The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Seneca Rocks

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Seneca Rock and US Forest Service Visitor Center

Seneca Rocks, at Seneca Rocks, WV, is one of West Virginia's best-known natural landmarks -- a towering blade of sandstone thrust more than 800 feet above the valley of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. Seneca Rock and nearby Champe Rocks are among the most imposing examples of rock "castles" in Pendleton County, formed where the Tuscarora Sandstone has been upfolded and eroded over millions of years. A self-guided interpretive trail provides hikers a means of ascending to the summit along Seneca's backbone. The 1.3-mile trail climbs to an observation area, and though steep in places, is well work the hike. Steps, switchbacks, and benches help make the ascent easier.

The spectacular view and hardness of the sandstone have made Seneca Rocks one of the most popular rock climbing areas in the East. More than 375 mapped climbing routes ascend the rocks. Only trained and experienced rock climbers should attempt to scale the rocks. Two climbing schools are located in the valley beneath the rocks and to the south at Riverton, WV.

See also: Hiking in West Virginia, Rock Climbing in West Virginia

Seneca Rocks Maps: Topo Map, Aerial Photo


Seneca Rock looms above wood behind visitor center
Hikers rest along the trail toward Seneca Rocks summit
Daring hikers ascend to and descend from the summit
Looking northeast from observation platform
Looking southwest from observation platform
Restored Sites Homestead near visitor center
Pines weather the rigorous environment near the summit