern state high points over the past few years vacations. Spruce Knob was our 12th since 2014. We typically like the 6-8 mie variety with the exceptions of 10.4 on Hunt Trail at Baxter Peak/Katahdin and 2 miles for Hoye Crest in MD (this week, also). As you can imagine, the referenced 16 mile hike was a no-go for us as we typically travel a bit less than 2 mph given all of the stops and time at the summit. Fortunately for us, through a lot of online digging, we found an "unofficial" track that leads to the tight bend in the Huckleberry Trail, making a summit round trip right at 10.4 mi. I can't find the original post, but someone had provided a GPS track that started at Forest Road 274 off of FR 112. And, this is what we went with.

None of the land marks are difficut to find but it takes some mental toughness to continue when there seems to be no trail at the beginning of the trek. My mileage numbers were from US 33 E, right on Briery Gap Rd then 2.4 mi to Forest Road 112 then 2.6 miles to Forest Rd 274 on the right. This is actually not a drivable road and is gated just up from 112. We parked on the turnoff to the left, but you could also probably park at the entrance of 274, as long as you left enough space of a park service truck to enter (though it looks like that hasn't happened for some time). Anyway, we were a bit unsure as the road/trail was completely overgrown with weeds, etc. except for a thin path around the right-hand post of the gate. We were baited and started our hike. The night before, my daughter was researching this route and found some information in a post that my hours of research hadn't (yes, that's how much we like to hike to the summit instead of drive) - the exit from the forest road onto a connector trail to Huckleberry Trail was "1/4 mile past a stream crossing the road, with a white pipe, some orange flags, and big boulders." As we hiked along, not knowing how long we were supposed to be on the forest road, we saw a lot of big boulders, but none of the other landmarks. We did pass a large silver unearthed culvert at a stream, but continued on since the flags and boulders were missing. At around 1 mile we did cross a stream, and low and behold found after .12 miles orange marker tape on a tree, a possible trail in to the woods and boulders (still no white pipes). This was the victory we needed and I was now confident we would have a successful ascent. To be noted, the track up the forest road is not well trod and I was bushwacking with a stick though the track was apparent, it wasn't obvious, and could easily get overgrown. The GPS track I had printed had some switch backs on the way up to Huckleberry, but we did not hike these. The new trail was definite and clearly cut, though at times very tight due to rhododendron infringing on the trail. Less than a half mile later we were at the "point" in the Huckleberry Trail where it drops down on the trail map, then almost doubles back up. There was a "well weathered" sign pointing Trail 533 straight ahead and to the left (from where we had come from). We debated for a minute, mostly because it seemed we reached the trail too quickly) then decided to turn left and headed up. This was the correct route and we summited around 3.5 miles later.

This is not a difficult hike - no difficult uphills but just mostly roots, rocks at some points, and the typical muddy trail sections, though none long. I would recommend hiking boots just to keep your feet dry and not have to worry so much about hiking around the mud - it's the typically pine needle-infused mud that you don't sink too deep into - usually. Oh, also, FR 274 had some wet spots, too.

By: Jen M Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 19, 2017
Just did this hike over Friday/Saturday... here are my contributions

Tip #1 - Wear high boots or skip the Lumberjack trail portion... the views there aren't anything special (other than the plane crash) and the muck seems Artax-Neverending Story-level bad.

Tip #2 - Bring bugspray, the gnats wear you down over time

Tip #3 - (others have said this too)... the names/intersections are much clearer on the ranger map, so either grab one from the ranger station or print it here:

With that in mind the trail is wonderful. The beginning is a gentle roll with carpets of moss and pine needles broken up by rocky mountain tops. The lower portion is beautiful lush forest and creek. Be prepared to take off your shoes to wade, but the water is crisp, cool, and totally worth it!

