Adventure Travel in the United States

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I thought I would share my adventure experience in the mountains of West Virginia

The Place

During the modern technology age that we live in today it would seem unlikely to find a place that is seemingly untouched that flourishes with abundant wildlife and nature scenery around every turn. Nestled alongside a country forest road in one of the most remote areas of West Virginia is a modern day Garden of Eden known as Seneca Creek.

The Entrance

If you are not careful, you will drive right past the entrance of the trail that leads into the wilderness area. Near Spruce Knob West Virginia (which is the highest mountain point in West Virginia) you will see a little parking area that accommodates at most 10 to 12 vehicles. You will also see a map and accompanying common sense points to consider before embarking on a Seneca wilderness adventure.

Planning

It is highly recommended that you prepare for a lengthy hike to get to the best areas of the creek, but that is why this area is so unique. It takes someone who is wants to experience nature’s beauty and not just party and trash up the place. So it is around a 4 to 5 mile hike that gradually slopes downward as you descend into the Seneca valley canyon.

Judy Springs is a good area to camp and have as a goal to reach by mid-day if you are hiking with a group or family members. This gives you plenty of time to set up a tent and camping area before dark. The trail is fairly smooth and not hard to walk by any means. You will find that the creek is very small at the beginning and you should keep in mind that you are starting from about 5000 feet in elevation where there is little run off to feed the creek.

The Trail

The Seneca Creek trail is lined with ever green trees at the beginning and becomes more open and scenic as you walk further into the forest. As you reach about 1 to 2 miles into the forest you will notice the creek merges with other smaller runs from the mountainside and the water begins to exhibit the wonderful babbling sounds of a mountain stream. Once you have made it this far you will begin to see some nice little campsites along the trail.

The first campsites and hiking areas are very nice but pale in comparison to what lay ahead for the determined nature enthusiast. You will come to the first small waterfall and if you take the time to stop and watch you will see native brown trout swimming in the pool of water below. Fly fishing is the only type of fishing allowed in Seneca Creek so make certain you have your portable fly pole and trout stamp before attempting to harvest trout from this pristine creek as you may find yourself paying a hefty fine to a man in a green uniform.

Open fields filled with wildflowers and berries are around every corner. The smell of pollen and nectar fills the air if you are here in the early summer time. It is a good time to gather some berries to eat now or save for later at camp if you have brought a container to carry them. But be careful this area is filled with Black Bear that may want your berries and if they approach you just let them have them, remember this is their home, not yours.

You will need to cross the creek a few times and if the water is up at all you will get your feet wet; so hopefully you are wearing boots or at least have another pair of shoes to wear around camp while your boots are drying next to the camp fire.

The Campsite

Once you reach Judy Springs you will know for certain that you have reached your destination. The trail opens up into a beautiful field and you feel like you have been a dark jungle for the past 3 or 4 hours that it took for you to get here.

There will likely be several choices to choose from where to place your tent and where you will relax. There are campsites on both sides of the creek and there are enough that if you have a few neighbors that have braved the trail around the same time you did will not be too close. A nice wooden bridge separates the campsite areas and gives a pretty view of the creek as it meanders by.

You should take a mental note of the trees that are near the tent sites and make use of the methods that others have used to store their food in the trees. Bet you can guess why others have stored their food in the trees? Yep, that’s right this is to keep the bears out of your tent at night. They have a very powerful sense of smell and can smell even a piece of bubble gum in your pocket. Remember they have to survive out here.

There are apple trees all around the Judy Springs area so if you are here at the right time you will be blessed with the wonderful smell of apple blossoms. There are also several small waterfalls around this area and you must see the amazing Judy Springs that come right out of the side of a mountain. If you hike just a little ways up the mountain you will find some amazing meadows filled with berry bushes and meadow grass, this is the perfect place to just sit and relax.

The Waterfalls

After setting up your campsite, gathering firewood for the night and maybe resting for a little while why not go ahead and continue down the trail before it gets dark? As you walk down the Seneca trail you begin to realize the beauty of this place and why it is highly recommended that you camp around this area. Natural waterslides for playing and swimming are carved out of the rocks and small waterfalls abound each step of the trail. Seats and tables made from rocks are stacked every so often offering a place for you to set and relax next to a creek side fire place.

Waterfalls run down the mountainside and flow into the creek with wonderful splendor and grace. The wild rhododendrons line the creek side and waterfalls which paint a picture from the great artist. The water is crystal clear and you can see dozens of native brown trout zipping up and down the stream with swift accuracy.

The further you walk the more beautiful the scenery becomes. Again, you will need to cross the creek and get your feet wet and you can hear a rush of water that echoes through the creek valley. The water seems so inviting for swimming and bathing that you simply cannot help to take a dip in the natural made pools of perfectly clear and clean water. Once you cross the creek and continue down the trail a little way you find the most beautiful waterfall you have ever seen.

This waterfall is approximately a perfect 25’ feet high that spills into a large pool of crystal clear azure blue water. Trout swim all around the area that the water pours into the pool hoping to catch a bite to eat from the rushing water. You completely understand why this place is considered a modern day Eden and begin to only wish that you could stay here forever.

Other Trails

There are several other trails that branch off of the Seneca trail which are highly recommended for you to explore while on your stay here. This Includes the Allegheny mountain trail which follows the ridge top above the Seneca valley. Horton trail is one of many favorites that offer a wonderful view of the uninhabited mountainsides. The natural wildflowers and amazing views make this a great place to hike and explore. This trail leads up to Spruce Knob which is the highest point in West Virginia if you follow it for several miles up hill.

You should first print out a map of the Seneca creek area so that you can research and plan your hiking nature adventure prior to visiting this area. Even though the trails are marked it is nice to know how close you are to each trail head and where to watch for the trail marker just in case a bear has gnawed up the wooden sign (which you will see).

Exploring

After you pass the waterfalls and swimming areas which are very beautiful and peaceful you may choose to continue and see what else is down the trail. This is highly recommended for explorers and not advisable for the faint of heart or weary of body. As you continue you will see that the trail is quickly beginning to diminish and that there is not much of a beaten path. However, the scenery becomes completely amazing as you see that even those that have hiked the 6 or 7 miles to the end of the well traveled Seneca trail have not continued on through the rugged unmaintained canyon.

You should have a good hiking stick, and have at least a couple of friends with you if you are going to go this far. You will not likely see anyone down this part of the creek as there are hill slides and treacherous rocks each step of the way. You will find a man made pole bridge that stretches across a rough hill slide and you are truly thankful that someone has taken the time to build this.

Again, you will need to cross the creek if you plan to continue on the pathway through the canyon and this is probably the hardest place to cross as you see that very few have made a place to cross before you. The trail becomes more and more overgrown and may begin to wonder if you should continue. But if you have studied your trail map you will see that further down the creek canyon is a place called The Falls of Seneca. It is no doubt worth the effort to find this place that few have ever or will ever visit in the modern day garden of Eden at Seneca Creek West Virginia.

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