The Peak: 4,863 feet
Spruce Knob is easy to ascend if you don’t mind driving up, down, and around serpentine roads with more hairpin turns than Monte Carlo. After passing signs riddled with bullet holes and dozens of roadside churches, you’ll finally arrive at a short, paved path leading to the lookout tower. The perch looks over pastures and forested ridges so steep that even the most enterprising loggers have had to cut elsewhere. The weather is rough, too-along the half-mile Whispering Spruce Trail you’ll see trees so deformed by westerly winds that all the branches seem to grow on one side.
There’s plenty of sweet backpacking in the West Virginia highlands, but no visit to this area is complete without a couple of days at Seneca Rocks. The multisport recreation area is renowned for its fishing, paddling, and mountain biking, and the climbing is some of the best between the Gunks and Colorado.