Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Seneca Rocks

Select Area...
Cave, The 
Lower Slabs 
North Peak - West Face 
North Peak, East Face 
South End 
South Peak - East Face 
South Peak - West Face 
Southern Pillar 

Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Whitmeadow - Stonecoal Loop
Stellar backcountry riding in relatively unknown parts of West Virginia. Near Huttonsville, WV
Whitmeadow
A rolling traverse of Cheat Mountain with a raucous descent over an underground stream. Near Huttonsville, WV
Stonecoal
Ascent of Cheat Mountain through dense pine forest. Near Durbin, WV
Shavers Fork
Connects Whitmeadow and Stonecoal through rhododendron tunnels. Near Durbin, WV
Huckleberry
Challenging and fun singletrack from the highest point in West Virginia! Near Franklin, WV
Huckleberry - Lumberjack Loop
Backcountry riding from the highest reaches of West Virginia. Near Franklin, WV
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Seneca Rocks 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.8338, -79.3663 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 655,608
Administrators: Ladd Raine, Shawn Heath, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Mark Cushman on Sep 19, 2006
Good Page?5 people like this page. Your opinion:   
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area Add Area | Add Photo | Add Comment | Add Event
Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Partly Cloudy
56° | 32°
Clear
70° | 45°
Chance of Rain
69° | 46°
Clear
73° | 39°
Partly Cloudy
75° | 47°
BETA PHOTO: Major Seneca features to aid in locating routes

Description 

Located in the Monongahela National Forest, Seneca Rocks is best known for multi-pitch trad climbs and stiff old-school ratings. The rock is formed from white Tuscarora quartzite, which feels much like sandstone. Bring your helmet since some of the rock can be loose at times. Many moderate routes exist on Senca Rocks, and the wildly exposed summit pinnacle can be obtained by several 5.2-5.5 routes. This makes Seneca a popular destination for trad climbing on the East coast.

Camping can be had at either the Seneca Shadows campground (1 mile east of Senca Rocks on RT 33), or Yokum's Princess Snowbird campground in the town of Seneca Rocks.

Gear and guides can be found at the Gendarme and Seneca Rocks Climbing School or at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides. Food and beer may be purchased at Harper's Country Store or Yokum's, both located in the town of Seneca Rocks. The Front Porch restaurant, located above Harper's Country Store serves pizza, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant does not serve beer, but you may purchase beer in the store below and bring it upstairs to drink with your meal.


Getting There 

Seneca Rocks is located at the intersection of Route 33 and 55, east of Elkins, WV.


205 Total Routes


['4 Stars',22],['3 Stars',90],['2 Stars',50],['1 Star',14],['Bomb',3]
['<=5.6',50],['5.7',31],['5.8',16],['5.9',33],['5.10',42],['5.11',24],['5.12',8],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Seneca Rocks:
Gunsight to South Peak   5.3 3+ 10 III VD 3a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Conn's West   5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Gunsight to South Peak Direct   5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Candy Corner   5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   South End
Green Wall   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   South Peak - West Face
Ecstasy   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   South End
Pleasant Overhangs   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   South Peak - West Face
Soler   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
Traffic Jam   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   South Peak - West Face
West Pole   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   South Peak - West Face
The Burn   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Ye Gods & Little Fishes   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   South End
Triple S   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 90'   South Peak - West Face
Back to the Front   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   South Peak - West Face
Climbin' Punishment   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 180'   Southern Pillar
High Test   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Trad, 120'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
Bring on the Nubiles   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   South Peak - West Face
Castor   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
Marshall's Madness - Crack of Dawn   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Cottonmouth - Venom   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Browse More Classics in Seneca Rocks

Featured Route For Seneca Rocks
Face of a Thousand Pitons...MM climbs the dark colored rock on the left side of the picture (parallel cracks), up through various crack sizes.  CoD steps right about 2/3rds of the way up and climbs the overhanging hand crack.

Marshall's Madness - Crack of Dawn 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a  WV : Seneca Rocks : South Peak - West Face
While Marshall's Madness and Crack of Dawn are two separate routes, by far and away the most classic way to climb them is to link one into the other and that is how they are described here. Begin near the arete left of Triple S. P1: Climb steep rock to a belay stance (a short pitch).P2: Continue up the cracks and step right to the overhang. Pull this overhang via a handcrack (steep, obvious from the gro...[more]   Browse More Classics in WV

Photos of Seneca Rocks Slideshow Add Photo
Wild flowers (weeds?) in full spring bloom.
Wild flowers (weeds?) in full spring bloom.
Used car dealership on the east side of Seneca.
Used car dealership on the east side of Seneca.
Seneca Creek in evening fall colors.
Seneca Creek in evening fall colors.
West Face from Seneca Shadows
West Face from Seneca Shadows
Oh, over there... <br /> <br />Gotta love Seneca
BETA PHOTO: Oh, over there...