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 19, 2017
We hiked in on 5/19 and hiked out on 5/21.  In fact, we met Jen, the prior reviewer!  At least, my buddy and I met someone named Jen!  We skipped the Lumberjack portion and just headed directly down to Seneca Creek.  The waterfall is even more beautiful than the picture and the pool at its base makes for some great swimming.  Although only two campsites are pictured here, there must be at least a dozen up and down Seneca Creek.  All are near pleasantly noisy stream sections.  We really enjoyed this hike, but a few things to emphasize:  like other reviewers noted, bring bug repellent.  It's not overwhelming, but some areas have black flies or mosquitoes.  The Picaridin based repellents made it a breeze.  Also, the trail from Spruce Knob is very rocky from start to finish.  Not only do you have to constantly watch your footing, but stepping on the smallish rocks can make you very foot-sore by the end of the hike.  Also, about 3/4 of a mile after leaving Seneca Creek, there are no more decent water sources on the way to the summit.  If the weather is warm, pack a little more water than you think you need.  Prior reviewers were also right about trail marking discrepancies.  We did a day hike from Seneca Creek Trail to Bear Hunter Trail to Allegheny Mountain Trail and returning on Horton Trail.  The intersection of Allegheny Mt. Trail and Horton Trail (headed SE) was unmarked at the junction.  Also, the trail itself does not exactly track with where it is indicated on the trail maps.  It ultimately arrives at the same place, though.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Great hike! Easily one of my new favorites. My cousin and I are beginner backpackers and were able to do it in two days. It has elevation changes, a variety of environments, an abundance of campsites, and is surprising secluded for how nice the falls and river are. The hiking upward map is excellent because it lays out where more of the established sites are which is useful for gauging how far you are on some of the trails. It should be noted that the names of the trails on this map are not 100% the same as what the intersection signs state - I'm sure you can figure it out but a map from the local ranger station was much more useful in this regard. The ranger map also has alternative trail options if you want to deviate from the HU plan. There is a waterfall at 8:00p and 10:00p of the lollipop and we had to ford the river 3x between them. It never got to knee high despite it having rained for 2-3 days prior to our drip. The water is cold and the rocks mostly have good grip and are smooth (cousin did it barefoot). This section is a highlight so I would not skip it. The 2x meadows were a real treat. Unfortunately you will only see the plane crash and the High Meadows trail if you choose to tackle the lumberjack trail (1:00p-5:00p). We were not particular fans of this trail since it was very water logged. Thankfully there are rocks aplenty for traversing, but playing "Hot Lava Monster" for a couple of hours grew a bit tiresome. The crash was interesting and a bit sobering. When I do this trail again I will probably 1) take the shortcut from 12-6 and cut out High Meadow and Lumberjack and 2) go in the summertime and hope that the water will be warm enough for swimming! I would also recommend ankle high boots vs. low cut.

By: Schnitzel Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 28, 2017
My hiking buddy and I took the bait and seeing how it was a top 5 hike... took the drive from Richmond, Virginia early on Friday to return on Sunday leaving us time to wander and relax -- a trend of ours it seems.

The drive in from Harrisonburg and I-81 was a good test of the brakes and car cooling system. Took a wrong turn on the drive in, had we followed the signs we wouldn't have, yet was directed back to the correct road by a friendly fella still living his rock-n-roll days according to his sleeping shirt. The drive up the mountain once in the National Forest was amazing - signage did note that they don't plow the road in the Winter months. It seems West Virginia has found some money to create some excellent park features that make one wonder why every state hasn't done the same.

The views along the road to the top and parking lot (yes, it is indeed huge) were incredible and even though much of Spring had already passed in Virginia, the leaves at the end of April at Seneca Creek were just beginning to make their appearance.

