Last weekend we hiked the highest mountain in West Virginia during 3 days. A 16.5-mile loop hike mostly inside the Spruce forest including beautiful waterfalls, meadows and lovely campsites.
Day 1: Hiking down
We started our hike in Spruce Knob, a dense spruce forest 4863 feet (1482m) above sea level. It was nice to walk through this misty forest covered by green moss. We found many campsites along the trail, but we just kept hiking downward to reach the Seneca Creek, where the best campsites are located.
On our way down we encountered different ecosystems: dry and humid forests, high meadows plenty of wild flowers, small creeks and falls.
Day 1 & 2: Camping besides Seneca Creek
After hiking down for 8 miles, we arrived to a perfect campsite just before dark, located in a flat spot close to the river.
As usual, we set up the tent, made fire and prepared dinner. It always feels good to eat warm before going to sleep. It was a bit cold up there. We brought our pads so we slept comfortably, listening to the constant sound of the stream.
The next day we woke up in the nature, prepared breakfast and chilled the whole day close to the creek. Curiously we didn't hear any birds during our stay there... We spent our time exploring the surroundings, refreshing in the swimming holes, sun bathing and sleeping in the hammock. Good relax after a busy week in the city. But the best moment was still waiting for us.
Day 3: Hiking upward
The third day we began the 10-mile return hike (including all the way up). It was going to be hard, we knew it. First we walked along the river downstream and crossed it several times. It was essential to wear water proof boots.
Finally, just before starting the ascent, we arrived to the most beautiful spot: Seneca Falls.
As cold as the water was, Mon couldn't resist to go inside the big pool...
Then we started to hike upward. It was strenuous and steep at some parts. We passed several beautiful creeks, high meadows with nice views of the mountains, deep forests, and spotted endless wildflowers and mushrooms. The trail was steep, muddy and rocky at some points, which made the hike more difficult as usual. The way up is about 3 miles and once you reach the top there is a long 7-mile walk to get to the beginning of the trail. After 6 hours hiking we finally made it to the top.
This is a great hike if you are looking to camp outdoors. There are about 20 great campsites along the trails, each one with fire ring and chairs made of rocks. The campsites are way better by the river due to the access to water. Anyways, because of the long hike - about 16.5 miles - it's very important to pack very light and bring just the essentials. For example, it's better to bring a hammock than chairs :)