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The Best Sunset I Have Ever Seen! Spruce Knob: West Virginia

This article contains information about a very remote place, called "SPRUCE KNOB", which is considered to be one of the darkest skies for stargazing. Check out this content to learn about the secrets of this place!

#SpruceKnob, with an elevation of 4863 feet, is the highest point in the state of #WestVirginia. It is not very famous among travelers, but trust me, it should be for many reasons!

Why You Should Visit Spruce Knob?

Spruce Knob has two unique geological advantage that makes it so special. One is the elevation other is a loop-like open area that will give you the best panoramic view possible!

Come here to experience the most mesmerizing sunset.

It is heaven for photographers!

Also, it is one of the #darkestskies on the East Coast. So perfect for stargazing.

Source: NASA

Want to sleep under the stars? You are at the right place.

Haque's EYE:

In my opinion, the best and safe way for #stargazing is from the Spruce Knob Watch Tower (Open during Summer only). It is right behind the parking lot. From the tower, you will have an unobstructed bird's eye view of the mountain range as well as the #darksky.

As I mentioned about safety, this area is pretty famous for Black Bears. So, be careful!

Story Time: We went there during sunset time. After sunset, we wanted to go to the observation tower. As it was already dark and the tower was not at a visible distance, we were about to take the wrong trail which led towards the forest! Thankfully at that time, one gentleman came towards the parking lot from the observation deck. Otherwise, we could have been that night's dinner to a Bear Family (Exaggeration)! So, make sure that you are on the right trail.

Stargazing Preparation

  • Before you go, make sure you have checked the weather forecast. Another cool website to check the sky condition, from here you should get a good idea about the time when the sky would be most clear.

  • Go there with your blankets and folding chairs because it is going to be a long long waiting time before you can actually see the stars and the Milky Way.

  • A good idea is to bring a flask of hot coffee and some snacks.

  • If you have a #telescope this is the place to bring it

  • For photography you must have a DSLR camera and a tripod, you can take photos with phones but that won't be as good. That's why I couldn't use my photos here on the blog.

We met two other gentlemen there. One was a hobbyist #astronomer and the other was an #astrophotographer. Only these two people waited there with us till 3 AM at night and good god, I have had an experience of a lifetime!

How fascinating it can be to see the Milky Way with bare eyes!

I was blown away by the beauty and vastness of the sky and beyond the sky. If I get the chance I would like to go there again. Last time we were a little unprepared so after 4 AM due to the freezing temperature we couldn't bear it anymore and came back to our car.

How to Get There?

That is a silly question. Put the GPS and drive, right? Nope, not that easy. So let me tell you in detail.

I am a big fan of stargazing. One fine day after work I was talking about the dark sky with my friend Dinesh and within 1 hour we were in the car heading towards Spruce Knob! That's how crazy and sudden the plan was.

Take West Virginia Forest Road 104, but before you reach the point this road ends up and meets with a graveled one. With lots of sharp curves, bumps, and holes, be very mindful about driving because it is a two-way road as well!

At the end of this road, you will reach your destination where a paved short road will connect you to the parking. There are few vault restrooms here with no running water facilities.

As you arrive, a breathtaking sight unfolds before you! Wildflowers soak in the warm, golden hues of the setting sun here! 🌅🌺✨

When to Go?

#Summer would be the best time to go there for hiking, camping, or stargazing, generally June-August.

But if you want to see the #fallcolors then October-Early November is your best bet. The #Winter months are brutally cold at night time.

Also, expect storms or snow anytime from October to April!

Where to Stay?

The closest and best place to stay would be Spruce Mountain Cabins. But if it is out of your budget or you don't find any vacancy, then God helps you. Yeap!


Haque's EYE:

We didn't find any vacancy there, and the closest city near this place is Seneca Rocks, which is about 1 and a half hours of drive. GPS would say 40 mins but it took almost 2 hours to reach the city. Because we are talking about mountain roads with hundreds of twists, turns, deer, and wildlife at night!

We got an #Airbnb but it was highly costly. So lesson learned is to plan way ahead of time to get a hotel to stay nearby.

Another cheapest and best option is to do #camping. There are 3 or 4 #campgrounds nearby. Spruce Knob Lake Campground is managed federally and it is the best option you can have in this area. But to get a spot you need to book early. If you stay here, you will get the chance to explore and do #fishing at the highest elevated lake in the state!

You can book a campsite from this link.

Keep in mind that, due to height and wind this area becomes extremely cold at night even in the summer months. So I would not recommend camping without being fully prepared for the extreme conditions.

Go enjoy this summer at Spruce Knob. See you all in my next post in some other corner of the world. Till then keep exploring with #Haque's EYE!



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