We parked and quickly took to the trail finding that this higher elevation and the clouds that must often brush across the top of the mountain have left enough moisture to leave the initial trail's surroundings covered in moss -- an environment I'd never seen. The trail does become quite rocky once you leave the initial wooded area where plenty of campsites exist for those arriving late and looking for a camping spot early on. We intended to do the reverse route leaving us the option to return back up the mountain on Saturday to tackle the Lumberjack Trail. Pennzoil and I followed the maps from this site and came across a few other hikers who have found this hike using the same site. As we descended and came to the intersection with the Lumberjack Trail we took the wrong trail, we believe, because it eventually led to Seneca Creek further downstream than we expected -- missing the Judy Springs Trail (going left according to the map) and instead followed the dotted Huckleberry Trail which was less of trail and more of trickle of a stream that we were following. Perhaps a GPS unit would have helped us find the trail, but we never encountered a Judy Springs Trail Sign so be aware for those doing a reverse route. I would be interested if others have had the same experience or if the old fellas had instead gone partially blind from exertion. Seneca Creek proved as beautiful as described by others and offers plenty of spots for dipping should the weather be hotter than it was when we went. Crossing the creek to the campsites (near the largest waterfall) was almost up to our hips so it took some careful crossing - hiking sticks & water shoes are recommended. It made the weekend's adventure that much better. Friday night's campsite found us under a tarp (an attempt at shedding tent weight) and awoken by flashes of lightening. The storms and downpour rolled in around 1 am with some of the loudest thunder I've experienced. Lesson learned -- stake that tarp down when storms are in the forecast. Note: there is no cell signal anywhere on this hike using Verizon so plan ahead. Also worth sharing is that there are additional camping locations downstream of the waterfall icon (and last tent icon) and along the dotted blue line on the map. Saturday found us hiking back up along the High Meadow Trail where it was quite steep at several places and buggy as well (I expect that's indicative of April) and eventually finding Lumberjack Trail being muddy as advertised. So muddy in fact that it became a concentrated hop from one submerged rock to the other.. There are a few small streams as you head up to this trail from which to get water but once on Lumberjack and above, water sources are slight if none at all so plan to bring your water should you plan on camping another night as we did. Saturday night's camp was close to the trail along the upper and wooded part of the Huckleberry Trail shortly after passing the small meadows that are immediately above the intersection with the Lumberjack and Huckleberry. Camping among the Spruce with no underbrush and a forest floor of Spruce needles was atypical in my experience and worthy of stopping to experience for a night. It was quite the site with a fantastic fire circle and even some paracord left between the trees useful for drying out some gear - camouflaged in green so we didn't even notice until settled. Sunday found us hiking back out toward the parking lot. As noted earlier, there is no water for the remaining part of the trail. The rocky portion of the trail seemed to continue without end until the gravel on the trail hinted that we were finally at the trail's head. In summary, a beautiful setting with Spruce forests I hadn't experienced. Also, while the leaves hadn't completely formed, the views were lacking and no where as good as at the top and the parking lot. I expect to be back in the area and experience some of the other Seneca Creek hikes hoping for the same variation in plant-life. I suggest acquiring the Seneca Creek Backcountry also linked on this site to eliminate any missed trails. Definitely worth checking out for those of you unfamiliar with West Virginia and the hiking it offers.

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 14, 2017
Great hike. One of the more difficult ones I've done. The top route along Huckleberry is an ankle-breaker. All rocks, the whole way. Hard to appreciate the view when you are watching every step.

The crash site can be seen from the trail. Somebody has even left a cairn marking the spot.

The trail is crossed by many streams leaving it muddy and wet. You won't escape without soaking your shoes so make sure they are water-proof and ankle-high.

Seneca Creek is the payoff. Several great falls and springs. All the campgrounds are great. The only downside is having to cross the creek multiple times. I think it was ultimately five times total. It was painfully cold and the rocks are slippery. Too deep to leave your shoes on, so take water shoes or prepare to hike across without shoes.

We walked out on Seneca Creek trail instead of going back up Judy Springs/Lumberjack to Huckleberry and back. It is also a beautiful trail with more falls, a beaver dam and a great tunnel of spruce. Once we reached the Seneca Creek trail head, we dropped our packs and then walked the 5-6 miles up the road back to the Spruce Knob.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 19, 2017
I did this as a long day hike and it was wonderful! It was pretty mild weather for February, upper 40s. Started the hike with the top of the mountain inside of a cloud -- this made the first 4 miles even better! The dense spruce forest and moss seemed that much more magical shrouded in mist, with water droplets hanging on everything. --------

By the time I got down to the intersection with the Lumberjack trail, I was below the fog. That section of the hike was pretty average, with nothing noteworthy but a bunch of mud, and the plane crash, which was sobering. Then you get to the High Meadows trails and the views are great again. It's much easier to explore the clearings in winter when there aren't waste-high grass and brambles. -------

The hike along Seneca Creek was very pretty even this time of year - the rhododendron everywhere keep it green year round. I had to take my shoes off and wade across the creek three times, and that was some of the coldest water I've ever been in, even though the air was warm. My feet were stinging from the cold after each brief crossing! The campsites along the stream were some of the pretties I've seen anywhere, and there were a TON of them. I only saw two groups camped out the whole time I was hiking, so if you go this time of year you definitely have your pick of the spots! -------

