GRANT COUNTY / PENDLETON
Nine hundred feet of Tuscarora sandstone lays vigil over a landscape of agricultural valleys, fish-filled rivers and outrageous outcroppings that jut from the surrounding mountaintops.
Rock climbers come from around the world to challenge the craggy face of Seneca Rocks. Beginners seek out the area climbing guides or try the unique self-belayed climbing adventure at Nelson Rocks Outdoor Center located near Circleville. The Center also offers a new Canopy Tour this year. Explore our forests from a unique angle — from the tree tops! Seneca Rocks is also the home of the Monongahela National Forest’s Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area and the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center where regional information can be easily obtained.
Pendleton County is the birthing ground of the great Potomac. All three rivers – the North Fork and the South Fork of the South Branch, and the South Branch – meander downward from the cedar-spotted highlands south of historic Franklin and Brandywine. These waters wind quietly through beautifully-farmed valleys on their way to Grant County where they converge to become the full-fledged South Branch, renowned for its float trips and angling for bass.
Rocks on top, caves underneath, this area is famous for its caving and commercial caverns — Seneca Caverns on Rt. 33 and Smoke Hole Caverns to the north on Rt. 28, south of Petersburg, offer tours, rain or shine. The barren outcroppings of Seneca Rocks and North Mountain are signatures of this rugged, forested area. Hunting and fishing take first place, in season.
Pendleton County is home of Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia. The views on a clear day from the overlook at Spruce Knob cannot be compared! A network of hiking, biking and riding trails criss-cross through this national recreation area, making it a haven for outdoor adventure seekers.
Native Americans of the Archaic Period were frequent campers at the base of Seneca Rocks on the Seneca Creek. Two Native villages thrived there about 600 years ago and archeological digs have produced wonderful evidence of their lifestyles. The U.S. Army used three of the large regional ridges to train for assault climbing in 1943 and ’44 in preparation for action in the Apennines of Italy. The first settlers arrived in the early 1760’s.