Big Meadows Lodge
- Description: Built in 1939, the Big Meadows Lodge is a charming, rustic accommodation nestled in the central region of Shenandoah National Park. It is about 1.5 hours from the Swift Run Gap Entrance Station. Paved pathways connect various buildings in the area; the majority a have a slope less than 8 degrees, but there are a few slopes that exceed the 8 degrees. Most pathways are 3 feet wide or wider but there a few places that are 32 inches or less.
- Parking: The drop-off area directly in front of the lodge as no access modifications or ramp. The closest parking spots with access are located up a small hill to the left of the main entrance; which are the best proximity to two of the accessible rooms.
- Doors: Not automatic.
Check-in Desk: Upon arrival you will find a lowered section just to the right of the hotel check-in desk (with a display vase).
- Bathrooms: Around the corner from the hotel check-in desk is a unisex bathroom with access. One the ground floor where the bar is located is an even bigger restroom with access.
- Food and Drinks: In addition to accommodations, Big Meadows Lodge also has a grand restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with elegant carved wood high ceilings. The bar is on the ground floor and can be accessed via elevator. No modifications are made at the actual bar but there are many tables with access; bar food is also served here.
- Amenities: A gift shop is just to the left of the dining hall (separate door). The Television Room has one large flat screen and a seating area; TVs are also located in the bar. In the lobby is a seating area with a large stone fireplace and several rocking chairs that gaze out to the valley. Outdoor patios are located on the lobby floor and ground level.
- Rooms: No rooms have phones. All rooms with access have a roll-in shower (no bathtub setup). #11 at the lodge itself has 1 double bed. Both room #80 and #81 are located in the Doubletop Building (left of the main lodge) with 2 queen beds. #95 and #96 in the Rapidan Building (next to the Doubletop Building) have a roll-in shower with 1 king bed.
Doubletop Room #81
- Patio: Right outside the door is a small bistro table and two chairs. Extended walls separate the rooms for a little more privacy.
- Door: Opens with a brass key. The entrance has a small lip which can be a little bit of a barrier for some, especially when trying to close the door. The door’s security chain-lock has not be lowered and some may have difficulty reaching it.
- Closet: The closet is located in the dresser cabinet next to the television. The bar was not lowered for easier access.
- Beds: Access to either side of either double bed may be tight for larger wheelchairs. The space in between the beds are about 25 inches. On the bed closest to the door space is diminished by the HVAC system and the sink does the same thing for the other bed.
- Bathroom: To best maximize space, the roll-up sink is situated in the bedroom with a mirror. The bathroom itself is just on the other side of the wall. The toilet with grab-bars is seen first when entering the bathroom with the roll-in shower to the left. The shower has a handheld nozzle and paddle, mounted bench. Cleanser are in individual dispensers. The shower has a rubber lip to prevent flooding the floors. The towel rack is about 2 feet away from the shower bench; a number of people will be able to reach this. Also in general, the bathroom was noticeably cooler than the rest of the room perhaps due to poor window insulation.
- Amenities: A television is located in the dresser cabinet. The rod to adjust the window blinds is not extended and many will have a hard time reaching it. Right below this window is the HVAC system on the ground. Next to the cabinet dress, right outside the bathroom door is a desk, coffee/tea machine and power outlets. Light switches operate with a turn dial.
- Description: The Skyland Resort is about a 10-15 minute drive north from Big Meadows Lodge. It was created in the late 1880s before Shenandoah became a national park as a retreat for the wealthy, but since then the resort has seen a few renovations that includes more accessibility. Pathways are well paved. (See Skyland Resort Map.)
- Parking: About a dozen parking spots with access are located in the Skyland Resort area; primarily in front of buildings. 2 spots at Pinnacles (closest to dining hall), 1 at Stoneyman, 1 at Whiteoak, 6 at Laurel, and 2 at the Conference Hall.
- Doors: None are automatic.
- Bathrooms: A few unisex bathrooms have access in the main lobby.
Food and Drinks: Inside the main building is a grab-and-go food and coffee service stand as well as a sit-down restaurant. The restaurant seating area is down a couple of starts but there is a wheelchair lift to the left of the host stand.
- Amenities: Gift shop in the main building where dining hall is located. Drinking fountains are available but with no access modifications.
- Rooms: Access modifications have been made to about a dozen rooms. Laurel Rooms #109 and #110 are the only two with a bathtub setup and 2 queen beds. Rooms with 1 king bed and a roll-in shower are #13 and #14 at Pinnacles, #43, #44, #47 and #48 at Bushytop, and #115, #116, #119 and #120 at Birmingham.
Pinnacles Room #13
- Patio: A narrow patio is located just outside the room door overlooking the valley with two chairs a small table.
- Door: Opens with a brass key. No lowered peep hole, but there is a window on the door with shutters.
- Bathroom: Hairdryer on a lowered hook. Semi-roll-up sink had a lowered hand towel within reach. Next to the sink are mounted soap and lotion is dispenser and above these is a small shelf. Roll-in shower has a mounted padded bench with a hand-held shower nozzle. Soap and shampoo dispensers are mounted on the wall on the other side of the temperature controls.
- Amenities: Long mirror on the bathroom door, small table inside by window, and the controls for the HVAC system have been lowered for easier access. A power outlet is conveniently placed at the base of both bedside lamps.
The 4 campgrounds at Shenandoah National Park are found at Mathews Arm, Big Meadows, Lewis Mountain and Loft Mountain. The only campground that has a roll-in shower is at Big Meadows (constructed in 2015). All 4 campgrounds can accommodate recreational vehicles; no pull-thru sites at Lewis Mountain.
The park’s campgrounds expert, ranger Hazel Mehne, estimates a little more than a dozen sites at the four campgrounds are flat with raised fire-pits, extended picnic tables and access to facilities. Roll-in showers are available at Big Meadows Lodge, Skyline Resort and the Big Meadows Campground. Furthermore, only a couple of sites at Big Meadows Campground have power outlets, like site #229, which means sharing is expected. Site #53 is tent-only and special because it is more secluded than others yet still has access. It requires a 25-yard trek from the parking space to the site itself but it’s worth it. I’d pick this spot every time.