About the Basin: Potomac Headwaters

Potomac Headwaters

Photo by Scott Kaiser

Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area is within the Monongahela National Forest, one of the of the most ecologically diverse National Forests, on the far western edge of the Potomac River watershed in West Virginia. It is 100,000 acres of outdoor adventures.

The mountain peak, Spruce Knob, sports many superlatives: the highest point in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau, the 24th highest point in the United States, and the 13th most isolated peak in the contiguous United States. As you have probably guessed by now, it is high. On top of this massive peak you will find an observation tower with 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys and mountaintops. In addition to beautiful vistas, the extreme altitude changes mean that Spruce Knob has excellent hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking opportunities.
In addition to many creeks, fishing opportunities are just down the mountainside at Spruce Knob Lake, which is regularly stocked with trout by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. A boat ramp and pier are available.
October is an excellent time to enjoy leaf-peeping in the Potomac headwaters. While exploring, stop by the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center to learn more about the site, which was used as a training facility for rock assaults during WWII. Check it out this weekend (September 4) for a cider pressing demonstration.
Too much to do in just one day? For overnight stays, campgrounds in the area offer a range of camping possibilities, from rustic walk-in sites to cabin glamping to RV hookups. Temperatures can drop fast in the mountains so remember to pack accordingly!