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Spruce Knob/Whispering Spruce Trail
Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

A hike along the Whispering Spruce Trail provides unrivaled views of the North Fork Valley, a beautiful valley within West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains—not to mention, the opportunity to summit the highest point in the state—the 4,863 foot peak known as Spruce Knob.

The summit, complete with a stone and steel observation tower, grants the hiker a 360 degree view of the rugged high country vegetation, including the deformed but beautiful red spruce trees that have been flagged by constant exposure to the strong westerly winds.

As far as the eye can see, grassy openings and forested ridges stretch out below the peak, fading into Virginia off in the distance. We spent several minutes admiring the view from the tower before setting off on the 0.5-mile Whispering Spruce Trail, which encircles the Spruce Knob Tower. Along this nature trail, which apparently used to have interpretive signs (they were missing on our visit); we enjoyed hiking through the rocky patches of thick spruce.

The trail leads out to a vantage point, where huge boulders are scattered across an open grassy field—the boulders make the perfect resting spot for vultures that have tired of soaring above on the thermals. From the vantage point, a perfect place for a group photo by the way, the trail enters the forest of red spruce, beech, maple, cherry and birch—blueberry and huckleberry bushes cling to the ground and provide the late summer hiker with a trailside treat. In addition, you will encounter azaleas, rhododendron, and mountain laurel—all of which bloom from May through July, adding a splash of color to the rocky knob.

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