Shenandoah National Park
September 20, 2010
Near: Front Royal, VA
Route: Dark Hollow Falls Trail, Lewis Falls Trail
Distance: 3.4 miles
Conditions: Sunny and warm
Impression: I love the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in this case, Skyline Drive...the only thing i don't like about it is there's a $15 toll to access the road from the northern terminus...i thought that was kinda steep for a car just driving through, but what are ya gonna do...we followed the entire Skyline Drive on our way home from Washington D.C. and though it added time to our trip, we enjoyed the drive immensely...my girlfriend and i decided to do a couple of short, waterfall trails to stretch the legs and thankfully, the Shenandoahs are full of these...we first went and saw Dark Hollow Falls, near mile marker 51...the total distance is only 1.4 miles and the sign says it's the most visited waterfall in the park because of it's close distance from the road...the parking lot for the trailhead is under construction, so you have to park at Big Meadows and walk over...no big deal really...the waterfall itself is measured at 70 ft, though it's hard to see anything near that from the vantage point the trail gives you...it's a nice waterfall none-the-less and worth the hike to go and see it...
Lewis Falls is located less than a mile away from Dark Hollow (near MM52) and is only a total round trip of 2 miles...off Skyline, there is a little parking slab, on the right, next to the forest service road that is the beginning of the trail to the falls...it is a steep downhill from here, passing the Appalachian Trail, along both the graveled road and a trail...the falls are unimpressive, with very little water "falling" over the side...maybe this was the case because of the season or lack of recent rainfall, i'm not sure...however, i wouldn't recommend making this journey unless you are really wanting to go for some reason...there are loop possibilities with the AT, so that does offer more hiking options...
The Shenandoahs are a wonderful wilderness experience and highly recommended for hikers of all experience...i'm excited for my next opportunity to take in some of the many trails that meander through this national park...
Directions to Trailhead:
Both of these trails are located between MM 50 and MM 52 on the Skyline Drive (BRP) near Luray, VA
National Geographic Shenandoah Map #228