Parsons / Spruce Knob
First, a little background. I was born and raised in Clarksburg, WV. After graduating from Washington-Irving High School in 1976, I attended WVU, where I earned Bachelor and Master Degrees in Piano Performance. I taught for 2 years, then I enlisted in the Air Force and served as a pianist in the Air Force Bands. I just retired and we moved back to WV in May 2008. This fall, my son Spencer is starting Engineering School at WVU.
It’s great to be back and riding the mountains again. We have a 130-acre farm near Petersburg, WV that has been in the family for 5 generations, so I’m pretty familiar with the Elkins – Harmon – Seneca – Franklin – Parsons - Germany Valley – Cass – Webster Springs area. I’ve always had street bikes until 2 years ago when I bought a V-Strom 1000. I love the bike, and have been starting to get more comfortable on gravel backroads. There’s plenty of those to explore in WV, so I bought a Delorme Gazatteer map book and want to share my travels with all of you. Hopefully, you will see some interesting places you want to explore too. Enjoy!
In May, I rode out through Parsons, Seneca Rocks, Germany Valley and Spruce Knob twice. The first ride was solo, and the following weekend I led two young guys from work around the same route on their sportbikes. We left Clarksburg, went out Rt 57 to Philippi, then Rt 38 through Nestorville to St George. Turning south on Rt 72 took us through Parsons, and continued on Rt 72 past Hendricks where the road narrows to 1 and 1/10 cars wide. We followed Rt 72 for about 20 miles until it ends on Rt 32 and dropped down into Harmon. From there, it’s a fun ride up over the Allegheny Mt to Seneca Rocks on Rt 33/55. For the final leg, head south on 33/28 from Seneca Rocks to Judy Gap, where you turn left up the mountain on Rt 33 to the overlook at Germany Valley. Heading back toward Seneca, take the side trip up CR 33-4 to Spruce Knob. It’s a fun 275-300 mile day.
Ride 1 – Solo Ride
I already have several photos posted of this route on my “Retirement Rides”, so
I’m just posting new photos.
Heading east out of Philippi toward Nestorville, I always stop to say hi to these horses.
Parsons, WV – Armed Forces Memorial. Very nice.
Rt 72 Between Parsons and Canaan. Truly a “back road”.
Great curves, but narrow – blind corners – and some fine gravel in many corners.
Rt 72 Heading East as you approach Canaan Valley
After crossing the mountains from Harmon to Seneca on Rt 33 (Great Riding!!), I turned south
at Seneca Rocks to Judy Gap, then east again up over the mountain to the overlook of Germany Valley.
This is one of my favorite scenic overlooks, and it’s a great ride to the top.
After coming back down from Germany Valley, I headed north a few miles to the turnoff
for Spruce Knob, the highest point in WV. The first 5 or 6 miles (CR 33-4) is paved, steep, and curvy.
Continuing up to Spruce Knob, the road soon turns to gravel.
(EDIT: This road was paved after this ride)
One of the scenic overlooks on the road to Spruce Knob.
Same location as last photo, but you can see the valley below a little better.
Almost there, the last leg of the road up to Spruce Knob.
The V-Strom is lovin’ it!
The famous sign = Spruce Knob, the highest point in WV – 4863 Feet
The observation tower at Spruce Knob. Nice views from the top.
As I was leaving the parking lot, I had to stop for this photo, because I have a photo of
my second bike (1980 Suzuki GS-450E) at about the same location in 1981.
Coming back down from Spruce Knob – now THESE are hairpins!
Who needs Deals Gap? Not me!
Another hairpin curve coming down from Spruce Knob.
It was a great day’s ride. Total mileage was about 275 with all the side trips.
Hope you enjoyed it. I did, and I proved it by bringing 2 friends back up here a week later.
Ride 2: With Chris and Mark
Starting out Rt 72 from Hendricks – nice waterfall along the roadside
One of many hairpins on Rt 72.
Fun, but watch for fine gravel in the corners!!
More of Rt 72 between Hendricks and Canaan Valley.
After coming out onto Rt 32 and heading south to Harmon, we passed these
abandoned gas pumps with a bad omen for the future.
Soon, we were over the mountains and heading up to Germany Valley.
Rt 33 over this mountain (just east of Judy Gap) is a workout!
Destination – Germany Valley
This is one of my favorite overlooks in WV
After Germany Valley, it was back down to Judy Gap.
I usually ride alone, so I don’t have many photos of myself riding.
Chris took this photo of me coming through the twisties on CR 33-4 up to Spruce Knob.
The guys didn’t want to take their sportbikes up the gravel road to the top.
(EDIT: This road is all paved now except for a very short section of smooth, hard-packed dirt/gravel by the parking lot)
Hope you enjoyed the ride. We did!