Red House Rocks

Share via
Red House Rocks, West Virginia
Graffiti covers the Red House Rocks at Red House, West Virginia, a landmark long used by boat crews on the Kanawha.

On the top of the hill above the community of Red House, the sandstone cliff known as Red House Rocks overlooks the valley of the lower Kanawha River and the town of Winfield, West Virginia, the county seat of Putnam County.

The community of Red House was named for its location below the rocks, part of which, from afar, resembled a red house. Boat crews on the river used the rock to mark the approach of the treacherous Red House Shoal, a ledge with a three-foot drop.

The rocks are of the Waynesburg Sandstone, 60 feet thick along a ridge top, and ascend more than 400 feet above the river. This sandstone also outcrops across the valley near Upland, West Virginia, on the divide between the valleys of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers.

A steep path wanders up from the base of the ridge near the Putnam County Animal Shelter to the ridge top and rocks, the tops of which have been marked with graffiti over many years. Many chiseled inscriptions appear on the rocks alongside more recently spray-painted work. The steep ascent of more than 300 feet from the roadside to the summit is difficult.

Map showing the location of Red House Rocks

Red House Rocks Links


Sign up for a FREE copy of West Virginia Explorer Magazine in your email twice weekly.