Charles Lewis Natural Area
TRAIL DISTANCE - 5 miles
TYPE - Day Hike
We had hiked this trail several years ago
on a cold rainy foggy April day, and decided to re-visit the Charles
Lewis Natural Area in the fall. It was a cool and very windy day,
maybe even the windiest day we had ever hiked in. This is a fairly short,
5 mile day hike, but there are several very strenuous climbs and rocky
areas with tricky footing, especially with the freshly fallen dry leaves
and acorns covering the trails.
The trail was hard to follow at times with the many leaves on the trail and the lack of blazes. I'm not sure if there is some intermittent reblazing going on but there was some fresh yellow blazes at times, but mostly old blazes including yellow, orange, and black painted over other colors. We just had to slow down and pay extra attention to make sure we stayed on the trail. Although the fall colors were past their peak, the vistas were still enjoyable. Most of the vistas are power line clearings, but the last vista had a nice view looking down to the Conemaugh River.
There is a rocky section of the trail that passes and climbs several large rock cliffs, and the trail consists of "rock hopping" for a pretty good distance. Lots of fun, especially taking a break from the trail and just climbing around on the rocks! After the rocky area, the trail descends back to the trailhead parking lot, but the footing was a little tricky with loose gravel, drifted leaves and acorns making the trail extra dangerous on the steeper sections. We made it back without any major slips or falls, got back to the car and headed for home.
This was a fun hike!