Spruce Pine Hollow Park is off of WV Rt. 9 in Morgan County and sits about halfway between Hedgesville and Berkeley Springs. Beside being a good place for a picnic, it also offers access to the Tuscarora Trail. When reaching the bridge over the Meadow Branch (in the woods behind the park), one can veer to the right and eventually cross over Rt. 9 and the River Road before heading into Hancock, Md. on the Rt. 522 bridge. However, crossing the footbridge and going left leads in a southeasterly direction toward the Sleepy Creek WMA. In fact, it’s approximately 8.5 miles to Sleepy Creek Lake.
After passing through Spruce Pine Hollow, the Meadow Branch has its confluence with Sleepy Creek about a mile further downstream. Oddly enough, it’s the Meadow Branch–rather than Sleepy Creek itself–that feeds Sleepy Creek Lake. Beyond the crossing, it’s about a half-mile hike over a small hill to a road that merges with the Tuscarora Trail.
As a side note, I’ve lived in the area since 1994, and for years I’ve been hearing that the woods somewhere in the vicinity of Spruce Pine Hollow are reputed to be haunted. That, of course, is something that I can neither confirm nor deny, but it does pay to keep an open mind. When hiking, it also pays to have a sense of humor. Some of the things one sees on the trail can be pretty funny.
The above picture confused me a little bit. The splotch of blue paint says to continue forward on the Tuscarora Trail, but the sign says otherwise. Fortunately, we encountered similar signage on the other side of Rt. 9, and hikers are free to travel–provided that they stay on course.
This sign, however, didn’t make a whole lot of sense. It states, “Smile you’re on trash camera” and reminds violators that there is a $25,000 penalty for disobedience. Personally, I don’t litter, but the huge pile of garbage within a stone’s throw of the sign made me chuckle. I told Candee that there should be a $25,000 reward for anyone who could find the camera.
At any rate, after passing through the holdings of the Spruce Pine Hollow Property Owners Association, the next several miles are through the Sleepy Creek WMA. The trail gains approximately 1100′ (to a little over 1700′ above sea level) in elevation before dropping around 500′ (1200′ above sea level) heading toward the lake. It’s a difficult hike that’s probably best done outside of the West Virginia deer hunting season. Until that’s over, I’ll stick to the C&O Canal!