The camp spot at the intersection of Seneca Creek and Judy Spring was just great -- wide open spot with green grass (even in winter) and pretty trees. The spring itself (across the footbridge over the stream and up the hill to the right about 50 yards) is one of the largest-flowing springs I've ever seen. Tons of crystal clear water pouring right out of the side of a hill. It was a good thing I got a drink there, because the ascent up the Judy Springs trail through the big meadow was very steep. The clouds had lifted by this time and there was actually some good sunlight. -------

The Judy Springs trail ends at the Horton trail rather abruptly, and the intersection is NOT marked. If you were hiking this in the opposite direction you might pass by the trail entirely if you didn't know where you were supposed to go. Also, the directions here are misleading. This section of the trail is NOT the Huckleberry Trail any more, that ends at the Lumberjack trail. From there, past Judy Springs and continuing onward, it is called the Horton Trial, #530. -------

The remaining ~4.5 miles retracing my steps to the car were just as pretty as on the way in, but this time the sun was actually shining. Made it back to my car in a fairly punishing 6 hours round-trip, after jogging some of the level / downhill sections, then got to watch a nice sunset from the observation tower as the last tattered bits of clouds blew away. -------

This was an amazing hike, and I can't wait to come back when there are more leaves on the trees in the lower section, and actually do some camping.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2017
We came out to this trail on the 14th of January, it was cold and rainy. The first impression for both of us was that the parking area is very large, I'm assuming it gets busier in the warmer months but our entire time on the trail (2 days) we only ran into a handful of other people. The first 5 miles of the trail is gorgeous, thick conifer trees on either side of the rocky trail and hanging fog made us feel like we were somewhere on the West Coast (or a fairy tale), we also saw coyote and deer tracks and scat in this area. I would say that the plant life on this portion of the trail is very unique to this area and although we did not set up camp at one of the sites- we definitely wished that we had been able to but, wanted to hike further. Once we descended out of the conifers we emerged into a deciduous mountain-scape very similar to nearby portions of the AT, this is where we turned onto the old fire road. There wasn't anything really unique about this area other than that old fire road was extremely muddy, we're talking ankle deep mud mixed with large rocks, downed limbs and duff- an absolute mess! The meadows were beautiful, we crossed several feeder streams, and when we were faced with the decision, crossing a waist-deep creek (100 yards or so from a beautiful waterfall by the way) or turning back and leaving the way we came in. Eventually we landed on a mutual agreement that crossing might equate to us flirting with death and ended up camping in one of the aforementioned meadows. This is where the "wish we coulda camped up on the first 5 miles of this trail" comes in- the campsites on the first 5 miles of the trail are the sites that deserve 5 stars, beyond that portion the sites are on par with every other trail we've ever been on. All in all a great hike, be prepared for rocky portions- no scrambling but some possible ankle rolls. From the photos I've seen online, the creek seems to be more manageable in the spring and summer.

By: RPADC Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 17, 2016
Absolutely gorgeous. I echo what other reviewers note about the fascinating environmental changes. Deep, mossy, evergreen forest that looks like something out of Tolkien. Rocky scrub on the ridges. Deciduous canopy in full autumn color change. Lush meadows, also bursting with fall color. This was my first backpacking outing since the Scouting days of my long ago youth. After building up to it with day hikes and car camping, the Spruce Knob trek has me excited to load up the pack some more.

This trip consisted of two adult humans and two adult canines carrying their food and water. We got delayed on the first leg due to some locals herding 82 (!?!) head of cattle up the Lumberjack Trail where it intersects with Huckleberry. They got off before the plane wreck so we decided to stay the course instead of cutting the hike short. There hasn't been much rain lately but Lumberjack was really boggy. I can't imagine how bad it would be in wetter conditions. Worst part of the hike, but didn't dampen spirits. The dogs got pretty filthy but they cleaned up by splashing through the Seneca Creek crossings later on, as it was warm enough for them to frolic in the water.

Due to the earlier cow delay, we didn't make it to the prettiest campsite in the Monongahela on the first day, but the one we did choose right on the water was lovely. It's really hard to choose a bad one, especially mid-week when the area isn't crowded. We only saw five other backpackers (one pair at the very beginning we never saw again), a trio of mountain bike riders, and about five anglers fishing and camping right before Judy Springs.

The climb up Judy Springs was actually more enjoyable than the steep descents earlier in the hike. At least for me, descending on rocks is more difficult than a steep climb on firm ground. And the views were panoramic.

