Shenandoah National Park: Lewis Spring Falls

This *3.3-mile loop behind Big Meadows Lodge drops past rocks and ridgelines to Shenandoah's 4th highest falls.
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This *3.3-mile loop behind Big Meadows Lodge drops past rocks and ridgelines to Shenandoah's 4th highest falls.

From Big Meadows Lodge, follow a short path north to the junction of Lewis Spring Falls Trail and the Appalachian Trail (AT). From there, the blue-blazed Lewis Spring (it's the path to the right when facing both trails) drops toward the falls on a consistently steep and rocky path. The trail levels off along the western slope, tossing up tree-framed glimpses of mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. About one mile in, pick up the trail to the right of the silver-banded concrete marker. This spur passes an overlook then scrambles over a creek (just above the falls) before dropping slightly to the observatory.

Return to the Lewis Spring Falls Trail for a switchbacking climb to the AT. Follow the latter north to expansive ridgeline views that may include a peregrine falcon or two. Next up is the Big Meadows complex, where not-so-bashful deer might just be nibbling a leafy lunch beside the trail. At hike's end, settle into a rocking inside the Grand Room, located just off the Lodge's lobby. Views of the Shenandoah Valley from here are superb.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 4.9

Waypoints

LSF004

Location: 38.531063, -78.440647

Look for marker at junction of Lewis Spring Falls Trail and the Appalachian Trail (AT). Follow the Lewis Spring Trail, descending on the right. The trail drops steeply at points and is often very rocky.

LSF005

Location: 38.522124, -78.450451

Scramble up and over rocks.

LSF006

Location: 38.520739, -78.449493

Turn right at marked junction. Follow spur trail to a small overlook then turn left, picking your way over a rocky creek above the falls.

LSF007

Location: 38.520202, -78.450142

View of falls from stone-walled overlook.

LSF008

Location: 38.520109, -78.443955

Junction with wide spur trail leading to Appalachian Trail. Turn right. Depending on the sign you read, the AT is either 50 yards or 70 yards ahead.

LSF009

Location: 38.519564, -78.443348

Turn left to join the white-blazed AT.

LSF010

Location: 38.526766, -78.444357

Pass Blackrock Trail to Big Meadows Lodge. It's currently closed for nesting peregrine falcons.

LSF011

Location: 38.527059, -78.444271

Short path leads to rocky viewpoint on the ridgeline. Grab a seat for fantastic valley views. In summer, keep an eye out for soaring falcons.

LSF012

Location: 38.529208, -78.442871

Look for deer and other wildlife after passing the Big Meadows Lodge complex.

LSF013

Location: 38.530874, -78.439691

If parking at Big Meadows is tight, try the amphitheater lot which has a spur trail leading to the AT and Lewis Spring Falls Trail junction.

LSF014

Location: 38.531233, -78.44035

If starting from the amphitheater lot, turn left onto AT, following it south to the Lewis Spring Falls Trail junction.

Lewis Spring Falls Trail

Location: 38.531008, -78.445655

Mountains from Lewis Spring Falls Trail

Location: 38.53108, -78.446138

Spur Trail to Lewis Spring Falls Overlook

Location: 38.520737, -78.449458

Page Valley from Spur Trail

Location: 38.520323, -78.449619

Lewis Spring Falls

Location: 38.520208, -78.45011

Ridgeline View of Page Valley

Location: 38.527055, -78.444207

Big Meadows Lodge

Location: 38.529456, -78.440897

Brews and Views inside the lodge.