Discover the Highest Point in West Virginia

Written by Brandi Allred
Published: November 18, 2022
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With a nickname like “the mountain state”, it’s no wonder that West Virginia is chock full of mountains and rolling hills. In fact, mountains are so much a part of West Virginia’s identity that the state’s motto is “Montani Semper Liberi” which translates to “mountaineers are always free.” West Virginia is home to fewer than two million residents and covers nearly 25,000 square miles. But, in all that mountainous land, just where is the highest point in West Virginia?

Read on to discover more about West Virginia’s peaks. We’ll discover the highest point in the state, how to get there, and what there is to do in the area. We’ll also learn about the other state high points, and what kinds of recreation they offer.

Keep reading to discover the highest point in Virginia! 

The Highest Point in West Virginia

Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia.

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The highest point in West Virginia is Spruce Knob, at 4,863 feet elevation. Located in the southern part of the state’s eastern panhandle, Spruce Knob is a part of the Allegheny Mountains. It lies on the highest ridge of Spruce Mountain, which is a part of the Monongahela National Forest and the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. 

If you’re looking for rugged, tree-bare mountains that require strenuous mountaineering to reach, then Spruce Knob might not be what you’re looking for. However, the peak features a truly astounding observation tower that offers incredible views of the surrounding boreal forest and arcadian farming lands. Oftentimes, visitors to the peak are treated to a view of the surrounding landscape topped by feathery white clouds.

How Does Spruce Knob Compare?

Appalachian Mountains Spruce Knob West Virginia
Spruce Knob is significantly higher than the average elevation in West Virginia.

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Many eastern states have low average elevations, but West Virginia stands above them all with an average elevation of 1,654 feet. The highest point in West Virginia, Spruce Knob, is significantly higher than the average elevation. But, why such high elevations? The reason West Virginia is higher than the other eastern states is that it sits entirely within the vicinity of the Appalachian Mountains. 

The lowest elevation in West Virginia is located at Harper’s Ferry, which is at just 240 feet elevation. The state is largely forested, with trees covering over three-quarters of the landmass. Although West Virginia displays an astounding array of natural beauty and biodiversity, large parts of the state have extremely low population density. In fact, West Virginia is the 12th least populated state in the United States.

Getting to the Top

So, you want to get to the highest point in West Virginia, Spruce Knob. How do you get there? If you’re not a mountaineer, then you’re in luck. Spruce Knob is accessible via a half-mile roundtrip trail called the Whispering Spruce Trail. Visitors can drive all the way to the Spruce Knob Trailhead parking lot. That is, as long as roads aren’t closed for snow in the winter. From there, it’s an easy hike to the peak, and the famous observation tower. 

The nearby town of Judy Gap, located just to the east of the point, is a popular starting point for visitors. Lying in a beautiful river valley, the town is small but does offer a few recreational opportunities. 

Things to Do Near Spruce Knob

Sunset from Spruce Knob
You can take a walk in nature at Sprue Knob.

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The easiest thing to do at Spruce Knob is simply walk from your vehicle to the observation tower. For those looking for a slightly longer walk in nature, hiking and backpacking are permitted in the surrounding forest, with several established trails to choose from. You can also picnic at the Spruce Knob parking lot, or stay overnight at the Spruce Knob Lake Campground or Gatewood Campground.

The area surrounding Spruce Knob is characterized by a rugged, rocky country, which is perfect for rock climbing and adventure hiking. If that’s still not enough, you can also check out Seneca Caverns, or even some of the local historical sites.

All in all, whether you’re looking to scale the high point of every state, or you just want to get out and stretch for a bit, Spruce Knob makes for an excellent stop.

The Five Highest Points in West Virginia

So, now we’ve learned that the highest point in West Virginia is Spruce Knob, at 4,863 feet. Now, let’s learn about the four runners-up. At 4,848 feet elevation, Thorny Flat in Pocahontas County is the second highest point in West Virginia. Interestingly, Thorny Flat is home to the Snowshoe Mountain ski resort, a popular winter destination. 

The third highest point is located on Back Allegheny Mountain; Bald Knob rises to 4,843 feet elevation. The next tallest peak in West Virginia, Mount Porte Crayon, is located in the Canaan Valley area, and stands at 4,770 feet elevation. Finally, the fifth highest peak in West Virginia is Red Spruce Knob in the Yew Mountains, at 4,703 feet elevation. 

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Spruce Knob
The highest point in West Virginia is the Spruce Knob.
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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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