We could have done this one in two days as directed but we extended to three so we could camp under the spruce toward the end, with a short hike out the next morning. The ground is so soft under the spruce trees that it made a notable difference in sleep quality. The only tough part of camping in the spruce is finding a suitable place to hang a bear bag, but other than avian species, the only other wildlife we saw were a deer and a tiny snake. Lovely all around and would hike it again. I wish some folks were more conscientious about packing out trash. That made us sad. We only really saw it on a couple of campsites but it stands out in an area that is so starkly beautiful.

By: Ross Baker and Dewey Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 25, 2016
i could go on and on about this hike. short and to the point, make this a priority on your "must hike" list. it wont disapoint

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Hiked this with a group as an overnight backpacking trip this Labor Day Weekend and absolutely loved it.  We arrived at Spruce Knob a little late on Saturday (2PM) and found the parking lot mostly full.  By the time we got to the intersection of the Huckleberry and Lumberjack trails we were concerned about the availability of campsites along Seneca Creek since we'd seen many other groups on the trail.  We decided to take the Horton trail down to Seneca Creek and skip the high meadow area along the Lumberjack trail to save time.  Our concerns were warranted, as we saw probably 30-40 (or more) people in various groups camped along the creek when we arrived at the bottom of the hill.  The campsites here are numerous, all with relatively close access to water, and there are MANY more than HU advertises on the hike maps here and the two other sister hikes they have listed.  After some searching, we managed to find a campsite about two hundred feet off the trail, tucked behind some spruce trees.  Our site even had leftover gathered wood from a previous occupant and stone chairs (thanks fellow hikers!).  Despite being so close to the water, the insects (including ticks, surprisingly) weren't a problem. I heard fox and barred owl calling in the night, but didn't see any animals during our hike in or out the next day.  Judy Springs trail was tough, that ascent through the meadow is beautiful but with the sun beating down on you it gets hot quickly.  That footbridge is the last time you'll see water, so take advantage of it if you're running low when you're heading back up the hill.  Overall a great hike and gorgeous camp sites, easily a new favorite.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 22, 2016
Four our annual trip to mountains, we chose this location based on the fact that we would have a water supply and excellent camping in the summer. The camping spots were incredible and the diversity of the ecosystems were amazing. I took four boys between the ages of 14-16 and they loved the camping, fishing, swimming in the creek, and the waterfall. It was a perfect blend of work and relaxation. I did modify the hike to take Judy Springs Trail to Seneca Creek Trail from day one, then shortened the trip out to Spruce Knob by taking Horton Trail from the waterfall as the Judy Springs Trail is very steep and without tree cover...we didn't want the heat. We hiked in Friday morning and had our pick of camp spots, but passed over 60 people coming in to the area on our way out Saturday.....get their early for your best pick of the available sites!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 15, 2016
This was a fantastic hike! We arrived Friday evening about 5 at the Spruce Knob parking lot, and hiked in two miles for the first night. We were still at alpine altitude and lulled to sleep by the sound of the breeze whispering through the spruce trees. The first part of the hike is pretty level, traveling along the top of Spruce Mountain. Parts of the trail are very, very rocky and you have to be careful of your footing at all times. After a few miles of this, the descent to Seneca Creek begins, along with about a 1300' elevation drop. It's amazing to see the forest change from spruce to oak, maple, etc., before your very eyes. The Lumberjack Trail lives up to it's reputation, very muddy and boggy, pretty slow going. All in all it's a nice descent to the banks of Seneca Creek. Be sure and take the detour to the plane crash site...look for the trail down to it framed by two trees with aircraft parts hanging on them. Don't do like we did following the GPS and bushwhack through the woods. The meadows are beautiful with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, and once at Seneca Creek there is no shortage of great campsites. We decided to stop Saturday about 3pm, and found the "prettiest campsite in the Monongahela" unoccupied, and living up to it's description 100%. We camped beside the waterfall and that was the second night's music. The third day, well...we realized we had about 90% of our 1300' climb back up immediately ahead of us in the first hour and a half. Had to stop and rest frequently on the way up (being two guys in our 50's who hadn't attempted anything like this in a while). Once back up though, it was an easy breeze back along the ridge through the spruce to the parking area. The hike was considerably longer than the official 16.5 miles in the official description. The Garmin logged 20.3 miles, including our trip down to the crash site and back up and once in camp where it was on in my pocket without me realizing it. The trail description does need updated though, where the Huckleberry Trail apparently turns into the Horton Trail. I don't know when that change happened but the signs look fairly new. With a GPS and the track downloaded it's easier to stay on the trail than navigating by map, so be careful. All in all a very enjoyable hike, beautiful scenery and lots of solitude. I have a hammock and my friend was in a tent, and neither of us had any problem finding a suitable place to pitch for the night. I highly recommend it!

