About This Park

Seneca State Forest is West Virginia’s oldest and second largest forest. Surrounded by nature in rugged Pocahontas County, Seneca offers peace and solitude for guests searching for a quiet getaway. Recreational opportunities abound in the forest’s 11,684 acres of lush woodlands. Hiking and biking the forest’s 23 miles of winding trails, and boating and swimming Seneca Lake and the Greenbrier River are all popular activities. Hunting and fishing by properly licensed individuals is permitted on forest grounds. Seneca is, perhaps, best known for its 65-foot tall fire tower, which provides incredible views of the forest and miles upon miles of surrounding woodlands.

Seneca State Forest

Things to Do


859 attraction is located outside of the park.
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • 859
    Golf
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • 859
    Museums & Historical Sites
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • 859
    Scenic Train Rides
  • 859
    Swimming
Groups, Meetings and Weddings Rules & Regulations Download Park Pack & Map

History

Most of the land that is now Seneca State Forest was acquired by the West Virginia Game and Fish Commission in 1924. At that time, most of the forest’s timber had been cut. In the following decade, the Civilian Conservation Corps managed reforestation, timber stand improvement and game and fish management programs. The state built the fire tower in 1924, and construction of the state’s first campground was completed in 1928. That year, the state also opened its first tree nursery. The forest’s recreation facilities opened to the public in the summer of 1937, and hunting was allowed the following year. By 1938, access roads, trails, picnic areas, eight cabins and a lake had been constructed.

Accommodations

Cabins

Seneca State Forest has eight cabins, designed to give guests an experience of what pioneer life was like without indoor plumbing and electricity. Showers and coin-operated laundry machines are available for use in the forest office. All cabins come fully furnished and equipped for basic housekeeping.

Fire Tower

Seneca State Forest’s Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is another option for overnight guests. The 65-foot tower provides 360 degree views of the forest and sits just above the forest canopy. The tower has two cots, but can accommodate a maximum of four people. This unique accommodation allows guests to experience the great outdoors and West Virginia night sky from a completely unique and unforgettable perspective.

Additional Information

Picnicking

Numerous picnic sites and a large shelter are provided for the enjoyment of visitors and can be reserved for any event. These sites offer tables, fireplaces, drinking water and toilet facilities for your convenience.

Trails

Allegheny Trail

This trail enters Seneca on Thomas Mountain Road near Sitlington, traverses the length of the forest and exits on Thorny Creek Mountain. Access from Sitlington Road, Laurel Run Road and Cabin Road.
Distance 8.5 miles
Difficulty

Black Oak Trail

From north end of Loop Road to Clover Lick Road.
Distance 1.25 miles
Difficulty

Crestline Trail

From end of Michael Mountain Road along crest of Michael Mountain. Highest point of Seneca State Forest. No biking permitted.
Distance 2 miles
Difficulty

Fire Tower Trail

From Fire Observation Tower to Seneca Lake. Steep grade. No biking permitted.
Distance 0.75 miles
Difficulty

Great Laurel Trail

Great Laurel Trail connects Hill Top Trail to campground at campsite #8.
Distance 0.5 miles
Difficulty

Hill Top Trail

Trail runs from Cabin Road near Forest Headquarters, across Loop Road to Thorny Creek Trail.
Distance 1.5 miles
Difficulty

Horseshoe Trail

A circular trail which departs the campground near campsite #9 and ends near campsite #8. No biking permitted.
Distance 1.25 miles
Difficulty

Little Jim Trail

Trail runs from Cabin Road near Forest Headquarters to Thorny Creek Trail.
Distance 1 mile
Difficulty

Little Mountain Trail

Trail runs from Cabin Road near Forest Headquarters to Thorny Creek Trail.
Distance 1 mile
Difficulty

Rich Patch Loop

A loop trail that begins from a trailhead parking area on Michael Mountain Road approximately ¾ mile off State Route 28.
Distance 3.2 miles
Difficulty

Thorny Creek Trail

A circular trail which follows Little Thorny Creek from its headwaters on Loop Road to the point where it leaves Seneca below the lake. The trail then leaves the stream, climbs Little Mountain and meets the southern terminus of Loop Road. Note: Several stream crossings.
Distance 6 miles
Difficulty

Scarlet Oak Trail

From the southern end of Loop Road to Cabin Road ½ miles from Forest Headquarters. No biking permitted.
Distance 0.5 miles
Difficulty
Download Park Pack & Map

Nearby Attractions

Greenbrier River Trail

A favorite for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, anglers and horseback riders, this 78-mile rail trail mirrors along the Greenbrier River.

Green Bank Observatory

Located in Green Bank, approximately 10 miles north of Seneca, the Green Bank Observatory offers free guided tours of their facilities, including the Green Bank Telescope, one of the world’s largest objects! Tour schedules are available at the forest office.

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Located in the historic town of Cass, the Cass Scenic Railroad transports passengers to a time when logging was a way of life in Pocahontas County. Restored company buildings have been refurbished and are available for overnight stays in this logging town.

Beartown State Park

The park is one large rock formation split into sections and clefts large enough for walkways. The Park is noted for its massive boulders, overhanging cliffs and unusual rock formations. A boardwalk allows easy access and interpretive signs provide insight into the area’s ecology.

Watoga State Park

The park consists of 10,100 acres filled with recreational activities including hiking, swimming fishing and boating. Vacation cabins are open year-round.

Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park

This is the site of West Virginia’s significant Civil War battle. The battle is re-enacted each October for history buffs.

Pearl Buck Birthplace

The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Museum showcases the home in which the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author was born in 1892.

Photos