24 October 2019
Knobley Road - Greenland Gap
Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks
Beth and I noticed earlier this week that the fall colors seem to be the brightest we've seen yet this year, so we decided to take another drive in search of bright foliage. Two weeks ago, we made a circle around the corner of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. There were some nice colors then, but we were just a little early.
This time, we made a loop through Oakland MD, down to Keyser WV, south on Knobley Road to Greenland Gap and Petersburg, then looping around Germany Valley and up to Spruce Knob and Seneca Rocks (whew!) before heading home.
Driving in to Cooper's Rock, we saw many trees that had turned since we were here 2 weeks ago.
Beautiful colors on the road back to Cooper's Rock.
We parked and walked over to the Cooper's Rock overlook.
At the overlook, we saw maybe half the trees had turned, but many were still green and some were bare.
Still, very nice!
The sun was bringing out the colors on some trees by one of the overlooks.
More early-morning colors at Cooper's Rock.
As we walked back to the car, we enjoyed more colors along the walkways and picnic areas at Cooper's Rock.
After that, we headed down through Oakland MD toward Keyser and Rt 50.
Mt Storm / Rt 50
I always enjoy seeing this scene at Mt Storm during different seasons. The owners had it decorated for Halloween and fall.
Continuing out Rt 50 eastbound from Mt Storm.
As we were passing by Keyser WV on Rt 50, we saw the sign for "Nancy Hanks Memorial".
She was Abraham Lincoln's mother, and this was her birthplace.
Time for a detour.
After meandering down narrow roads for about 8 miles, we came to the memorial.
This cabin is a replica of the one Nancy Hanks was born in, but is at the site.
Plaque by the cabin.
A brief history lesson.
Then it was time to move on. We took another narrow road out a few miles and connected with Knobley Road.
Knobley Road is a narrow road that goes south from Rt 50 near Keyser to Greenland Gap and Maysville.
There is a mix of forest and farmland along the road. Many of the farms are owned by Mennonite families.
Antioch United Methodist Church lies at the north end of Knobley Road, just a few miles south of Rt 50.
Heading south on Knobley Road from Antioch.
After a while, the road narrows. We just took our time and enjoyed the scenery.
Luckily, we only met oncoming cars about once every 10-15 minutes.
Nice setting with the old barn and fall colors.
One of the Mennonite farms up ahead. Knobley Road meanders through many scenic spots like this.
And another scenic barn.
Located at the bottom of Mt Storm near the town of Scherr, Greenland Gap is a scenic pass through two rocky cliffs.
At one point, it narrows to about 100 feet. The rocky stream makes it even more photogenic.
This bridge crosses the stream at Greenland Gap.
Greenland Gap - great place to enjoy fall colors with no crowds!
Old hay rake along the road.
This horse was enjoying the beautiful day at Greenland Gap.
Jordan Run Road
Davis Baptist Church on Jordan Run Road near Maysville (north of Petersburg).
Steeple of Davis Baptist Church. Lots more color in the trees than when we were here a couple of weeks ago.
Nice view of the cliffs above Maysville.
After a quick lunch, we stopped by the old farm to see the colors.
This is my grandparents' old farm, and my mother's birthplace. A cousin now owns it, and he keeps everything looking great.
Nice to see the farm stay in the family and kept up so well.
The leaves up on the mountain were changing nicely.
This panorama shows the creek crossing (very low water today) and my favorite - the old footbridge.
This bridge is about 35 years and replaced an identical one that was washed away in the 1985 flood.
It is old and swings and sways as you cross the narrow walkway, holding on to a cable.
I've crossed it (and its predecessor) so many times I can carry luggage in each hand and walk across with it swaying underneath me. Haha!
After a quick look around, we headed south on Rt 220 toward Franklin.
REED'S CREEK FISH HATCHERY ROAD
Just north of Franklin, we turned off on Reed's Creek Fish Hatchery Road.
It circles around through forest and old farms and comes out on Rt 33 west of Franklin on the way to Germany Valley.
Ruddle Church on Buffalo Run Road.
The fall colors make a nice background for the steeple on Ruddle Church.
Just across the road from the church, these cows were enjoying the green grass and warm sunshine.
Continuing out Reed's Creek Road toward Germany Valley.
No crowds back here!
Cow enjoying lunch with a scenic backdrop.
Soon, Reed's Creek Road comes out on Rt 33 just before it crests North Fork Mountain.
Just on the other side is the Germany Valley Overlook, one of my favorites in the entire state.
Rt 33 west of Franklin is a nice drive even when the trees aren't changing colors.
Great day for sight-seeing at Germany Valley!
Our next stop is one of the high peaks in the far distance - Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.
Driving up Briery Gap Road to Spruce Knob was amazing today!
More incredible colors heading up to Spruce Knob.
At the summit of Spruce Knob, we walked out to the overlook.
This small pine cone was on one of the low pines along the walkway.
Only about 1 inch tall.
This overlook has been here many years. I think the trees around it are a lot taller than when they first built it.
But, as you will see shortly, the view is still great!
Enjoying the view from the observation tower.
As we were leaving the summit, we pulled over to the East View turnout for this nice view east toward Virginia.
Our last scheduled stop of the day was Seneca Rocks. This is one of our favorite places to visit in WV.
We have hiked up to the top a dozen times over the years, but today it's too late in the day to start.
It's still nice just to walk around and watch the rock climbers at the summit.
What a beautiful day for visiting one of the most beautiful spots in WV!!
Can you see the rock climbers on top? Check back just a few photos from now.
Bring a picnic meal and eat with this nice view!
This footbridge over the North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River leads hikers to the trail up to the summit.
Allow at least 2 hours round-trip.
This group of climbers made it up the 900-foot face. At this point, the sliver of rock they are sitting on is only about 10 feet thick from front to back.
It's a 900-foot drop to the front and 600-foot drop just behind them.
Can you spot the other climber coming up below them?
Can you spot the 3 climbers in this photo?
BTW - If any of the climbers stepped off their ledge at this point, it would be about a 900-foot drop. Ouch!
The US Army used Seneca Rocks for mountain/rock climbing training in WWII for troops going to Italy and the Alps.
How many climbers can you spot in this photo? (At least 7)
North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River flows right by Seneca Rocks.
This area was devastated by a terrible flood in 1985. The original Visitor Center was washed away and it took years to recover.
For more on the 1985 flood, watch this interesting look back by the Charleston Gazette Mail : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a3F_aSW4o0
Seneca Creek runs right by the Visitor Center.
No, I'm not getting shaky. This is the reflection of Seneca Rocks in the Visitor Center windows.
It's my take on French Impressionistic art.
The sun was beginning to sink lower into the evening sky, so we decided it was time to head back to Morgantown.
Thanks for joining us. Hope you had a good time!