By: PB Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 6, 2016
This hike was beautiful. While this was not the first backpack for anyone in our group and we had been to this area on a different trail before, we would still consider ourselves beginners and we found this hike to be challenging. It is worth noting that there had been constant rainfall in the area in the days/weeks leading up to our hike so many of the trails were boggy in portions, lumberjack trail was just as boggy as everyone has said, and Seneca creek was flowing high and quick making the first ford by the falls pretty tough ( strongly recommend some type of water shoes). The trails must have been recently updated because contrary to past posts we found the trails were very well marked and blue blazes are found frequently on the trails to ensure you are on the right path. We did not use the map on this site, we used the trail map from the Seneca creek backcountry government site ( also found in a free brochure at the Seneca rocks discovery station) and between that and the trail markings we were never lost. All in all, it was a challenging hike due to the weather and our experience but very rewarding and the views made it all worth while ( camping next to a waterfall is pretty hard to beat). Would strongly recommend this hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
This is a VERY beautiful hike! The first section on Huckleberry TR533 felt almost like the pacific north west...everything covered in moss and lichen...Very lush and green. Easy Terrain (You could easily bring young (3-4yr) kids here to hike a short way in (not the whole loop), to one of the first campsites. It's like a fairyland).

Lumberjack Trail was a true BOG. Fun but challenging.

The High Meadow Trail was just that. It was fantastic. **NOTE** After the 3rd (NOT 2nd, as the above directions mention) High Meadow, enter the forest, cross a small creek and then make an almost immediate RIGHT onto HORTON (not Huckleberry...must have had a name/signage change?). You are very close to camp at this point.

We were unable to cross Seneca Creek, so at the crossing, we turned Left up Horton, climbed the mountain and joined back up with Lumberjack. We then retraced our steps to and through Huckleberry. A very enjoyable time was had by all!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Love, love, loved this hike! Took my nephews (age 12) for their first backpacking trip and split this into a 3 day trip. There are plenty of options for camping all throughout, although if you camp near the beginning or end (not by the creek) you will have to pack in/up extra water. The signage was pretty great throughout the hike, except when we missed the turn for the Jenny Springs Trail, but we made it work. This time of year was great for the hike since the leaves were all changing into brilliant colors and it wasn't too cold. The Lumberjack Trail was as muddy as everyone had mentioned so be prepared! Definitely recommend this hike to all levels.

By: Grand Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 28, 2015
As of August 2015 this loop was extremely well marked and easy to follow. Granted, it is the end of the summer (so the path was well worn through meadows) but it seems as though the park service has drastically improved the signage since some of these other hikers went. Beautiful area: took a group of inexperienced backpackers and this was the perfect beginner trail for them!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Overall, a great overnight backpacking circuit - not easy but not killer tough either. Be prepared for a lot of downhill on the first day, particularly on the High Meadows trail, and about one-and-one-half miles of solid climbing (about 1,300’) on the way out. Great views from Spruce Knob and the meadows and a beautiful creek, with numerous small falls, including the big one. And yes, great campsites all over, including a number at Judy Springs that look like they could hold groups.

Perfect conditions. . .we hit the jackpot on the weather and crowds. . .59 degrees at noon on top of Spruce Knob, and we saw a total of 5 others, all day hikers. Camped just above the falls, and did not see a single other occupied campsite the entire trip. Only a few boggy spots on the Lumberjack trail, otherwise pretty dry. Used the Garmin (.gdb) track downloaded to a GPS for navigation, and that worked very well.

By: Amy Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 3, 2015
The trail itself was fun, even with the epic amounts of rain and mud. But, the directions here on HikingUpward are very, very outdated and confusing. The biggest fail I've encountered of the site since I started using them a few years ago. For your own sanity, do NOT follow these directions. Use this map instead -

Or, at the very least, print out Collin's directions in addition to the main one. That might help, but is still confusing when you're doing it.

