At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob holds the title of West Virginia’s highest mountain as well as the highest point in the Alleghenies. It’s name popped up while looking for a quality weekend backpacking trip in the Virginia area, and it certainly stood out among other routes in the region. Not only is there a beautiful creek to camp along, but two high school friends and I lucked out with the beautiful fall colors in early October. Just off the trail are the remains of a Piper PA-23 crash from 1973, which adds a little sobering history to the hike as well.
The full loop is around 16 miles long, passing along the alpine ridge, through beautiful meadows, and then dropping down into Seneca Creek. Just off of one of the trail junctions is the 30-foot Upper Seneca Creek Falls. There’s a lot packed into this hike and it goes quickly. Be prepared for a little mud though as some seeping springs keep the trails saturated.
We did the hike as an overnighter, but shorter or longer options would work fine. If you spend two nights I’d suggest spending a night at one of the upper meadows – the views were beautiful. The leaves turn a little earlier at this high an elevation, so keep that in mind if you want to see them at their peak.
Here's some more technical information on the loop: Hiking Upward: Spruce Knob/Seneca Creek