Seneca Creek Trail

  • Highlights: Views, stream, waterfalls
  • Distance: 9.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 1,089 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with numerous rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate/strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Seneca Creek Parking Area, Forest Road 112, Potomac Wildlife Management Area, Whitmer, WV 
  • Trail Markings: blue diamonds, signs at trail junctions
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Stumptown Ales—Bewildered Hippie IPA & Multiple Hopgasms DIPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

Our friends Ashley and Shelby hiked along Seneca Creek as part of a multi-day backpacking trip and their rave reviews prompted us to add this hike to our list. And we’re glad we did. This hike has a lot to offer: streams, wildflowers, waterfalls, meadows, and mountain views.

Located in the remote Seneca Creek Backcountry, this hike is accessed via a lengthy stretch of gravel Forest Road 112. This gravel road shouldn’t pose a challenge for 2-wheel drive vehicle. However, check road conditions after heavy rains or snow.

From the parking area on FR 112, the trailhead is located to the left beside the Seneca Creek Backcountry trail kiosk. Trail #515, aka Seneca Creek Trail, follows the gurgling path of Seneca Creek. The creek is a popular fishing spot home to wild rainbow and brook trout. 

The trail makes an easy stream crossing over Trussel Run at .5 miles and Seneca Creek meets the trail at 1 mile. Swimming holes, small cascades, wildflowers, and moss-covered rocks are common sights as the creek meanders beside the trail. The trail to Judy Springs is a very gradual descent of about 500 feet over the next 3 miles.

The trail crosses over Seneca Creek a few times. On our hike in late-July, we were able to easily rock hop across the creek. However, when water levels are higher, crossing the creek may be a bit more challenging and could result in wet feet.

Judy Springs Trail:

At 3.2 miles, reach the junction with a footbridge on the right to Judy Springs. Bear right here, crossing Seneca Creek on the footbridge, and begin a steep climb on trail #512, the Judy Springs Trail. The trail emerges from the forest into a mountain meadow with some nice views to the west. In season, wildflowers cover much of the meadow. The trail re-enters the forest and soon dead-ends a trail junction at 4 miles.

Turn around at this nondescript point and return down the  trail, through the meadow and across the footbridge over Seneca Creek. Based on the feedback from our friends about an amazing campsite along Seneca Creek, we decided to bear right on the Seneca Creek Trail to visit what AllTrails calls the “scenic campground”. 

The trail soon enters a small meadow with several campsites on the right beside the creek. The trail reenters the forest and several rhododendron thickets. In late July, the rhododendrons were nearing the end of their blooms but the flower display was still impressive.

The trail passes between two large rock formations under a copy of rhododendron and then emerges near the creek at the scenic campground. The Lower Falls of Seneca Creek on the opposite bank make a nice backdrop to this exceptional campsite. 

This site has a nice fire ring complete with stone chairs and an old mill stone from a long-lost grist mill. Take in the views and retrace your steps back on the Seneca Creek Trail to return to the parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Located about 40 miles north of the trailhead in Davis WV is Stumptown Ales. They pay homage to hops and have a passion for brewing hop-centric craft beer.  It was a long drive from Seneca Creek, but we had to visit. The beer was well worth the trip. The fun brewery is all about the beer. Food is limited to a few snacks (several decent restaurants are located nearby) and they only have indoor seating available in their small tasting room. Dogs are not allowed inside the brewery.

Logging and lumber references are everywhere. Davis was nicknamed “stumptown” back in the timbering days when it was possible to walk through town stepping only on tree stumps. The bar is made from a massive 21-foot long slab of red oak and tables are crafted from huge log slices. 

Pete really like Bewildered Hippie (6.8% ABV) an American-style IPA which may be one of the best IPAs he has enjoyed in a long time. Kathy was equally pleased with Multiple Hopgasms (8% ABV) an Imperial IPA. Stumptown Ales is well worth a visit from just about anywhere in the mid-Atlantic. We are already planning our next hiking adventure so we can return to this amazing brewery.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.