If you truly want to get away from it all, a trip to Seneca Rocks, West
Virginia is just the thing to blow off the cares of your daily grind.
The area offers everything from spelunking, fishing, hiking, horseback
riding, rafting, rock climbing - virtually anything you can think of for
that "man vs nature" feeling. There isn't a shopping mall, fast food chain
or high rise in sight.
As the area offers more than can be enjoyed in a mere day, it is well
worthwhile to spend at least one night. A great place to stay is in nearby
Smoke Hole, West Virginia at Smoke Hole Caverns Hotel. The location is
reminiscent of those tourist stops of the 1950's and 60's. The hotel is
adjacent to the entrance of Smoke Hole Caverns and comes complete with
"West Virginia's Largest Souvenir and Gift Shop". A tour of the caverns
offers an insiders view of a moonshine still as clever enterprising bootleggers
used to take full advantage of the geography of the area and many stills
were hidden among the caverns. Other highlights of the tour include the
world's longest ribbon stalactite and an artesian well from which you
can drink if you wish. Seneca Caverns, West Virginia's largest cavern,
is also a few miles away if you would like to further explore West Virginia's
After you have thoroughly explored life below the beautiful West Virginia
Mountains, visit Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area located
a few miles away in the Monongahela National Forest for a day hike or
rock climbing adventure. Trail maps and guides are available at the Seneca
Rocks Vistor Center. Rock climbing should be reserved for those who are
experienced and guides are required. A plaque located at the base of one
of the trails dedicated to a climber who died on the rocks serves as a
reminder of the danger involved. For a tamer approach, hike the trail
up to the observation tower. The view of the Allegheny Mountains and the
North Fork River valley is spectacular from there. Hiking the trail takes
about 3.5 hours and is quite strenuous so be sure to carry plenty of water
If you prefer to take a more relaxing approach, a great place to visit
is Harpers Old Country Store. In addition to being a general country store,
Harpers offers dining with a bird's eye view of Seneca Rocks in "The Front
Porch" restaurant. You can just kick back with a cool drink and a home
made pizza and watch rock climbers sweating and clawing their way up the
craggy rock face. It's better than TV!
The route to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia is just made for twisty lovers.
To really take advantage of one of West Virginia's best rides, take Rt.
55 from Virginia to Seneca Rocks and take Rt. 33 back from Seneca Rocks
to Virginia. Not only will you see signs for such exotic sounding places
as Lost River and Lost City, you will also find that both routes are beautiful,
challenging and filled with sharp steep curves that are sure to satisfy
even the most adventurous rider. Be forewarned though, amenities such
as gas stations are few and far between on these routes. So fill your
tank before you begin your ride and carry plenty of water and snacks with
you. Take your time. Maybe stop and have a picnic. Getting there is definitely
half the fun.