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 21, 2015
My Mom and I did this hike on April 21st. Weather was perfect, but due the rain the previous few days the Lumberjack Trail was even more of a sassy mudhole than normal. Also The crossing for Judy Springs Trail was about 2 or 3 feet deep so we doubled back and returned on Horton/Huckleberry Trail (depends on the map you have). Fortunately all that rain made the waterfalls even better. All in all it took us about 8 hours with a twenty minute stop for lunch. We lost a lot of time on the Lumberjack Trail trying to keep our feet dry (lost cause) and then trying to find a safe crossing of Seneca Creek to Judy Springs Trail (another lost cause).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 24, 2014
This is such a great short backpacking trip!  You really can't ask for more.  You pass from Spruce forests to heath meadows, to deciduous forests to  high altitude meadows.  There are great camp sites everywhere - in the Spruce area, meadows, and down by the creek.  The trails are all very clearly marked, aside from the Seneca Creek trail.  And that's not that big of a deal, because as long as you follow the creek you are fine.  We had to take off our boots for most of the creek crossings, so I wouldn't recommend this hike in the winter.  As the other reviews state, Lumberjack trail is muddy as all get out.  I was grateful that my boots were waterproof.  There is some confusion between the hiking upwards map and the trail names in two instances.  Huckleberry is the name of the trail at the top of the mountain, but it becomes Horton trail about half way down.   

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Fantasic hike. The views of the meadows (probably 5 in total) with the foliage is incredible. It poured rain the day before so the first section from the parking lot had a few large puddles you have to navigate around and the lumberjack trail had 2 sections after the plane crash that required some thought. That being said- I did the whole thing in sneakers and my socks never got wet.

*NOTE* They may have updated the trail signage, but I believe the above directions are slightly off. Where it says "At the end of the second large meadow cross a small creek and arrive at the intersection of the Huckleberry Trail and end of the High Meadows Trail." We found no trail off of the 2nd meadow. We just continued on the Meadow Trail into a third meadow. At the end of the 3rd meadow we crossed a trickle of a creek to a sign that announced the end of the Meadow Trail with a junction of the Horton Trail. We treaded the Horton Trail as if it was Huckleberry and turned right downhill for 0.5 miles. You then come to a point where you see the first really fancy campsite on the other side of Seneca Creek. You can then descend 10-20 feet onto a trail below that is across from this campsite. That is the area you have to ford the river. If you turn right instead of crossing you can see the falls. -----------

Only one other note. Once you cross the wooden bridge to get to the Judy Spring trail. The sign is a little confusing. It says the Huckleberry trail is to the left and Judy to the right, but you need to go left. The right kind of dead ends at a campsite. When you go left there is a significant up hike that enters the most beautiful meadow of the trip. Good thing, because it gives you chances to stop and enjoy the view. This trail is maked by white diamonds (most all the rest is blue). -----------

We even saw a mother black bear and her 3 cubs cross the trail about 100 feet ahead of us!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Incredible hike. Every mile looked like a completely different ecosystem and pictures don't do it justice at all (but I tried, and you can see all of my photos here - However, I echo the commenters below, there is some weirdness with the Horton trail and Seneca Creek trail. I printed off the map here and we took the Horton trail when we realized it would get us down to the Seneca Creek campsites much faster.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2014
I hiked this with a friend recently and found it to be pretty easy overall and I think rating it a 4 for difficulty is too much. At most, it should be a 3. The views are best in the last big meadow of this hike.

By: Aaron Packer Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 1, 2014


A pack of 3 of us hit the trail on WED 10/1.  The color of trees was about 30-40% changed.   In the lower levels it was all yellow.

The 1st 2-3 miles I don't think we took one step on soil it was loose rock from about shoe size to few feet around.   Be prepared to walk on rough terrain.   After 3 miles it takes a step vertical drop.  We took a left at Judy run going backwards the way the trail shows.   It took a nice drop into the springs through a field.  Once you cross the foot bridge you have 3 good camp sites in large enough area that could support a 12-15 person group.   As we went down the creek the rocks and water falls were things you normally don't see.     Once you get to a nice campsite right next to waterfall you have to cross the creek.  No real good place without high waterproof boots.    Unfortunately we started losing daylight and wanted to get Seneca falls to camp.  We booked it passing most of the best stuff.    But made up for it by spending most morning near the falls.     The Seneca Falls have 3 good camp sites with about 1/8 mile between them that you can have a # of groups there and still not hear each other.  Especially with how loud the falls are.

