(Spruce Knob Mountain, West Virginia)
West Virginia's lack of light pollution in the Potomac Highlands makes possible what is most likely the darkest sky site east of the Mississippi River. The highest peak in the Allegheny Mountains and the highpoint of the Mountain State, Spruce Knob, is here. Eventually most star-gazers seeking tar-black skies will make the journey to the Monongahela National Forest and its 4,863-foot summit. At peak times there is enough traffic after midnight on the mountain that car headlights can spoil the views of the heavens.
With over 75 miles of hiking trails around the mountain there is enough hiking here to keep your dog busy day and night. The route to the Spruce Knob summit comes on a half-mile Whispering Spruce Trail that starts after a drive to the top of the mountain. This is a supremely easy trot for your dog on a lightly graveled path. The knob gets its name honestly, loaded with dense spruce forests that drape the summit in a Canadian alpine feel. After enjoying several panoramic views along the way you reach a stone and steel observation tower that is easily climbed by your dog for 360-degree, 24-hour views.
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