The Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, operated by the U.S. National Forest Service, is a wonderful place to learn more about Seneca Rocks, its geology and the surrounding Monongahela National Forest.
Large plate glass windows to the rear of the building offer a clear view for watching climbers on the mountain. Also there are museum type exhibits and a theater which features a variety of interesting films. You'll also find an information desk, gift shop and restrooms here.
The National Forest Service has done an excellent job in restoring and preserving the historic Jacob Sites Homestead near the base of Seneca Rocks. It is a place of interest for history buffs and for anyone who loves country things.
The Homestead originally consisted of a one room log cabin, built in 1839. William Sites, one of Jacob's two sons, enlarged it into a two story frame home in the 1860s. The building, made completely of locally available materials, shows the fine hand crafted architectural details that are typical of the period.
William Sites fought for the Confederacy during the War Between the States, although West Virginia sided primarily with the Union. Sites was captured in 1862 and spent much of the War as a prisoner.
The house was occupied by various Sites' descendents until 1947, then it was used as a hay barn until it was acquired by the National Forest Service in 1969. Beside the main house are outbuildings and a period garden. Reconstruction work was completed in 1990.
Seneca Rocks, soaring 900 feet above the North Fork River, is not the highest mountain in West Virginia, yet it stands out from all the other peaks in the Mountain State. As the name implies, Seneca Rocks is a rocky crag, more reminiscent of the western Rocky Mountains than the generally forested peaks of the Appalachians.
The peak has long been a magnet for rock climbers, hikers and other assorted mountaineers. During World War II Seneca Rocks was a training ground for soldiers preparing for mountain warfare. Today armies of recreational climbers come here to test their skills against the challenging and unforgiving rock.
While at Seneca Rocks one musn't miss a visit to the highest peak in West Virginia.....Spruce Knob, about 4500ft. Again, the view is fantastic and you have the option of hiking to the top or driving....I drove :)
It is a very rugged mountain, with spruce trees stunted by exposure to wind, their branches all pointing east as the prevailing wind is from the west.
Unfortunately there are times the mountain top is shrouded in mist and rain....but that still lends some mystique to the place...so not all is wasted! I have been there on both a clear day and a misty day. Definite charm both times :)