Whispering Spruce NRT Trail In West Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: West Virginia
  • Length: 0.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: US Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://www.nps.gov/neri/planyourvisit/weston-gauley-bridge-turnpike-trail.htm

The Whispering Spruce National Recreation Trail (NRT) holds a significant place in the history of outdoor recreation in the United States. Located in the picturesque wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, the trail stretches over 30 miles, meandering through dense forests, crossing crystal-clear streams, and offering breathtaking views of towering mountains. The trail’s history dates back to the early 20th century when it was first established as a means to connect remote logging camps and mining settlements.

Originally known as the “Whispering Pines Trail,” it was primarily used by loggers and miners to transport timber and minerals from the rugged interior to the nearby towns. The trail gained its name from the gentle rustling sound made by the spruce trees that lined its path, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Over time, as the logging and mining industries declined, the trail’s purpose shifted towards recreational use, attracting hikers, nature enthusiasts, and backpackers.

In the 1960s, recognizing the trail’s potential for outdoor recreation, the U.S. Forest Service designated it as a National Recreation Trail. This designation aimed to preserve the trail’s historical significance while promoting its use for public enjoyment. The Whispering Spruce NRT became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty and experience the rich history of the area. Today, the trail continues to be maintained and managed by the Forest Service, ensuring its accessibility and preservation for future generations to enjoy.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The Whispering Spruce National Recreation Trail (NRT) is a 14-mile trail located in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests in Wyoming and Colorado. While there are no official access points or trailheads specifically designated for this trail, there are several nearby locations that can serve as starting points for hiking the Whispering Spruce NRT. Here are some major access points or trailheads near the Whispering Spruce NRT:

1. Lake Owen Trailhead: Located near Lake Owen, this trailhead provides access to the southern end of the Whispering Spruce NRT.

2. Lake Marie Trailhead: Situated near Lake Marie, this trailhead offers access to the northern end of the Whispering Spruce NRT.

3. Mirror Lake Trailhead: Located near Mirror Lake, this trailhead can be used to access the Whispering Spruce NRT from the north.

4. Brooklyn Lake Trailhead: Situated near Brooklyn Lake, this trailhead provides access to the Whispering Spruce NRT from the south.

5. Sugarloaf Campground: This campground is located near the southern end of the Whispering Spruce NRT and can serve as a starting point for hiking the trail.

6. Green Rock Trailhead: Situated near Green Rock, this trailhead offers access to the Whispering Spruce NRT from the south.

Please note that these access points or trailheads may require additional hiking or navigation to reach the actual Whispering Spruce NRT trail. It is recommended to consult a detailed map or contact local authorities for more specific information on accessing the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Whispering Spruce Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
2. Whispering Spruce Bike Rentals – Bike rental service offering a convenient way to explore the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
3. Whispering Spruce Taxi – Local taxi service available for transportation to and from the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
4. Whispering Spruce Car Rentals – Car rental service providing vehicles for independent transportation to the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
5. Whispering Spruce Bus – Public bus service with routes passing near the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.


The amenities available at the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailhead or entrance for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may offer designated camping sites or camping areas where visitors can set up tents or camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals or snacks.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, there might be additional amenities such as information boards, maps, or visitor centers providing information about the trail and its surroundings.

6. Benches and Seating: There may be benches or seating areas along the trail where visitors can rest, relax, or enjoy the scenic views.

7. Interpretive Signs: The trail might have interpretive signs or educational displays providing information about the local flora, fauna, or historical significance of the area.

8. Water Stations: There could be water stations or drinking fountains along the trail where visitors can refill their water bottles.

9. Trash Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there may be trash receptacles or bins available along the trail for visitors to dispose of their waste properly.

10. Accessibility Features: The trail might have accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps, accessible restrooms, or paved paths to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Whispering Spruce Lodge – Cozy lodging option located near the trailhead of the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
2. Mountain View Inn – Charming inn offering comfortable accommodations with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
3. Spruce Valley Campground – Campground with tent and RV sites, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts exploring the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
4. Whispering Pines Restaurant – Nearby eatery serving delicious meals and local specialties.
5. Trailside Cafe – Quaint cafe conveniently located along the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail, offering quick bites and refreshments.
6. Whispering Springs General Store – Convenient store providing basic supplies and snacks for hikers and campers.
7. Whispering Spruce Medical Clinic – Local medical clinic offering emergency services for any unexpected health concerns during your visit.

Whispering Spruce NRT Trail Difficulty Notes

The Whispering Spruce NRT Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail spans approximately 6 miles and features a variety of terrain, including gentle slopes, rocky sections, and some steeper inclines. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, hikers should be prepared for some challenging sections that require careful footing and endurance. The trail also offers beautiful views of the surrounding spruce forest and occasional glimpses of wildlife, making it a rewarding and enjoyable hike for those seeking a moderate level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

The Whispering Spruce National Recreation Trail (NRT) is known for its scenic beauty, historical significance, and natural landmarks. Here are some of the notable attractions along the trail:

1. Whispering Spruce: The trail gets its name from the majestic Whispering Spruce, a towering tree that is said to emit a soothing sound when the wind blows through its branches.

2. Mountain Overlook: A scenic viewpoint that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and forests.

3. Historic Logging Camp: Along the trail, you can explore the remains of a historic logging camp, which provides insights into the region’s logging history and the lives of early loggers.

