Monday, October 23, 2023

Seneca Rocks and Seneca Shadows Campground

The jagged  ridge of Seneca Rocks, jutting out of the thick foliage covering the rest of the mountain, dominates the view in the flat Potomac River valley. The sheerness, hardness, and height of the rock face draws rock climbers from all over the country. It's the only place in the eastern US that offers this kind of climbing challenge. For able bodied hikers there is another much easier way to the top of the rocks - a 1.3 mile trail that switchbacks up 700' to an observation platform. 

    Red arrows point to three climbers on the rock face. Yikes!

Seneca Rocks is managed by the National Forest Service. It features trails, a visitor center, a pioneer homestead, and a picnic area. Seneca Shadows Campground is located a few miles south. Amenities include tables, fire rings, restrooms, potable water, and a dump station. The terrain is hilly so few of the sites are level. The self-service pay station and the dump station (extra $7 fee) are kind of hard to find -almost at the end of the campground road. Look for signs for the turn. The reservation site indicates that most of the campsites are first come/first serve but we found many of them had reserved tags on the posts. There were still enough open sites for people who didn't reserve a site. 

The visitor center, which is accessible, has a few exhibits and a nice view of the rocks. A paved, accessible trail switchbacks down to a bridge over Seneca Creek and to the parking lot for the Seneca Rocks trailhead. The pioneer homestead is located at the north end of the lot. The homestead is not accessible due to the rough terrain and lack of a ramp at the house. 
The campsites parking pads are paved but very narrow. Some of the sites are marked as accessible on the reservation site but none of them are and the posts at the sites do not have an accessible designation. The double sites are accessible only because they're made wide enough to fit two units which is reflected in the much higher price. We looked for the most level site which was one with steps up to the table. It was also too narrow to deploy my lift. Campground 38.82798, -79.38656



  1. The leaves are changing in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. Very pretty time to visit!

  2. Wow, you've come pretty far east! This is a very beautiful area (I think). Isn't it about time to head south and west? It'll be getting chilly soon.