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Great Falls Park

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11 mi 18 km of trail 2 Recommended Routes

Gems 1 Gem Easy Trails 7 Trails Intermediate Trails 6 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Located only 15 miles from the nation's capital, Great Falls Park is a beautiful 800-acre park with many opportunities to explore nature and history. Explore the narrow Mather Gorge where the Potomac River builds up speed and falls over a series of steep and jagged rocks. The scenic falls feature several 20-foot waterfalls and cascading rapids, with a total 76-foot drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Nearly a half million people come to Great Falls Park each year to explore one of the nation's first canals, see the Great Falls of the Potomac, or enjoy an outing along Mather Gorge's dramatic clifftops.

To learn more about Great Falls Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Center:
The visitor center is open daily. Open 10 am to 4 pm during daylight savings time, and 10 am to 5 pm the rest of the year.

Visiting Tips

Great Falls Park is open year round from 7 am to 30 minutes after sunset. The park is closed December 25.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Great Falls Park is a day use only park with no camping permitted. There are many options for camping in the area. Visit the park's website for recommendations on nearby camping.

Food & Drink

A snack bar is located in the visitor center courtyard. The snack bar is open seasonally from March through November and offers light snacks, hot dogs, pizza, french fries, and drinks. The snack bar is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Bottled water is sold in the park's bookstore during visitor center hours on Monday and Tuesday only. There are no vending machines in the park. There are a variety of restaurants and dining options in the nearby towns, the closest of which are McLean and Great Falls.

Other Activities

The park offers many recreational opportunities, from a picnic with family and friends, to a run, ride, or hike along the Potomac River. Enjoy bird watching or fishing along the river, or if you are feeling adventurous, head out onto the Potomac for some whitewater kayaking or canoeing. Note that the Potomac River has many challenging currents, standing waves, and hydraulics. Swimming, wading, and tubing are not allowed.

Additionally, Great Falls Park has some of the best rock climbing in the immediate vicinity of Washington, D.C. Visit Great Falls Park's website for more information on the park's other activities.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here
gem Favorite Great Falls is truly a magnificent place to hike or run.

Great Falls Overlook

(39) Great F…, VA

Recommended Routes in Great Falls Park - 2

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Favorite Great Falls is truly a magnificent place to hike or run.
Intermediate

Great Falls Park - South Loop

3.3 mi 5.3 km 201' Up 61.16 m Up 203' Down 61.8 m Down

Great F…, VA
Favorite Great Falls panorama
Easy/Intermediate

Short Overlook Loop

1.4 mi 2.2 km 26' Up 7.98 m Up 26' Down 7.78 m Down

Great F…, VA

Trails in Great Falls Park - 11

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1.3 mi 2.1 km #1River Trail
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA 17 
0.7 mi 1.1 km #2Difficult Run Trail
Intermediate
Tysons Corner, VA
Intermediate
Tysons Corner, VA
0.6 mi 1.0 km #3North River Trail
Easy
Great Falls, VA
Easy
Great Falls, VA
0.5 mi 0.7 km #4Swamp Trail
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
1.5 mi 2.5 km #5Old Carriage Road
Easy
Great Falls, VA
Easy
Great Falls, VA
1.1 mi 1.8 km #6Matildaville Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Easy/Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
1.3 mi 2.1 km #7Patowmack Canal Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Easy/Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
1.4 mi 2.3 km #8Ridge Trail
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
1.6 mi 2.5 km #9Bootlegger Trail
Easy
Great Falls, VA
Easy
Great Falls, VA
0.5 mi 0.9 km #10Mine Run Trail
Easy
Great Falls, VA
Easy
Great Falls, VA
0.5 mi 0.9 km #11Old Carriage Road
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA
Intermediate
Great Falls, VA

Photos of Great Falls Park - 11

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

Great Falls is truly a magnificent place to hike or run.
Dec 28, 2014 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls panorama
Dec 28, 2014 near Great F…, VA
Beautiful views of the Potomac can be had from River Trail.
Dec 28, 2014 near Great F…, VA
The rocky, cliff-top nature of River Trail.
Dec 28, 2014 near Great F…, VA
Looking at Great Falls from the edge of the overlook.
Feb 3, 2016 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls.
Feb 3, 2016 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls Park Visitor Center
Dec 28, 2014 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls Overlook is a worthy destination in itself.
Mar 23, 2017 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls Overlook offers an interesting look into the river's carved path through the rock.
Mar 23, 2017 near Great F…, VA
Great Falls
Mar 6, 2018 near Great F…, VA
A stormy morning.
Jun 1, 2016 near Great F…, VA