Field Trip – Lewis Family Gorge
followed by a hike on Etawah Woods Trail

General Hike Location: Lewis Family Gorge is privately protected property located off of Rapid Forge Road on Lewis Lane, not far from Paint Creek Reservoir Dam.

Driving Distance from the Appalachian Forest Museum: 12 minutes.

Length: Approximately 2.25 miles all day

Time & Meeting Place: Meet at the Lewis Family property at 9:15am, the hike will begin promptly at 9:30am.

Bring: Be sure to pack a bottle of water. We will enjoy our picnic lunch at the nearby Paint Creek State Park. You will be able to leave your lunches in the car. BE SURE TO WEAR WATER PROOF BOOTS.

Difficulty: Lewis Family Gorge – Moderately Difficult only because we will be walking off-trail on the canyon floor and sometimes on the stone-bottomed creek bed itself. Water levels are expected to be shallow, usually not more than 2 or so inches deep. Rocks may at times be slippery so hikers should have good balance. A walking stick is recommended so you can support yourself if you hit a slick spot. The Etawah Woods trail has one ascent and descent on a long run of stone stairs, but is otherwise level walking.

Description: This half mile long Gorge has been in private hands for generations of Lewis family members.The floral showcases are dazzling, with many species of flowers hanging from the 40-50 cliffs bordering the small creek we will be following. 

After exploring Lewis Gorge, we will enjoy our picnic lunch at Paint Creek Reservoir, and then return to the Appalachian Forest Museum to enjoy a classic experience at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary on the Etawah Woods Trail. This FIRST of all the Sanctuary’s hiking trails has many trailside flower species to admire, and also offers superlative vistas of the Rocky Fork Creek, both from the bluffs and creekside. The famed sight of the “Three Sisters,” three large slump blocks in the creek, can be viewed from this trail.