Why These Rock Formations Fascinate West Virginia Locals

Table Rock - Wheeling, WV
Table Rock - Wheeling, WV | © Ryan Stanton / Flickr
Photo of Kristina Gaddy
27 March 2018

Across West Virginia, there are curious rock formations that have fascinated people, all the way back to the original Native American inhabitants, living in the area: a larger rock looks like someone has placed it on a column, or a rock juts way out over an open space. These are known as table rocks, naturally occurring formations that can be found across the state. Check out these six formations and the stories behind them.

The sandstone bedrock of the Allegheny Mountains is perfect for making unique rocks. As plate tectonics shift, the sandstone erodes and sometimes leaves other rocks on top, creating the mushroom—or table-like formations. Although this geological phenomenon explains the rocks, there is also a lot of lore behind them. Myths say that this is where the devil sits to have his tea, while some stories say Native Americans or giants created these mysterious rocks.

Table Rock

In Pendelton County, West Virginia, near the town of Davis, you can find the 2.3-mile (3.7-kilometer) out-and-back Table Rock Trail, which leads you out to a gorgeous view where you’ll be on top of a table rock formation. The panorama faces east, making for great early-morning views, and anytime in the fall when the leaves erupt in color is extra special.

Table Rock WV Autumn Trees | © http://www.ForestWander.com / WikiCommons

The Devil’s Tea Table

Located in Little Creek Park in South Charleston, West Virginia, this rock formation gets its name from the folklore in West Virginia that states that this type of mushroom-looking rock is actually where the devil likes to sit and have his tea. Legends say that if mist is surrounding the rock, the devil is there, and you should not be—unless you want him to steal your soul.

Wheeling’s Table Rock

While The Devil’s Tea Table is an awesome name, when the rocks are called table, and that’s what they look like, you don’t need to be terribly creative with the names. The Table Rock in Wheeling, West Virginia, almost looks like a giant ax, and fascinated tourists have been visiting it for centuries. And even more striking than the formation itself are the Native American petroglyphs carved on the upper surface of the rock, including a snail shape and a kidney shape.

Table Rock - Wheeling, WV | © Ryan Stanton / Flickr

Curious Rock

A 20-foot (six-meter) rock rises from the forest floor outside Spencer, West Virginia. From a distance, the natural formation looks like a giant, strange mushroom, or like a giant placed a rock on top of a petrified tree stump. This rock has been a local landmark for generations and currently sits on private land about an hour’s drive north of Charleston, West Virginia.

Raven Rocks

Raven Rocks is barely in West Virginia. On the border of Virginia and in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can access this overlook through the Appalachian Trail. While erosion and the outcropping of the rock are not quite as impressive as true table-rock formations, the view you get on the hike can’t be surpassed.

Raven Rocks Cliffs On Appalachian Trail | © Mark Fickett / WikiCommons / Derivative from original

Raven Rock

Yes, there is also a Raven Rock (no plural) in West Virginia. Located in Coopers Forest State Park, this rock seems to be making its way to becoming a table rock. The erosion has stripped away enough to make it look like the rock is a face, looking out over the state forest and the Cheat River.

Raven Rock Overlook | © sk / Flickr

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