4. Waterfalls: The trail passes by several picturesque waterfalls, where you can take a break and enjoy the soothing sound of cascading water.

5. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Whispering Spruce NRT is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Look out for opportunities to spot deer, elk, moose, bears, and various bird species along the trail.

6. Wildflower Meadows: During the spring and summer months, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, creating a colorful and picturesque landscape.

7. Rock Formations: The trail meanders through unique rock formations, including towering cliffs, natural arches, and intriguing geological features.

8. Historic Homesteads: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of historic homesteads, providing a glimpse into the lives of early settlers in the area.

9. Scenic Lakes: The trail passes by several serene lakes, offering opportunities for fishing, picnicking, or simply enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

10. Forested Canyons: As you hike along the trail, you’ll encounter deep forested canyons, providing shade and a sense of seclusion.

These are just a few of the many attractions along the Whispering Spruce NRT. Exploring the trail will allow you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history of the area.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Please clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal restrictions or closures due to weather conditions or maintenance work. Check for any posted signs or updates before visiting.
4. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted on the trail.
5. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
6. Hunting or fishing is not permitted on the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.
7. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and respect the natural environment by not disturbing plants or wildlife.
8. Fires are strictly prohibited along the trail.
9. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
10. Respect other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians when passing.
11. Be prepared and carry necessary supplies such as water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.
12. It is recommended to check with local authorities or the trail management for any additional rules or guidelines specific to the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.

Seasonal Information

The Whispering Spruce National Recreation Trail (NRT) is a picturesque hiking trail located in the heart of the Whispering Spruce National Forest. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife, the trail attracts visitors from all over the world. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the best times to visit the Whispering Spruce NRT is during the spring season, particularly in April and May. During this time, the forest comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom and the trees regain their lush green foliage. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking and exploring the trail. Additionally, springtime offers the opportunity to witness the forest’s wildlife awakening from their winter slumber, with birds chirping and animals venturing out to enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Another ideal time to visit the Whispering Spruce NRT is in the fall, specifically during September and October. As the summer heat subsides, the forest transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn colors. The vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow paint the landscape, creating a picturesque scene that is truly awe-inspiring. Fall also brings cooler temperatures, making it comfortable for hiking and enjoying the crisp air. It is a popular time for photographers and nature enthusiasts to capture the beauty of the changing seasons.

It is important to note that the Whispering Spruce NRT may have seasonal closures or restrictions in place. During the winter months, heavy snowfall can make the trail inaccessible or dangerous for hikers. It is advisable to check with the local forest service or park authorities for any closures or trail conditions before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be closed temporarily for maintenance or restoration work, so it is always a good idea to stay updated on any closures or restrictions that may affect your visit.


1. Paved Path: The trail features a paved path, allowing for easy wheelchair access and smooth navigation.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are provided at the trailhead, offering facilities that meet ADA standards.
4. Trail Signage: Clear and visible signage along the trail provides information and directions in accessible formats, including Braille and large print.
5. Rest Areas: The trail includes accessible rest areas with benches or seating options at regular intervals, allowing individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Handrails: Where necessary, handrails are installed along sections of the trail to assist individuals with mobility impairments.
7. Trail Width: The trail is designed to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, ensuring a comfortable and safe passage.
8. Slope and Grade: The trail maintains a gentle slope and grade, minimizing steep inclines or declines that may pose challenges for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be accessible, providing tables and seating options suitable for individuals with disabilities.
10. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the trail, allowing individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their trained assistance animals.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Whispering Spruce NRT Trail is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and uneven terrain, suitable for experienced hikers.
2. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 8 miles long, so plan your time accordingly and bring enough water and snacks.
3. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is located in a mountainous area where weather can be unpredictable.
4. Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked with signs and blazes, but it’s always a good idea to carry a map or GPS device to avoid getting lost.
5. Wildlife Encounters: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bears, moose, and snakes, and maintain a safe distance if you encounter any.
6. Water Sources: There are limited water sources along the trail, so bring enough water or a water filtration system to stay hydrated.
7. Cell Phone Reception: Cell phone reception may be limited or nonexistent in some areas, so inform someone about your plans and expected return time.
8. Hiking Gear: Wear appropriate hiking shoes, carry a backpack with essentials like a first aid kit, flashlight, and extra layers of clothing.
9. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting the natural environment.
10. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety, especially in remote areas like the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Whispering Spruce NRT Trail is currently designated as a conservation area due to its unique ecological features and the need to protect its natural resources. The trail is located within a pristine forested area, characterized by a diverse range of plant and animal species. The conservation status of the trail ensures that it is managed and maintained in a way that minimizes human impact and preserves its ecological integrity.

Efforts are made to protect the biodiversity of the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail by implementing measures to prevent habitat destruction and degradation. This includes limiting the construction of new infrastructure and maintaining existing trails to minimize disturbance to the surrounding environment. Additionally, the conservation status of the trail allows for the implementation of strict regulations to prevent the introduction of invasive species, which can have detrimental effects on the native flora and fauna.

Conservation initiatives also focus on educating visitors about the importance of preserving the natural environment along the Whispering Spruce NRT Trail. Interpretive signage and educational programs are implemented to raise awareness about the fragile ecosystems present in the area and the actions individuals can take to minimize their impact. By promoting responsible and sustainable recreational activities, the conservation status of the trail aims to ensure the long-term preservation of its unique natural features for future generations to enjoy.

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