Virtual Ride First 12 Miles

The Mileage and Ride Time (RT) figures were taken from my bike computer. Ride Time is just the time actually moving. Your total trip time will be higher. There are two photos with the each "Mile and RT" listing. Usually the first photo is the view up the trail and the second is the view looking back. Two views for the price of one. All the trail descriptions are taken from this Forest Service web page.

Click on photo to enlarge

Mile: 0    RT 0:00 
Spruce Knob Lake Campground
This is the highest campground in the
state of West Virginia.
I begin the loop at the campground since
I always spend the night there after
doing this ride. Since I'm going to end
there, I start there. At the entrance
to the campground turn left (east) onto
Forest Road 1.
Mile: 0.6
At the intersection go left. This is
the end of Forest Road 1. You are
now on Forest Road 112
Mile: 1   RT 0:05 
Forest Road 112
Mile: 1.1
Here is the sign for the Allegheny
Mountain Trail and Big Run Trail
trailhead. It's just off to the left.
Trail Map
All of the trailhead signs have a copy
of this trail map.
Big Run Trail signs.
Map Link
Big Run Trail follows Big run on what's
left of a turn-of-the-century logging 
railroad grade. Big run is a beautiful 
stream where beaver make their home. The
trail climbs gradually up Allegheny 
Mountain and ends at the parking lot for
the Allegheny Mountain Trailhead on 
Forest road 112. (3 miles)
Beginning of the Allegheny Mountain
It is gated and looks like the
occasional vehicle has been through
here. This is where we get on the trail.
Allegheny Mountain Trail follows the 
ridge of Allegheny Mountain through 
hardwood forests and several small 
clearings. Beautiful views of the 
Seneca Creek drainage can be seen when
the leaves are off the trees. Portions
of this trail are occasionally used by
authorized vehicles to access wildlife
management plots and the gas pipeline 
crossing the northern end of the trail.
For this reason, the trail is very wide
for most of its length. (12 miles)
Here's a Ruffed Grouse that made several
loud charges at me just the other side
of the gate. I was wondering about the
agressive behaviour until I saw her
baby chicks calling from the other
side of the trail. I quickly moved on.
Mile: 2   RT 0:14 
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Because of the vehicle usage expect
some deep muddy ruts.
Mile: 3   RT 0:27
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Mile: 3.4
Tom Lick Trail branches off to
right (east).
Map Link
In the above map the trail is just
marked as "jeep trail".
Tom Lick Trail connects Allegheny
Mountain with Seneca Creek. This is an
old road that passes through a large 
clearing maintained for wildlife 
habitat. (1 mile)
Mile: 3.5 
North Prong Trail branches off to the
left (west).
North Prong Trail follows the North 
Prong of Big Run connecting Allegheny
Mountain Trail to Big Run Trail. Open 
meadows and beaver ponds are found 
along the way. (3 miles)
Mile: 4    RT 0:41 
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Mile: 4 
Leading Ridge Trail branches off to the
The damaged trail signs haven't been
vandalized, at least not by humans.
Bears like to chew on them.
Leading Ridge Trail is a wide, grassy
trail used periodically as a road to 
access some wildlife management areas. 
The trail leaves County Road 29 along 
Gandy Creek and follows Camp Seven 
Hollow up to Leading Ridge. Following 
the ridge to Allegheny Mountain, the 
trail passes through a few clearings 
that break up the hardwood forest 
cover. (5 miles)
Mile: 4.5 
Swallow Rock Trail crosses Allegheny
Mountain Trail.
Map Link
Swallow Rock Trail follows Swallow Rock 
Run up the west side of Allegheny 
Mountain and drops down the east side 
following an unnamed stream on its way 
to Seneca Creek. To reach the Seneca 
Creek Trail, hikers must ford the 
creek. The trail passes through an open 
forest of maple, birch, beech and 
cherry trees. (3 miles)
Mile: 5   RT 0:54
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Trail has become single track by this
Mile: 5.9
Bear Hunter Trail drops off steeply
to the right (east).
Bear Hunter Trail departs from Seneca
Creek just downstream from the Judy 
Springs bridge. This narrow footpath 
climbs to the top of Allegheny Mountain 
passing through a forest of cherry, 
maple and beech trees. (1 mile)
Mile: 6   RT 1:04
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Mile: 7   RT 1:18
Allegheny Mountain Trail
Tree cover is pretty thick but you can
just get a glimpse of Spruce Mountain
off to the east.
Mile: 7.5 
Spring Ridge Trail
The trail braches off to the left
(west). Leave Allegheny Mountain Trail
and get on Spring Ridge Trail. This
trail will take us over the mountain.
Spring Ridge Trail is more overgrown than
the Allegheny Mountian Trail.
Mile: 8   RT 1:29
Spring Ridge Trail
Mile: 8.7
You can tell that we have crossed over
Allegheny Mountain because through the
trees Little Middle Mountain is now
visible to the west.
You will come across several of these
clearings on the mountain. They are
maintained for the wildlife. The growth
in this one was taller than my bike.
You can just make out the trail on the
left of this picture as it passes
between the two trees.
Mile: 9   RT 1:40
Spring Ridge Trail
Mile: 9.7
Here begins a quarter mile long
stretch where both sides of the trail
are lined with stinging nettles.
Some of these plants are at least 3
foot tall.
It won't kill you but it is a pain.
Mile: 10  RT 1:54
Spring Ridge Trail
Mile: 10.7 
The end of the trail is just ahead.
The Spring Ridge Trailhead on Whitmer
Road/County Road 29.
Whitmer Road
Looking both ways on Whitmer Road. First
north then south. We turn left from the
trailhead and go south on the road.
You can see Gandy Creek next to Whitmer
road. This road parallels the creek
till it's end.
Mile: 11  RT 2:01
Whitmer Road
Mile: 11.1
The last house on the road. After this
house any structure you see will be of
weekend/hunting shack/trailer variety.
Mile: 12  RT 2:09
Whitmer Road
Mile: 12
Beginning of the Gandy Creek Dispersed
Camping Area. It runs for 5.5 miles
along this stretch of road. Except for
one pit toilet there are no facilities.
Some sites are posted as Day Use
Mile: 12.9
Swallow Rock Trail trailhead
Mile: 12.9
Bridge over Gandy Creek. The creek will
now be on our left side.

Since this is near the halfway point of the loop I'm going to
take a break from the ride here. To continue this ride click
On To The Sinks, Miles 13 to 25

Spruce Knob Lake Campground-Sink Of Gandy Loop

Fun Places To Bike In West Virginia
All information is presented without any assurance of accuracy. Use at your own risk.
Distance measurements are approximate.
All photos © 2008 J. Watson. All rights reserved.