September 20, 2015.
We headed to the summit of Spruce Knob in hopes of seeing some fall foliage, but we planned our trip just a week or two too early. The views were still pretty magnificent, though. We turned onto Briery Gap Road and followed the signs for Spruce Knob from there. If you take this road, you’ll come to the observation deck before you reach the lake. You’ll pass an overlook to the left on your way up, which is pictured above. This overlooks the Fore Knobs and the River Knobs, as well as the North Fork Mountain in the back. Continue past the overlook and turn right at the sign. You’ll come to a parking lot and this is where the whispering spruce trail begins. It’s a very short, very flat hike around the top of the mountain. It’s a very well traveled path. If you have AT&T, you’ll get service on this trail, as well. It passes by a few small fields before becoming a more dense spruce forest. The observation deck is above a field of boulders. It’s possible to head down to the boulders and climb around. There’s a memorial plaque down here, as well.
If you’re into boldering, there are a few easy bolder problems scattered through the field. Otherwise, it’s a casual walk around some large rocks. Head back down the road and take a right to continue on to the lake. Follow the signs for the turnoff, which is on a paved road. The gravel road from the overlook to the lake is very rough, so drive slow and watch for large potholes. The lake trail is also very flat and very short. At times, this trail turns into a boardwalk; most of the time, it’s a gravel path similar to that of the trail up top. It has a few areas built in for fishermen, as well. Bald Eagles and Osprey are known to hang around the lake often, so you’ll likely see one or the other if you take the trail and hang around the lake for long enough. The lake is surrounded by large ferns that turn a firey red in the fall, which is definitely worth seeing.