After hiking to the Dark Hollow Falls earlier in the day, I thought I’d head to Lewis Falls for my afternoon walk. The Lewis Falls are a little higher, at 81 ft., and usually a lot less crowded than Dark Hollow Falls. I had a quick lunch, grabbed a trail map from the camper registration at Big Meadows, and headed to the falls.
The Lewis Falls can be reached via a 3.3 mile circuit hike from Big Meadows Campground or a 2 mile round-trip hike from the Skyline Drive. The walk from Big Meadows Campground starts behind the amphitheater near the picnic area. It begins on the Lewis Falls Trail and returns to the campground by the Appalachian Trail. Sections of the Lewis Falls Trail are somewhat steep and very rocky. As with most trails in the Shenandoah National Park, there are concrete markers at many path intersections to help guide you along.
The trailhead for the 2 mile round-trip walk from the Skyline Drive to Lewis Falls is located at a small parking area just south of Big Meadows Wayside and Gas Station. The parking area isn’t marked “Lewis Falls”. The path begins next to the parking area on what looks like a paved road. A sign next to the road says, “Service Road Do Not Block”. After about ten feet the paved road becomes a grassy trail. As it heads down hill it becomes narrower and rockier.
I had done the circuit hike from the campground to Lewis Falls before, but this time I opted for the shorter hike from the Skyline Drive. I only passed two groups of hikers on my way to and from the Lewis Falls, a big difference from what seemed like a hundred I saw at Dark Hollow Falls. When I got to the falls I saw a different scene than I remembered from my last visit. The last time I went to the Lewis Falls it was a powerful waterfall and I could see the entire 81 feet of it. This time it was a much weaker stream and the view was mostly blocked by trees. I still recommend this hike in the summer, it’s just not as impressive as when there are no leaves on the trees and the creek is swollen with rainwater. After seeing the Overall Run Falls almost completely dried up and then these falls, I’m guessing August is not the prime time to see waterfalls in the Shenandoah Mountains.
I returned from the Lewis Falls, ate some dinner, and then set out for the last little walk of my trip to the Shenandoah National Park. Just behind the Big Meadows Lodge is a viewpoint called Blackrock. It’s oriented just right to watch the sunset, which is what I did. If you’re looking for a quiet or romantic place to catch the sunset, you may want to find a different spot (in August anyway). Although Blackrock does afford great views, its proximity to the Lodge and campground make it popular. I was sharing the rock with about twenty-five people.
I took some pictures and after dark returned to my campsite. Then, sitting and sipping a beer, I watched the night sky looking for remnants of the previous night’s Perseid Meteor Shower. I didn’t see any shooting stars or exploding space dust, but I did enjoy the scenery and the perfect camping weather. The next morning I packed up my gear and headed back PA. I always enjoy my trips to the Shenandoah National Park and this experience was no different.