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Nelson Rocks Preserve

Nelson Rocks Preserve

Nelson Rocks Preserve

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: West Virginia, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.69200°N / 79.467°W

Object Title: Nelson Rocks Preserve

Elevation: 3050 ft / 930 m


Page By: dspal

Created/Edited: Aug 7, 2005 / Aug 9, 2005

Object ID: 154465

Hits: 9113 

Page Score: 79.26%  - 11 Votes 

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A number of remarkable features need mentioning here. The preserve offers excellent recreational options to hikers, climbers, and naturalists. The dominant features are the two massive "fins" of Tuscarora sandstone that reach hundreds of feet into the sky. More than 2 miles of hiking trails can take you up and around these fins. The Via Ferrata is the most important feature of this area as it is the only "iron way" in the United States. Steel cables, metal rungs and a hanging bridge are combined to add safety and ease to your climbing here.

Getting There

Nelson Rocks Preserve is located in Eastern WV, off of Rte. 28, just 11 miles south of Seneca Rocks. The Preserve is on Nelson Gap Road, 1/4 mile south of the Rte. 33 and Rte. 28 intersections in Judy Gap.

Red Tape

No permits are required but there is an entry fee depending upon what your plans and equipment needs are. The Via Feratta for adults on weekdays is $35 including rental of harness and lanyard. $30 if you only need the lanyard. On the weekend the rate increases to $40 for the harness and lanyard and $35 for just the lanyard. For "kids" the rate is $30/$25 on weekdays and $35/$30 on weekends. Rates for strictly hiking and climbing--not involving the Via Feratta, is $5 at all times for all people. There are also cabins for rent on the preserve for $35 a night plus an additional $5 per person over 4 in the group.

Hours of operation are 10-12 on weekdays and 9-12 and 2-4 on weekends....Though these hours appear to fluctuate and only apply as to when you start INTO the preserve for hiking and climbing...you do not have to be down or out by these hours...

When To Climb

My personal preference would be during the early fall. Temperatures in WV during the summer can easily reach the mid 90's and is usually quite humid. Spring rains will make the rock and rails quite slick. Winter can bring sub-freezing temps and possible snow...


No camping is allowed that I am aware of. There are a number of cabins available as mentioned above.

Mountain Conditions

304-567-3169 is the telephone # to inquire as to current conditions, hours, and rates

www.nelsonrocks.org would be the website for up to date info.

External Links

  • Nelson Rocks Preserve website
    The home page for the private reserve...
  • Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides
    Professional and experienced guide services and gear shop located in Seneca Rocks WV, the only guide service now working in the preserve. Siteprovides info about the guide service and shop that operates out of Seneca Rocks, WV who guide a number of areas including Seneca Rocks and the Nelson Rocks Preserve...

Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
dspalUntitled Comment


Hasn't voted

Thank you very much for that!! I hadn't spent the time yet to go and get that info as the preserves website doesnt provide that info...I will add this right away!!
Posted Aug 8, 2005 2:57 pm
desainmeUntitled Comment


Voted 10/10

Keep the minus and the summit elevation is 3050 according to the topozone.
Posted Aug 8, 2005 11:55 am
dspalUntitled Comment


Hasn't voted

Thank you very much for that!! I hadn't spent the time yet to go and get that info as the preserves website doesnt provide that info...I will add this right away!!
Posted Aug 8, 2005 2:57 pm
CharlesDUntitled Comment


Voted 8/10

Unfortunately, the legal crap seems to have gotten the better of the folks that own Nelson Rocks Preserve. They no longer allow rock climbing there, with the exception of guided parties by the Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides 11 miles up the road. The Via Feratta is still open and is, presumably, their main source of income anyway.

See: http://www.nelsonrocks.org/climbing.html

While it's a shame to see any climbing venue shut down, Nelson will always play second-fiddle to Seneca Rocks.
Posted Sep 22, 2005 10:40 am

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    


Topping out on the high point...This photo was taken by some...Summit View - northThe dreaded bridgeThis shot is of the bridge...A look at the hanging bridge...At the top of the East fin...
view of the west fin from the...Looking across the preserve...hmmmClimber making first initial...View of the southern fins...A second look at the hanging...Looking back on the Via\'s...
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