Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks from Pasture, Pendleton County, Potomac Branches Region
Seneca Rocks from a North Fork pasture

Twenty miles southwest of Petersburg, West Virginia, the blade of sandstone known as Seneca Rocks ascends more than 800 feet above the valley of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River. Seneca Rocks is one of the best known natural landmarks in West Virginia. Thousands of hikers and rock climbers annually ascend its flanks and visit the visitor center operated by the U.S. Forest Service near its foot.

Seneca Rock and nearby Champe Rocks are among the most imposing examples of castellated rocks in Pendleton County, formed where the Tuscarora Sandstone has been upfolded and eroded over millions of years.

Hiking at Seneca Rocks

A self-guided interpretive trail provides hikers a means of ascending to the summit along Seneca’s backbone. The 1.3-mile trail climbs to an observation area, and though steep in places, is well work the hike. Steps, switchbacks, and benches help make the ascent easier.

Climbing at Seneca Rocks

The spectacular view and hardness of the sandstone have made Seneca Rocks one of the most popular rock climbing areas in the East. More than 375 mapped climbing routes ascend the rocks. Only trained and experienced rock climbers should attempt to scale the rocks. Two climbing schools are located in the valley beneath the rocks and to the south at Riverton, WV.

Seneca Rocks Discovery Center

The National Forest Service maintains a seasonal visitor center near the base of the rocks. See: Seneca Rocks Discovery Center

See also: Seneca offers climbers a taste of the Alps

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