"Great Falls National Park is a natural haven for thousands of Washingtonians seeking solitude from the daily grind of gridlock and government. Trails about throughout this park on the river offering cyclists, hikers, and equestrians alike terrain as rugged on land as it is in the water. Some portions of the park's trails are wide, dirt carriage roads dating back through history and meandering through the scenery, while others are steep, rocky, and narrow, keeping even agile cyclists on the tips of their seat. Come one and all to this park of presidents, dignitaries, and commoners and enjoy what folks throughout time have been enjoying along the rapids of the Potomac." Read more
"Great Falls National Park is a natural haven for thousands of Washingtonians seeking solitude from the daily grind of gridlock and government. Trails abound throughout this park on the river, offering cyclists, hikers, and equestrians alike rugged terrain. Some portions of the park’s trails are wide, dirt carriage roads dating back through history and meandering through the scenery, while others are steep, rocky, and narrow, keeping even agile cyclists on the tips of their seats. Come one and all to this park of presidents, dignitaries, and commoners and enjoy what folks throughout time have been enjoying along the rapids of the Potomac." Read more
"Have you ever seen the Great Falls of the Potomac? The crashing whitewater wonder is truly a natural highlight of the Old Dominion. The area’s history is nearly as impressive. George Washington himself commissioned a system of canals and locks to allow barge traffic to navigate around this extensive whitewater froth that crashes through Mather Gorge. On your hike visit the falls, locks, canals, and even the ghost town of Matildaville, built for the men tending the lock and canal system and their families." Read more
"Land and history are interwoven throughout Great Falls Park—the spot where George Washington championed a canal to skirt the Potomac River’s 77-foot “great falls.” This may be metropolitan DC, but beyond the crowds, you can find small reminders of a time when our nation’s capital was a tidal backwater and our country’s survival wasn’t assured.
Overlooks 2 and 3 are fully accessible, as is the Patowmack Canal Trail to the Holding Basin and the guard gate. During weekends and holidays in good weather, there can be long wait times to enter this popular park. Consider coming early or late." Read more
"This magnificent Potomac River setting in Fairfax County guarantees great falls, great vistas, and a great time. Hikers enjoy a wide array of trails, from extremely challenging to easy and relaxing.
This hike is a figure eight that starts at the falls and travels along the gorge, onto the floodplain, by the historic canal, and close to an aqueduct dam. You’re treated to an assortment of scenery, impressive vistas, and about 2,000 feet of elevation change. No bikes are allowed on this trail. The park’s fee is $10 per car or $5 per person." Read more
"For generations, Great Falls was simply an obstacle to the flow of goods from western farms to eastern seaports. To walk along cliffs that line the river and delve into the Piedmont forest and study the ruins of the Patowmack Canal-predecessor to both the C&O Canal and New York's Erie Canal-is to capture a bit of the essence of a place both naturally and historically significant." Read more
"Just north of Washington, D.C., the Great Falls cascade over rocks in the Potomac River. This hike, on the Virginia side, winds along the cliffs over the river and then past remnants of the Patowmack Canal.
Stop first at the visitor center, which has information on the falls, hiking trail maps, and a short video on the history of the town and canal that were once here. Great Falls is created where the Potomac River meets a series of rocks and Mather Gorge, named for the first director of the National Park Service. This spectacular sight is popular year-round. The three overlooks just off the picnic area are easy to get to—the third one offers the best views and is the most accessible." Read more
"At Great Falls the Potomac River, a big, powerful river that carries a lot of water, has the steepest drop through the "Fall Line" of any eastern river." Read more