View from Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.
The Monongahela National Forest is in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. There are campgrounds, picnic areas, and over 500 miles of hiking trails, in addition to mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, boating, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hunting, and fishing.
The MNF is more than 900,000 acres and encompasses several wilderness areas, including Seneca Rocks and Spruce Knob. Within the forest are many small communities that have limited lodging, restaurants and small shops. Before hiking, camping, fishing, etc., be sure you are not trespassing on private land.
Blackwater Falls State Park, ☎ 1-800-CALL-WVA, . This park is part of the Monongahela National Forest and features Blackwater Falls, but has two other waterfalls (Elakala and Pendelton), as well as 20 miles of hiking trails, 10 miles of cross country skiing trails, and trout fishing in Blackwater River.edit
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge 6263 Appalachian Hwy Davis, WV 26260-8061, ☎ (304) 866-3858, . Canaan Valley NWR provides a Canadian/Maine like wetland environment in the mountains of West Virginia. The large open wetlands and the great mountains of West Virginia provide for great views. Activities such as hiking, biking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing are allowed. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. The Refuge Headquarters and Visitors Center is on Route 32 south of Davis, WV.edit
Spruce Knob, Forest Road 104, ☎ 304-567-2827, . The highest point in West Virginia, at 4,861 feet. A stone and steel observation tower provides 360-degree views, and there's a half-mile trail circling the Knob. If there is favorable weather (no snow), the observation tower is a relatively easy 20-25 minute drive up a paved roadway. If the short trail around the observation tower isn't enough, the Huckleberry Trail leaves from the parking lot and travels 6 miles along a rocky trail to Seneca Creek. Fishing, hiking and an on-site campground with 43 sites can also be found in the Spruce Knob recreation area.edit
Seneca Rocks, Intersection of Route 33 and Route 55, ☎ 304-567-2827. 900-foot-tall formations made of Tuscarora quartzite with over 375 mapped climbing routes and a self-guided interpretive trail with a viewing platform. edit
The Monongahela National Forest covers an enormous area, therefore any list of restaurants serving the MNF will include food from numerous locations. Outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Smokehole Caverns (north-west section of the MNF) will find sustenance nearby in Petersburg, while hikers or hunters in the northern most reaches of the park will find great dining options near Davis.
Be careful while driving on mountain roads. The weather can be unpredictable and can change very quickly. The current weather may be fine in the valley, but the weather in higher elevations can be much different. Rain, snow, fog, and high winds can catch you off guard when you reach the top of a local mountain in the Potomac Highlands, and windy roads can combine with treacherous weather to create difficult driving. Additionally, high winds and just a small snowfall may create large snowdrifts. If you do get stuck in a bad snowstorm the residents of the Potomac Highlands are generally very helpful and will do what they can to get you back on the road.
Understand that given the large size of the Monongahela National Forest a short get away in one location may be pretty far from another location. Therefore, giving directions are tough and distinguishing approximate drive times would be inaccurate. Here are some relatively close destinations. Check elsewhere for more detailed drive directions and drive times.