Friday, November 11, 2011

Eagle Rocks, Smoke Hole Canyon, West Virginia

On one of our days in West Virginia the weather was so bad we just decided to go for a long drive. One of the places I had missed on all of our trips there was the Smoke Hole Canyon. There are a number of National Forest sites along this canyon, and I'd heard that it is an extremely impressive formation, so I really want to give it a look.

If you have old National Forest maps and information about the place, some things have changed. For instance, some recreation areas and campgrounds had been flooded out so many times that the Forest Service felt it best to let Nature have Her way with the landscape in those spots. So some campgrounds listed no longer exist. However, there is still one exceptional National Forest campground at the far end of the canyon.

The canyon itself gets its name from rising mist, and not actual smoke. The day we were there we witnessed clouds and vapor climbing from the steeps sides of the canyon and toward the peaks and into the skies. So it's well named.

One spot we stopped for a bit to admire was Eagle Rocks. It's not named for the bird of prey, but for one William Eagle who, at the age of fifteen, enlisted in the Continental Army and served in four regiments, including at both Valley Forge and Yorktown. He lived to a very old age and is buried on the Potomac River below the Eagle Rocks which bear his name. His grave is marked by both an historical marker and a headstone and is well tended. A great place to spend the ages.

Eagle Rocks. I'm wondering how hard it would be to climb.

The historical marker at Eagle's grave site.

William Eagle's grave. Well tended even today.

Near the headwaters of the Potomac River in the Smoke Hole Canyon.


Mike Gray said...

Eagle Rocks ranges from 5.0 to 5.11+ in difficulty. Contact me if you would like more information:

James Robert Smith said...

Thanks, Mike!