Tag Archives: Spruce Knob

Fall Foliage in West Virginia-October 14, 2017

Usually the leaves in Pendleton County WV reach peak fall color around October 14-21, but  the whole month of September into October was so dry this year that many leaves have dried up and fallen before obtaining their normal vibrant colors. There are still pockets of color to be found though, especially in the valleys, so you  still catch some color, if you don’t wait too long.

On October 14th, at Spruce Knob Lake, the usual magnificent reflections of color on the water were not to be had, but with the sky such a beautiful, clear blue and the temperature at 70 plus degrees,  there were no complaints from us.

Clear Blue October Sky

We have never seen so many folks fishing at the lake as we did this past Saturday, as we walked the easy, level trail around the lake, taking photos and enjoying the balmy weather.

Spruce Knob Lake from South Shore






I found that the lack of leaf colors caused me to look more closely at everything else as we walked.

Milkweed at East End of Spruce Knob Lake

Interesting textures and the odors of warm fall earth, still water and decaying plants  became more important.


After leaving the lake we drove up the partly gravel road to Spruce Knob, the highest point in the state. We were a little sad to see that most of the trees towards the west  had already lost their leaves. The wind was not bad and it was a gorgeous view of the West Virginia hills, regardless.

Looking West from Spruce Knob

We followed a trail down  from the lookout tower that goes through some loose rocks onto a small  level meadow. The views to the east and South were excellent from there.

Eastern View from Spruce Knob

A few huge boulders you can climb on walked the meadow.

Stone Age Monster Rock

I thought this one looked like a lumbering short legged creature from the stone age. I did climb up and sit on top pretending  it was a horse sort of thing.

There were Mountain Ash on top of the mountain, with brilliant scarlet berries, dark green Spruce trees leaning out of the constant western wind, and the wonderfully textured sandstone aggregate rocks to admire.

Mountain Ash Berries

You can never go wrong with a trip up to Spruce Knob and the drive back down on the east side is paved. Route 33 East to Franklin has the Germany Valley overlook as another highlight.

Germany Valley Overlook on Rt 33

This maple was one of the few colorful trees we saw up close and it looks great with the sumac and Germany Valley beyond.

The Potomac Valley and other lower elevations should be pretty in the next week, especially since we finally got a rain last week. Even after the leaves fall, Spruce Knob, in Pendleton County, West Virginia is a magical place to visit. (Click on the Link for photos from 2016)

-Wendy lee, writing at edgewisewoods.com





Spruce Knob West Virginia

For our 24th wedding anniversary we stuck with tradition and headed out to the mountains and Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia. We have a cabin not too far away in the same county of Pendleton and stayed there for the long Columbus Day weekend.

The weather started out dreary, drizzly and cold and we were glad to warm up by our wood stove and the first fire of the season. A hurricane was pounding the southern states with rain and wind and we were glad to have it only bring a few heavy showers our way.

By Sunday, the skies were clear and blue with a cold, brisk wind blowing any lingering thoughts of summer far away. It was definitely Fall with all the rich smells and colors to go with it. October is such a beautiful month in the mountains.

We drove out past Franklin on Route 33 west and stopped at the Germany Valley Overlook, which is pretty no matter what time of year it is.

Germany Valley
Germany Valley

The road to the top of the mountain is paved these days, which has made it less of a dusty chore than it used to be. It is still narrow though, and we had to pull way to the edge to let those coming down pass by. Every now and then we glimpsed a flash of color, from a Sugar Maple or a tree harboring a bright red Virginia Creeper vine.

We drove on by the turn to the top and made our way over to Spruce Knob Lake to see how much color might be there.

Spruce Knob lake
Spruce Knob lake

It was gorgeous and the trees were further along than they had been in the valley below. It was so cold and windy that I needed to put my ear warmers and fleece on as soon as we got out of the car. We did not stay long because we wanted to get a hike in and had gotten a late start.

Backtracking towards the trail head we stopped at the campground to check it out, just because we  never had . There are 42 primitive campsites-with outhouses, picnic tables and fire rings- on a one way loop in the woods. No views but still nice looking, fairly private sites.

There were only a couple of cars parked at the Allegheny trail head as we loaded our day packs and adjusted our boots.


We had hopes of finding some good views from the main Allegheny Ridge trail but were disappointed in that, and also because the gated trail had been recently traveled on by some huge vehicle that left mud and water filled ruts. It was difficult to get around some of the deep mud and I had it go over the top of my boots at one point. We decided to leave the main trail and take a side shoot instead, turning onto North Prong Trail and following it down into a quiet open valley.

North Prong Valley Trail
North Prong Valley Trail
Creeping Cedar

Crossing the shallow creek numerous times, the trail became almost to narrow to find, through high summer weeds and amazingly thornless brambles. We eventually came out to an intersection with the Gandy Run Trail and followed that back towards our starting place. We saw hardly any wildlife and only two people the whole 3 1/2 hours we spent on the trail. Still, it was a beautiful day and much warmer and less windy down on the lower trails.

We got back in the car and drove up to the Spruce Knob viewing platform, the highest point in the state.

Spruce Knob Sign
Spruce Knob Sign

It was only 42 degrees F and the wind was blowing, as it always is up this high. Looking out from the top of the platform there is nothing but mountains and more mountains as far as you can see.

Spruce Knob View
Spruce Knob View

The Spruce trees sound like the ocean as the wind blows through them. Sometime, I hope to be up here to watch the sun set. Not today though.

View From Spruce Knob
View From Spruce Knob

Fall color is just starting and should be gorgeous in another week.

Fall Color
Fall Color

You can catch a tiny glimpse of the lake in the top left of this zoomed photo and the most color we have seen all day.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped for another great view to the East.p1030997It is always invigorating to experience Spruce Knob and we had another good day.

Back to our little cabin for dinner and warmth by the woodstove.

-wendy lee, writing at Edgewisewoods, Gardens and Critters