We hiked out he Huckleberry Trail cause we had other plans needed to get to.  which was straight up for next 2.5 miles.    great way to start day with burning calfs and thighs.   Once it combines with the main trail again it all the same we just hike the day before but uphill this time. 

Must waterproof and high ankle boots.  + A camera.

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 11, 2014
Views are beautiful, the high meadows are gorgeous. I did this hike yesterday and the maps I have and the instructions here show Mile 8.6 Huckleberry Trail to Seneca Creek Trail but the sign on the trail itself label it as Horton Trail. The same goes for when leaving the campsite area it is Horton Trail. Is everything I have outdated?

By: Veronica Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2014
I loved this hike. Tons of great sites to camp too!!! This hike needs two FULL days to really see and enjoy everything. My boyfriend and I only did one day and a half and we never got to the observation tower or the peak. I hope to come back sometime to go to these. I went over Memorial Day weekend and there were about 20ish people on the trail that I saw over the two days. I was expecting way more (so I thought it was pretty good for solitude). I loved hiking underneath the spruce trees. I love the fire rings and seats made out of rocks. This trail can get super muddy and slippery (you are crossing some streams and it is pretty easy to fall) so I recommend water proof hiking boots and three changes of socks to be safe. You will have to cross the creek three times (maybe water shoes would be nice for this part too). My one critic is that although the trail for the most part is very well marked (I loved the plastic blue markers that were pretty easy to spot), there needs to be markers on the other side of the creek when you need to cross. Although we were able to eventually figure out where we needed to go I could see hikers getting really lost and confused about where they need to cross the creek so just beware and allow extra time and precautions in case you get lost.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Wow. Do not miss the trail! It has everything from high meadows to beautiful streams and waterfalls to endless views and great campsites. We did this as an overnight and wish we had more time to explore. Expect to take your shoes off and cross the stream a couple of times (especially if you want to get to some secluded campsites!). We are looking forward to going back.

By: Hal Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Utterly beautiful. Muddy in many parts, but the combination of spruce forest, meadows, and stream had all that one could want, nice campsites, gorgeous colors, and, to top it all off, 1 half an inch of snow to make things look even prettier (if that were possible).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
This hike has the greatest set of views that I have personally experienced. Pictures just don't do this hike justice. Every section has something to offer. Be prepared to spend some extra time working on your fire if your an amateur like myself, as the camp areas surrounding the creek are very damp. Also, ran into some very helpful and kind groups along what was mostly an isolated experience. Can't wait to get back out here!

By: Ryan R Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Absolutely amazing! The variety of attractions (plane crash, meadows, flowers everywhere, berries, waterfalls, great camping, views) on a single hike was spectacular. Had great weather and didn't run into other people until reaching Seneca Creek but still felt like we had the place to ourselves. Trail was in very good condition even considering the well-documented mud.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 7, 2013
My meetup group did this trip over the weekend after Memorial Day. While it was a great hike, I would not classify it in the top 5 of my list. Along the ridge at the beginning, you could tell there was a great view, but you couldn't see it for the trees. We ended up stopping at the campsite right at Seneca Falls, and it was not a great site, as it was long and narrow, and very rocky. I am pretty picky about campsites now that I have camped by Red Creek at Dolly Sods! :) But I am guessing there were many other better sites along the Creek if you went further up the trail. We ended up going straight up the Huckleberry Trail on the second day, so we missed the Seneca Creek Trail leg almost entirely. My favorite part of the hike was the High Meadows Trail. It was very nice there with blackberries, nice views and lots of sun! While the first few miles are dry, we did run across several places with running water along the Lumberjack Trail, where we could have refilled. I would not count on the water, but it was there when we went. Lots of stinging nettles on the High Meadows Trail, but I must not be allergic to it as I hiked in shorts and a t-shirt and had no ill effects. Nice hike, and thanks guys for posting it up!

By: AJ Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 30, 2013
Great hike, LOTS of mud!  The first trail intersection was a little confusing, ended up going the wrong way for a little while before I realized I wasn't on the correct trail.  The actual waterfalls were amazing!  The campsites were amazing!

By: Lynchburg Explorer Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Whoa Boy this hike was interesting! Lots of great views, waterfalls and wilderberries. Very muddy on the lumberjack trail, and lots of stinger netters olong the high meadow trails. Besides the mud and netters this would be the perfect hike. THE BEST CAMP SITES YOU"LL EVER SEE!!!!

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