Lewis Falls & Blackrock

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, views, wildflowers, wildlife
  • Distance: 3.3 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 990 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Big Meadows Lodge parking area, Skyline Drive mile 51, park fee required
  • Website: Shenandoah National Park
  • Beer Pairings: Big Meadows Lodge—Fresh Squeezed IPA by Deschutes Brewery & Amber Lager by Skipping Rock Beer Co.

The Hike:

This short hike is located in the popular Big Meadows area so expect to have some company on the trail. The falls have the highest water flow in the winter through early spring. At 81’, Lewis Falls is the fourth-highest in Shenandoah. The trail is well marked and like all trails in Shenandoah, there will be rocks.

Begin the hike from the Big Meadows Lodge parking area. Walk away from the Lodge to find the trail kiosk for Blackrock and Lewis Spring Falls. Follow a short series of steps to reach Blackrock summit at .2 miles. The views stretch out to the valley below from the rocky outcrop at 3,720’. Continue past the summit to the junction with the Appalachian Trail. Turn right and follow the white-blazed AT heading north passing below Blackrock and then pass below Big Meadows Lodge. Many ATR thru hikers look forward to a cold beer and cheeseburger at the Lodge.

At .8 miles, look for a trail junction. Turn left here on the blue-blazed Lewis Springs Fall Trail. Continue downhill as the trail becomes very rocky. Pass by several large rock outcroppings. Mountain laurels line the trail and the steep descent continues. The sounds of upper Hawksbill Creek are first to appear followed by a nice overlook with views to the west and the valley below.

Follow the trail as the sound of the falls intensifies. A stone observation point built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s provides great views of the falls. From the overlook, backtrack to the blue-blazed trail as the climb uphill begins. The creek on the right provides some nice views and switchbacks ease the climb.

After a .6 mile climb, a cement post marks a junction with the yellow-blazed Lewis Spring Fire Road. Follow the fire road for about 70 yards to another junction with the Appalachian Trail. Turn left here and follow the white-blazed AT as the climb uphill continues. In about .5 miles, turn right on the spur trail to Blackrock and continue back to the parking area and Big Meadows Lodge. 

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Big Meadows Lodge is just a short walk from the trailhead for this hike and they have a really good selection of craft beer. The food is good and the views from the patio are fantastic. This is our favorite lodge in Shenandoah. The draft beer list varies with the season. On a recent visit we enjoyed Fresh Squeezed IPA by Deschutes Brewery and Amber Lager by Skipping Rock Beer Co. 

Enjoy your beer outside from the deck or patio and take in some great mountain and valley views. It’s a great place to watch the sunset. The Lodge also has a series of Shenandoah theme beers in cans brewed by Basic City Brewing: Limberlost Lager, Big Meadows IPA, White Oak Wit, Bearfence DIPA. No trip to Shenandoah is complete without a visit to Big Meadows Lodge.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.