United States

Lewis Mountain Campground

Located within Shenandoah National Park, approximately six miles south of Big Meadow, this 37-acre site (the smallest campground in the park), is set on a plateau at approximately 3,400 feet and includes a campground, picnic area, and former lodge. Nestled between Skyline Drive to the west and the Appalachian Trail to the east, the site opened in 1939 as a segregated area for African Americans to safely experience the outdoors.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed the site between 1938 and 1942, grading the campground and picnic area and constructing a curvilinear access road, pathways, retaining walls, and comfort stations. Workers integrated built features into the landscape, including boulder fountains (rocks outfitted with pipes and spigots), and established a naturalistic boulder field at the picnic area, framed by a looped drive. The CCC cleared and established vegetation, planting native species including pine, oak, mountain laurel, witch hazel, and red elderberry. The densely canopied grounds, dominated by a second growth oak-hickory forest, provide visitors shade and isolation.

From 1938 to 1940 the concessionaire, Virginia Sky-Line Company, constructed a modest lodge and four cabins, designed by architect Marcellus Wright, Jr., between the picnic area and campground. The lodge, converted to a camp store in 1950, is fronted by an irregular row of hemlocks established by the CCC.

While the site was officially desegregated in 1947, it was listed in the Green Book from 1946 to 1966. Since 2003 Lewis Mountain has been a contributing feature of the Skyline Drive Historic District.

Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes