SENECA ROCKS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Seneca Rocks Discovery Center has released its July weekend schedule, so now is the time to plan your weekend getaway. In addition to exploring some of the most breathtaking views in the state, the Seneca Rocks area also has a rich history. Here are some of the best activities to try this summer.

Explore Outdoors

Seneca Rocks Trail – One of the best ways to enjoy the Seneca Rocks area is by hiking and just exploring the area. If you are a first-time visitor, try the Seneca Rocks Trail which will take you to an observation deck near the top of the rocks. The trail is a moderate 3.6-mile out and back, or rather up and down, hike that features great views and photo opportunities. It is one of the area’s most popular trails and will be busy during the summer months.

North Folk Mountain – If you’re looking for a next-level hike, the North Fork Mountain Trail to Chimney Top follows the same ridgeline as Seneca Rocks but with a much more primitive feel. North Fork Mountain is a nearly 6-mile difficult hike, but it is worth the views if you are willing to work for them.

Dolly Sods Wilderness – Less than an hour away, the Dolly Sods Wilderness offers a real chance to explore a unique bog-type ecosystem that is more like southern Canada than the rest of West Virginia. The wilderness has countless places to hike, mountain bike and climb, so pack a lunch and prepare for a long day full of adventure. A trail map of the wilderness from the United States Department of Agriculture can be accessed here.

Experience History

Sites Homestead – In Seneca Rocks, the homestead is a view into the past when pioneers and early settlers established farms in the area. According to the USDA, summer Saturdays are pioneer days. Interpreters dress in period costumes and demonstrate crafts to reflect the times. You may see quilters, old-time fiddlers, or basket-weavers on a given weekend. Sites Homestead is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Smoke Hole Caverns – If you’re staying in the area for several days, consider checking out Smoke Hole Caverns about 15 minutes down the road. The caverns were originally used by Native Americans to smoke meats, were used by early settlers, and, after the Civil War, it was used for making whisky and moonshine. According to the cavern’s website, “the bizarre-looking formations of minerals look like a scene from a lost world of an old science fiction movie.” Tickets for guided tours are $17 for adults and $12 for children with discounts offered for military and senior citizens.

Free Programs

If you’re looking for more structured things to do for the whole family, Seneca Rocks State Park has released the weekend programming for the month of July. Every week of the month, these free programs are scheduled.

Thursdays

  • 10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Storytime with a Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Enjoy a morning outdoors with stories and games perfect for preschool and early elementary-age children.

Fridays

  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Coffee with a Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Plan your day and discover the forest while enjoying free coffee at the Mon Forest Towns hospitality table. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Junior Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Make connections to the area’s natural and cultural history with activities for the young and young at heart.
  • 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Evening Program, Seneca Shadows Campground Amphitheater. End your day with a family friendly program to create lasting memories. You do not need to be a guest of the Seneca Shadows Campground to attend. In case of rain, this program will be held at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association in cooperation with American Land & Leisure.
    • July 1: Two Truths and a Lie. Find out how much you really know about the forest on this short interactive evening hike.
    • July 8, 15, 22: Folklore and S’mores. Gather around the campfire for spooky stories and sweet treats.
    • July 29: Fire Ecology. Learn more about the critical role fire plays in the life of our forests.

Saturdays

  • 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Visiting Artisans, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association. July 2: Holly Hinkle, Painter.
  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Coffee with a Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Plan your day and discover the forest while enjoying free coffee at the Mon Forest Towns hospitality table. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Junior Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Make connections to the area’s natural and cultural history with activities for the young and young at heart.
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Pioneer Visits, Sites Homestead; July 2: Broom Making with Gary Robinson; July 9: Braided Rugs with Ranger Alison; July 16: Spinning Wheels with Enrika McMillon; July 23: Pemican with Ranger Sean; July 30: Needlepoint with Ranger Inza
  • 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Discover Recreation, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. July 2, 9: “Discover Nature Journaling.” July 16, 23, 30: “Discover Plein Air Painting.”
  • 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Concert and Speaker Series, Seneca Shadows Campground Amphitheater. Kick back to the sounds of local musicians or sit up and take note as subject matter experts share their knowledge. You do not need to be a guest of the Seneca Shadows campground to attend. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association in cooperation with American Land & Leisure.
    • July 2: Allen Talbott, blues, funk, and Appalachian soul.
    • July 9: the Atlatl with Ranger Sean
    • July 16: Bill King & Doug Van Gundy, an evening of poetry.
    • July 23: Patrick Hoffman, rock climbing.
    • July 30: Live Raptors with the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia

Sundays

  • 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Visiting Artisans, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association. July 3: Holly Hinkle, Painter.
  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Coffee with a Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Plan your day and discover the forest while enjoying free coffee at the Mon Forest Towns hospitality table. Sponsored by the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association.
  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Discover Yoga, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Find your flow with guided movements and meditations. Mats provided.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Junior Ranger, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Make connections to the area’s natural and cultural history with activities for the young and young at heart.
  • 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Discover the Atlatl, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Test your aim with this ancient weapon which predated the bow and arrow.

Mondays

  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Coffee with a Ranger. Plan your day and discover the forest while enjoying free coffee at the Mon Forest Towns hospitality table. Sponsored by ENFIA.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Junior Ranger. Make connections to the area’s natural and cultural history with activities for the young and young at heart.

Seneca Rocks Discovery Center is open Thursday through Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Before you plan your schedule around one of these programs, make sure to call the discovery center, 304-567-2827, because programs are subject to change or cancellation at any time, according to a release.