Highest Point in West Virginia

Elevation: 4,863 feet
Location: Spruce Knob
Visited: November 2021

Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia. It’s located on the summit of Spruce Mountain, which is the highest ridge in the Allegheny Mountains. Getting to the peak is relatively easy, but it requires a lengthy drive up the mountain along a narrow road with lots of twists, turns and switchbacks.

We arrived at Spruce Knob in the mid-afternoon. While there are various scenic lookouts along the drive to the summit, we drove straight to the main attraction. From the parking lot, there’s a sign to point you in the right direction. It’s a short hike along the Whispering Spruce Trail (0.5 miles / 0.8km loop) to get to the observation tower.

Along the way there are a few interpretive signs that provide more information about Spruce Mountain and the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area, which was the first National Recreation Area established in the United States.

Spruce Mountain is thought to have formed during the collision of the African and North American tectonic plates 250 million years ago. This collision caused the edges of the plates to uplight and fold over themselves. Over time, finer material eroded and left stronger more resilient material above, which resulted in the mountains we see today.

The stone and steel observation tower consists of a few steps up to a wide viewing platform. The views weren’t the greatest as they were mostly obstructed by the towering spruce trees below.

From the observation tower, there’s a short loop that leads to three scenic viewpoints, which provide a much nicer view into the valley below compared to from the top of the observation tower. The vegetation along this part of the trail looked stunted and deformed from the wind and elements.

We then followed the signs through the spruce forest and back to the parking lot. Spruce trees are commonly found on Spruce Knob due to the colder climate and high elevation. Most of the spruce trees are red spruce. This used to be the dominant species in many east coast forests, however, due to logging, wildfire, pollution and invasive species, these spruce forests have diminished.

It was then time to make the descent down the winding mountain.


51 thoughts on “Highest Point in West Virginia

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Visiting the highest point in West Virginia is a great way to get a nice view of the surrounding area and of the mountainous landscape. It was a bit of a dreary day, but at least it wasn’t raining. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  1. kagould17 says:

    I am sure when they built the observation tower, nobody thought how soon it would be dwarfed by the spruce trees. Looks like a good place to scan the horizon. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I can only imagine what the “views” from the observation tower will be like in a couple of decades as the spruces continue to grow. At least there were other scenic viewpoints along the trail that provided a much better view of the valley and surrounding area, so we were quick to get over our disappointment. Thanks for reading. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      No kidding. Or perhaps they should have been a bit more proactive and made the tower taller when they were initially building it. While the obstructed views were a bit of a bummer, there were a few other scenic viewpoints along the trail that provided some nice views.

  2. John says:

    You had very beautiful views from the tower! 4900 feet is pretty high, about the same height as the foothills just west of my home.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was a long and windy drive to the top of Spruce Knob. No complaints as I doubt we would have hiked to the summit if there wasn’t a road. It was a nice way to get a good view of the surrounding area, even if the spruces blocked some of the views.

  3. Ab says:

    The drive up sounded very interesting! I agree with the other comments about the observatory tower but nonetheless, it’s nice to be out in nature. I can imagine how clean and refreshing the air was from up there! And how humbling to think this was all created 250 million years ago. We really are just a blink of an eye for Mother Nature!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I couldn’t imagine driving up or down the road in the dark with all the twists and turns, but it was kind of fun in the daylight. The observation tower was a bit of a let down, but luckily the other scenic viewpoints on the trail more than made up for it. And agreed, it’s pretty incredible to hear about how this area was created. I wonder what it will look like 250 million years from now.

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Just look at those beautiful mountain views, especially from the tower! We don’t really have any observation towers in Ireland from where we could fully appreciate the beautiful landscape. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve climbed a lot of observation and fire towers this year and this one was by far one of the shortest and widest, which meant it was a complete breeze to get to the top. It is definitely a great way to get a different perspective and view of the landscape. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the week. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The great thing about visiting some of these high points is that the views of the surrounding area are just outstanding. Enjoy the rest of your week as well. I’m looking forward to Easter. Take care. Linda

  5. wetanddustyroads says:

    Why do one always have to drive a “narrow road with lots of twists” to get to the highest point 👀. Lovely views (not from the tower), rolling hills are always a feast on the eye!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      No kidding, but at least we didn’t have to drive along that winding road in the dark. It was a sweet and short hike up at the summit. The observation tower was a bit of a let down, but thankfully the scenic overlooks more than made up for it.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I know, it was a bit of a bummer when to got to the top of the observation tower. You’d think they would have taken into account that trees are still growing when designing and constructing the tower, but I guess not. We were quick to get over our disappointment at the other scenic viewpoints along the trail though. Even though it was a dark and dreary day, the views were still incredible.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, especially since much of this area is left to wilderness. We were a bit short on time and we only hiked along the one trail that leads to the highest point. Based on the other hikes we did in the day, the trails in West Virginia in general are pretty awesome.

  6. Bama says:

    “The views weren’t the greatest as they were mostly obstructed by the towering spruce trees below.” What you said reminds me of my experience going to the westernmost point of Indonesia. While the drive there was nice, when my friend and I arrived at that exact place we were disappointed because the views to the Indian Ocean were mostly obstructed by tall trees. No regrets though.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s just it. It’s all part of the adventure and it makes for a funny story afterwards. Either way, we still had a good time and the drive itself was super scenic. No regrets for us either.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      These high points and observation towers are a great way to get a nice view of the surrounding area. It’s pretty amazing to just see rolling hills and mountains in every direction. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  7. leightontravels says:

    Looks like a great walk with (mostly) wonderful views. The tower itself looks a bit run down, which is a pity. The name Spruce Knob made me smile, what a child I am 😉 Great work, as always.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad the trail featured a few scenic viewpoints as the views from the observation tower were very underwhelming. I guess it was poor planning to not factor in that trees keep growing over time.

  8. goals&goodvibes says:

    I went to the tower in PA of the highest elevation point.. it was a raining day like not on the whole drive…just went we finally made it there and the pictures didn’t turn out great and couldn’t tell how high cause of the fog 😅

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s a bummer to hear that it was raining and that your views were obstructed from the fog. But hey, it’s all part of the adventure and it makes for a funny story afterwards.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The name of the trail does sound very inviting and it was a pleasant hike through the spruce forest. It was a bit sad to read about how the red spruce forests have diminished in the area due to logging, pollution and invasive species though.

  9. usfman says:

    An extremely remote place here I reason? Where would one stay without a camper if they wished to be within easy access of this picturesque Allegheny location?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was a bit of a drive to get to Spruce Knob and unfortunately there isn’t really much around here in terms of accommodations. I think the closest motel or hotel is at least 20 miles away.

  10. BrittnyLee says:

    This looks like it must’ve been a great hike. I love mountainsides like these . They’re so picturesque and calming to observe. There is this place in Pennsylvania called World’s End State Park. My family likes to go there every summer and fall. It’s gorgeous and is a great area to get views like these. The area to get the views is called Canyon Vista

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It probably took longer to drive up the mountain than it did to hike along the short trail at the summit, but it was all very scenic. I like the name of that state park and that’s nice that your family regularly visits. I’ll have to add it to my list for the next time we’re in Pennsylvania.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Yes! Once you decide to, if you want to, let me know and maybe we can meet up 🙂 It would be awesome to meet and talk about nature and our travels. Plus, my family and I know that park inside and out. 🙂 We would be great tour guides. Haha

Leave a Reply