Gotta love Seneca
almost heaven
almost heaven
Seneca, West Face. October '07.
Seneca, West Face. October '07.
View from behind (east of) Seneca Rocks on North Fork Mountain.
View from behind (east of) Seneca Rocks on North F...
Inscription carved on the summit block: <br /> <br />D.B. SEPT 16, 1908 <br /> <br />D.B. was a hardman.
Inscription carved on the summit block:

D.B. SEPT...
The town of Seneca Rocks
BETA PHOTO: The town of Seneca Rocks
The West Face of Seneca Rocks
BETA PHOTO: The West Face of Seneca Rocks
Great shot of the rocks from the parking lot.Photo taken by Tim Anderson
Great shot of the rocks from the parking lot.Photo...
View taken from the East side of Seneca
View taken from the East side of Seneca
Seneca Rocks
Seneca Rocks
Fish eye from the summit of the South Peak
Fish eye from the summit of the South Peak
Seneca Rocks from the meadow at Seneca Shadows on a stormy September morning
Seneca Rocks from the meadow at Seneca Shadows on ...
Spectacular view from the top.
Spectacular view from the top.
Which way down?
Which way down?
West side of North and South Peaks.
BETA PHOTO: West side of North and South Peaks.
View of the South End and the Cave as seen from the Southern Pillar
View of the South End and the Cave as seen from th...
Urtiscay Unyanray learns the story of Pollux
Urtiscay Unyanray learns the story of Pollux
Seneca Rocks as seen on foggy fall day.
Seneca Rocks as seen on foggy fall day.
dad looking up at south peak
dad looking up at south peak
the southern pillar from inside the cave
the southern pillar from inside the cave
First night of the road trip. Welcome to West Virginia
First night of the road trip. Welcome to West Virg...
View of the trail / road (Roy Gap Road) to the South Peak area in the morning.
View of the trail / road (Roy Gap Road) to the Sou...
Seneca in July after a rain storm.
Seneca in July after a rain storm.
Terrible photo however you can somewhat gauge the scale of the place. Across the way is the Southern Pillar that has some uber classics and the climbers you see are the far South end of South Peaks East Face at the base of Skyline Traverses first pitch. Minimum 4 pitches to the summit from here no matter how you take.
Terrible photo however you can somewhat gauge the ...
Leading on the southpeak-east face.
Leading on the southpeak-east face.
Top of Green Wall 5.7
Top of Green Wall 5.7
The saint, easing up Castor
The saint, easing up Castor
This guy lived in the summit register for a few years, he was abducted from the top of Seneca Rocks by aliens.  Anyone have more info or know where the photo came from?
This guy lived in the summit register for a few ye...
A photo of the Gendarme before it fell. <br /> <br />Photo: Paul Tierney
A photo of the Gendarme before it fell.

Photo: Pa...
From the south side, picture taken from the southern pillar, looking at the cave and the main seneca cliff.
From the south side, picture taken from the southe...
A view of Princess Snowbird Campground from the Gunsight notch.
A view of Princess Snowbird Campground from the Gu...
A view of the Southern Pillar from the top of the first pitch of Candy Corner on the South End.
A view of the Southern Pillar from the top of the ...
Climbers on the twin cracks of Castor and Pollux
Climbers on the twin cracks of Castor and Pollux
A weird perspective. The summit on a beautiful day.
A weird perspective. The summit on a beautiful day...
Routefinding at Seneca can be a challenge, especially in the rain.
Routefinding at Seneca can be a challenge, especia...
Comments on Seneca Rocks Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 12, 2014
By Brian Adzima
From: the Paris of Appalachia
Feb 8, 2007

Steep, sandbagged, and occasionally scary. What's not to like?

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
May 3, 2007

For folks heading down to Seneca for the first time:
Don't trust pitons-many were placed during WWII as training and they aren't great placements.
Lots of loose rock!
Wear your helmet.
Be in awe of the voluteers that built The Stairmaster!

By Mark Cushman
From: Cumming, GA
May 3, 2007

About pitons - there are a few new ones here and there, you can tell they are new because the eyes are not rusting off them and aren't completely part of the rock. For example there is a very helpful newer piton on Conn's East at the crux of the second pitch. I'm pretty sure this was a replacement for an old one that was unsafe to clip, however many people clipped it anyway.

