Spruce Knob is located in the Monongahela National Forest, near Elkins, West Virginia. In addition to gorgeous scenery, the area supplies activities and attractions for the entire family.
The Discovery Center in Seneca Rocks is operated by the Forest Service and provides information about all levels of activities in the area: scenic drives and biking, historical sites, mountain & valley activities. It also describes the natural history of geology, flaura, and fauna you can experience in the vicinity.
Avid birders will find plenty to look for in the area. Check out the Seneca Rocks Audubon Society list of recent sightings and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge page (WV birding list site), so you can get working on that life list. There is also a Monongahela National Forest bird list. We plan a member-led birding hike during the weekend.
The Mountain Institute’s staff will lead a trip to a local Shenandoah cave. After many years of caves being closed for fear of spreading White Nose Syndrome in bats, it has been determined that caving is not a contributing factor. The TMI staff will lead a family-friendly caving trip. Prepare to get muddy!
There’s plenty of hiking around Spruce Knob itself, and other nearby trails include Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Blackwater Falls State Park, the Otter Creek Wilderness area, and the 80-mile Greenbrier River Trail.
Mountain bikes are encouraged and are a fun way to get around the Almost Heaven Star Party. Serious mountain bikers may be interested in the Spruce Knob trail (difficult), the Seneca Creek loop (easy), the Bother Ridge Trail (moderate), or the Greenbrier River Trail (easy).
Rafting & canoeing
Seneca Rocks is a striking quartzite formation rising 900 feet above the North Fork River. Popular with experienced rock climbers, there is also a 1.3-mile hiking trail to a viewing platform for non-climbers. A visitor’s center at the base of the formation provides cultural and geologic history for the area. Seneca Rocks is only about a 20-minute drive from the Almost Heaven Star Party.
AHSP has organized a trip on the Cass Mountain Railroad on Sunday. This will be a family-friendly trip departing from Cass station at 11:00 am and returning there at 1:00 pm.
As in previous years, the Cass train restoration volunteers have been at work during the weekend, and welcomed visitors to their shop.
Places to stay before or after AHSP
TMI and the vicinity are fairly central to Pendleton County, WV. Some places to stay and other businesses are provided by the county here.
The closest campground, and a beautiful site is at Spruce Knob Lake. Information is at the MNF site.
Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) has posted suggestions for motels, cabins, and camping south of AHSP in the vicinity of NRAO here. It includes a link to Pocahontas County resources, just south of Pendleton County.