Seneca Rocks, WV- Great Economical Destination for Weekend Camping
As fall approaches, I can't help but get excited for weekend camping trips. On the east coast, there are tons of weekend camping opportunities, and one of my favorite camping trips in particular is Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Not just for avid rock climbers and mountain bikers, (although the area is fantastic for that) the Seneca Rocks region offers tons of things to do and see, while being oh so wallet friendly. It is the perfect weekend getaway.
The last two years we've gone to Seneca Rocks, we've stayed in Yokum's Vacationland campground. One of the draws of this campground in particular, is that there is a river (North Fork of the Potomac) running alongside the sites which provides a serene setting (and maybe some fishing, although we haven't had any luck) and there is a bathroom/shower house conveniently located a short distance across the field. Each evening, there is the option to purchase firewood from a very nice man who drives through the sites. It feels like kind of a luxury, as I'm all about gathering my own firewood, but is a very nice service after a long day of outdoor activities. We're on vacation after all, right? The rates are very reasonable and the campground can easily accommodate large groups of people. In the downtown area just a short distance away, there is Harper's General Store, a restaurant, gift shop, and Seneca Rocks Climbing School. We've become big fans of the Mountaineer Brewing Company and their brews are sold at the general store. Definitely try their Nut Brown, Blonde Lager, and Red Ales.
The hike to the top of Seneca Rocks is pretty straightforward and those of all fitness levels can readily make it to the top; the views of the Monongahela National Forest region are spectacular and well worth the roughly 45 minutes up the trail. (There is an option to ride horseback to the top of Seneca Rocks, although we've never tried it.) If you're still feeling adventurous after hoofing it up Seneca Rocks, there is a scenic drive to the top of Spruce Knob which is the highest point in West Virginia, and home to 75 hiking trails if you haven't quite gotten your hiking fix. The Smoke Hole Caverns are also very close to the downtown area of Seneca Rocks and make for a very cool way to spend an hour or so. Tours are offered year-round and leave every half hour.
Be sure to bundle up, as the evenings can get quite chilly in the fall. I'd rather bring a few more layers than I need, than be uncomfortably cold. If you forget basic things, you can most likely pick them up at the General Store, but Seneca Rocks is a little removed from a wide range of modern conveniences. We've found it's best to pack most of our meals and cook over a campfire, rather than planning to grab lunch somewhere because once you get out of the downtown Seneca Rocks area it could be quite awhile before you hit a place to stop. Seneca Rocks is very dog friendly and we had a lot of fun last year with Zoey. All in all, Seneca Rocks is just a great short vacation, that is extremely economical, and packed with activities to do. I highly recommend it if you're planning a short (or long) getaway and want to try a new place. John Denver was right about the almost heaven bit I think. Just try not to belt out Mountain Roads all weekend, because your friends and family will most likely start to hate you just a little bit.