Two weekends ago, Dad and I set off for our annual Father’s Day hike, scouring Shenandoah National Park for a trail neither of us had hiked previously. Surprisingly, we found it just south of Big Meadows—the 3.3-mile circuit to Lewis Falls.
Accessible via some rocky downhill switchbacks just north of the Tanners Ridge overlook north of Milepost 52 on the Skyline Drive, this trail is a good moderate hike though perhaps an ill-advised choice for those with bad knees, as the downhill trekking is pretty rough on the joints.
The trail meanders through fern carpeted woods, across small streams, until finally landing at an observation point above the falls. At 81 feet, Lewis Falls isn’t spectacular, but it’s worth the trek with its delicate veil-like cascades coursing over a granite face.
If you make the full circuit here, which we did, the second half of the hike climbs up toward Big Meadows Lodge, where you can stop and grab a blackberry sundae before heading back down the trail. The hike then follows the Appalachian Trail south of the lodge back to the parking area.
The Appalachian Trail section of the hike is an excellent spot for catching glimpses of wildlife if you’re quiet enough. Two hikers who preceded us down the trail ran into a black bear, and we also came within several feet of a springing fawn.