You’re invited! We’re setting up another group of club members to head out to Spruce Knob Lake again this year during the new moon for astrophotography shots. All members and their families are welcome. Spruce Knob Lake is one of darkest sky areas within driving distance with a very low amount of light pollution. During the night you’ll see stars and the Milky Way galaxy clearly with a still and serene lake for reflections. During the day visit the nearby Observation Tower, the highest point in West Virginia. Many wildflowers also grow around the area. Last time everyone came home with spectacular images of the comet Neowise! Being the 4th of July weekend, there may even be fireworks in the valley. And I don’t want to jinx us, but every time we’ve gone there have been lightning storms that traveled up the valley. Amazing shots from the observation area!

When: Arriving Saturday July 6th and leaving Wednesday July 10th, 2024.
Where: Spruce Knob Lake, Dry Fork, WV 26296. About a four and a half hour drive. Close to Site #005.
Price: $16 a night per site (8 people, two vehicles). Two tents can happen at most sites but are tight. BOOK YOUR SITE SOON!
New Moon: Happens one day before we get there so there will be a growing sliver as the week progresses, but don’t worry. Moonset is between 10 and 11pm the entire time we’re there.


If you cannot stay the entire time, we recommend being there as close to the new moon as possible. Try to plan for at least three nights as stormy and cloudy nights happen!

You MUST have a flashlight or headlamp that has RED LIGHT capabilities. Red Light doesn’t ruin your or others’ night vision when out photographing the stars. White is fine for around camp. 

Lodging: Hotels could be found in nearby towns, however we highly recommend camping as the trip up the mountain is long and monotonous. The campground is very basic. Very rudimentary vault toilets and water available. There are showers at the Seneca Shadows Campground, it’s hit or miss if they charge you or not. It’s a 25-30 minute trip down the mountain by car. REI rents camping equipment and has several locations around DC as well as one in Columbia and Cockeysville. Being a big outdoors area, there may be other rental locations near the Seneca Rocks area. Reserve ahead of time.

Reservations: Reservations have been open for a bit, so BOOK SOON. We’re in group site 005, try to get a site nearby for a communal fire for warmth and cooking. Many great sites are still available and may be made on Recreation.Gov. I have pasted the link below. You will need normal tent camping gear and a plan for food for the entire duration. You’re not going to want to travel down the mountain unnecessarily if you can help it. Being at this elevation nights can get chilly even in July. The water there has always been safe to drink, but recommend a backup plan just in case. We bring bottled water.

Last year we traveled to Elekala Falls (This is where to get great low waterfall shots) for a shower and a resupply. We visited the beautiful Seneca Rocks NPS on the way home.

Usually new moon events are popular at this site and again, we recommend booking ASAP.

Feel free to ask any questions about the site, camping or photography gear recommended, if you’re planning on joining us let us know. We’ll get together an e-mail chain with attendees closer to the date.

Spruce Knob Lake Campground:
For some photos from our members in previous trips:

ADDITIONAL INFO: NO ELECTRICITY and NO CELL COVERAGE (sounds like heaven). I always bring communication gear for emergencies and weather updates. Firewood is available at the camp host for a fee. Bring a chair, daytime entertainment, hiking shoes, easily carried camera backpack and a way to charge camera batteries or extras. We bring a solar generator and can usually spare power for small devices, but no guarantee if there just isn’t any good sun. There is electricity at the Elekala Falls visitors center and we’ve never had issues charging camera batteries there, we usually travel here halfway through the trip for this reason.