Spruce Knob - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Run to the highest peak in West Virginia and take in the breathtaking panoramic views.

Written by

Allison Pugh

Distance

70.0 miles

The longest trail in the Spruce Knob area is 12.8 miles long, while the shortest is just .7 miles long.

Destination Distance From Downtown

143.7 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Trail running here ranges from easy to difficult, depending on the individual trail and the weather conditions. The summit of Spruce Knob is easily accessible from a paved road and more challenging trails.

Time To Complete

1 days

Spruce Knob can be explored in a day or a couple hours.

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Although the area is accessible year round, it’s prone to high winds and cold temperatures, which in the winter months, can drop to well below freezing. When it snows a lot, trails are often inaccessible (unless you are cross-country skiing).

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

Spruce Knob

Review

Intro

At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob is the highpoint for the state of West Virginia, as well as the highest peak in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. Needless to say, you will get amazing views of Germany Valley, Allegheny Plateau, and North Fork Mountain from the tower at the summit. Spruce Knob is known for its dense spruce forests, which are similar to the forests you find in Canada, although the red spruce trees here have a windswept appearance because of the consistent high winds in the area. There are more than 60 miles of trails that range from easy to difficult. No matter what your pace for the day is, you should have no problem finding a route to suit your needs.

What Makes It Great

The moment you arrive at Spruce Knob, you know it’s something special. Virtually untouched by humans for the last century, the trails here will take you down into pristine forest, up to amazing overlooks with visibility up to 30 miles away, and through patches of brightly colored wildflowers.

The trails cover a variety of terrain and landscapes. They are well maintained and marked with blue blazes. The trails range from the fairly short .7 mile Judy Springs Trail, to the longer 12.8-mile Allegheny Mountain Trail that follows along the ridge and weaves through hardwood forests and meadows. Many of the trails can be combined to form larger loops, and there are a few shorter loop trails, too.

In higher elevations, even experienced trail runners will be in for a challenge with the high-wind conditions. Add in the alpine terrain, and you’ve got quite the adventure. Don’t let that discourage you if you are a beginner, though—there is something for runners of every level here. Although some of the trails can be quite challenging, the stunning, panoramic views of Germany Valley and North Fork Mountain will make it well worth the effort.

Who is Going to Love It

Runners of all levels will have a blast exploring Spruce Knob’s trails. While the trails leading to the summit are more for intermediate and expert runners, the paved road allows even beginners to get to the views. The summit’s observation tower is easily accessible, which makes this a great trip for families and groups.

If you’re an experienced runner traveling with your family but looking to get in a serious workout, the Spruce Knob area has both the running terrain and family-friendly recreation that will make your vacation into the mountains of West Virginia an unforgettable experience.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Parking is available in several areas. Paved access is from U.S. Route 33/West Virginia Route 28 about 2 miles south of Riverton. Briery Gap Road (County Route 33/4), Forest Road 112, and Forest Road 104 have been reconstructed and paved to provide a hard-surfaced road to the summit.

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Location

Spruce Knob

38.0, -79.0

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