By Mark Cushman
From: Cumming, GA
Jun 14, 2007

The 4-U Restaurant is a decent place to get breakfast when climbing at Seneca. The prices are cheap and it's only a few miles south of Seneca Rocks on Route 33.

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Dec 13, 2007

To read others' stories of Seneca Rocks and to share your personl experiences, check out Seneca Rocks Stories or Tales from Seneca Rocks.

By John Kelbel
From: Eldersburg, Maryland
Feb 17, 2010

A few interesting rules from the National Forest about the Seneca Rocks area. Below is just an abbreviated list from the link at the bottom.

There is No parking on Roy Gap Road.
Bivouacking is only allowed fifty 50 above base of rocks and only on the east face.
No other camping is allowed in the Seneca area except for the established campground.
No Alcoholic, No Fires, No Horses, No Bicycles on any trails.

Just to be clear this only pertains to the small portion of the National forest land considered as the Seneca Rocks Area, see the link for more details, this is where the information came from.

Have fun it's an amazing place.

fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSz>>>

By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
Oct 19, 2010

Gumbies swarm to this place (multi-star 5.3s are hard to come by), so bring your patience and try not to be too cynical.

By Gini Kramer
From: North Haven, CT
Sep 5, 2011

A few things of note...

The 4-U motel & restaurant is closed.
Valley View Restaurant a little further south on Rte. 33 does a decent breakfast.
Hellbender up in Davis serves burritos the size of your head.
Avoid the older section of Yokum's Motel at all costs. Appalachia Cabins, just north of Seneca Rocks, has a row of motel rooms that are much nicer (complete with micro wave, toaster, fridge, and coffee maker) and cost the same.
When they say that the ratings on Seneca Rocks climbs are stiff, they mean it!

By David Cooper
From: Annapolis, MD
Jun 9, 2012

Classic Seven Tour.
After the Hundred Club this is the next best way to spend a long day at Seneca. Best on a weekday or less crowded weekend.

My favorite tour, in order of routes... SJM, Ecstasy, Dufty's, Prune, Crispy Critter, T Jam, West Pole, Pleasant O, Green Wall, Soler, Rox Salt.

Start at sunrise and you should be walking out in time for dinner.

A fantastic way to shake it up a bit if you've been looking for a new Seneca adventure.

By Ted Bjorklund
Oct 28, 2012

Left a pair of la sportiva miuras near the cave entrance...pretty new, size 40. Please send me a message if you found them, or are going there soon.

By Cody Bradford
From: Boone, NC
Nov 13, 2012

Cell phones do not work at Seneca. Might as well keep it at home.
Not the best place to come if you are just beginning in the traditional game. Hard sandbags, tenuous rock, difficult route finding, the list goes on. Hire a guide.
That being said, Seneca is a delightful slice of humble pie and a great alpine training ground during winter months.

By Jonathan Spencer
From: Pipestem, WV
Dec 17, 2012

Seneca Rocks, WV AMGA SPI Course Dec. 1-3, 2012

.
Here's a video of a course I took at Seneca.

By Benjaminadk
From: Lake George, NY
Oct 7, 2013

Did a week long climbing trip to Seneca last month. We camped at Seneca Shadows. I recommend staying in the field portion of the campground. Its cheap ($15/night), there is a fresh water spigot nearby, clean bathrooms with hot showers and its across the street from the climbing. I strongly suggest not buying their firewood. When we were there it was too moist to burn. Yokum's General Store sells dry wood for half the price. For eating out we liked the Front Porch, located above Harper's General Store and right next to the climbing shop. There is also a 5min hiking trail from the camping to the general stores and climbing shop. The Front Porch has great sandwiches, pizza and rocking desserts. There prices are dirt cheap compared to NY. Ten to fifteen bucks to get completely stuffed. There is also WiFi here and pay phones to contact the real world.

By Ronin
From: Petersburg, WV
Oct 30, 2013

Just a reminder to our many out-of-state visitors- Hiking in both Germany Valley (near Seneca Rocks) and Pendleton Valley (near Franklin Gorge) this past week and encountered both rattlesnakes and copperheads in both locations, despite two frosts and a freeze in the last week or two.

Just a reminder, especially for those exploring some of the fun little spots "off the map" where there might be climbs but not a lot of traffic- the biters are still out there, and still active. Thick piles of leaves in sunny corners at the base of cliffs, thick vegetation in which the rodents that they hunt might still be active, and almost any trail running near or through talus should all be viewed with caution and traveled with care.


Cheers!

By J_C_G
Jan 12, 2014

Not sure if it's an established problem, but we found a traverse problem in the V5/V6 range on the back left wall of the cave at the South End that's pretty much the only thing at Seneca that stays dry on cold rainy days when the rock is sweating.