Spruce Knob is West Virginia’s highest peak at 4,863 ft. The access road to the trail is a long and winding 9-10 mile journey from the nearest major road, but is paved and well marked throughout.
The peak is capped with a small viewing tower and surrounded by the 1/2 mile Whispering Spruce Hiking Trail.
Whispering Spruce Trail is a wide and level packed gravel surface, and it’s obvious that care has been taken to ensure it’s accessible. From the parking lot it starts out through a meadow that is strewn with large boulders. There are nice views to either side as you walk through the field.
The trail continues onward to the viewing tower, which really doesn’t have that great a view. The trees surrounding it are quite tall and block most of the view from that level. Don’t worry, there are several much better views later in the hike!
After the viewing tower the trail loops around the other side of the peak and enters a dense grove of towering Spruce trees. This is really beautiful forest, with a combination of pine needles and bright green moss covering the boulders and forest floor. It was a calm day, so the pines weren’t whispering for our visit. But, you could see how the trail could get it’s name when the wind was blowing.
As the trail winds around the far side of the peak, there are several great viewing areas. There is even one that has been blocked and leveled to make it wheel chair accessible right up to the edge. The views of the surrounding West Virginia mountains are impressive across all of the different viewing areas.
As the trail leads back to the parking area, you reach an optional turn back to the tower. If you continue straight the park service says you’ll pass through a blueberry patch speckled with azalea bushes on the way. Unfortunately, neither of those were in bloom for our August visit. But, the path through the forest is well worth the trip.
There is no potable water available on Spruce Knob, but there is a pit toilet there if you need it. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead.