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River Trail

Intermediate
 4.4 (20)

A rocky trail that traverses the bluff along the Virginia side of the Potomac in GFNP.


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Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.1

KM

96%

Runnable

259' 79 m

High

116' 35 m

Low

41' 13 m

Up

157' 48 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Runner Notes

This trail includes a lot of rock scrambling, which can make for added fun or frustration, depending on your running style.

Description

From the southern junction with Ridge Trail, this trail descends very steeply before following the Potomac River for approximately 1.5 miles, along the tops of the cliffs. In some areas, this trail runs right next to the edge of the cliff, offering spectacular views of the Potomac and Mather Gorge. Cliff heights range from 25-75 feet.

Some rock scrambling is required, especially in the section between the Canal Cut and Cow Hoof Rock. This trail can be hazardous in wet weather. Lichen, sand, and grit on the rocky areas and cliff edges make footing treacherous. Use care in these areas. Sections of this trail near the vernal ponds will flood after a heavy rain and can become icy in the winter.

Flora & Fauna

Vultures and great blue herons are common sights.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 20 votes

#339

Overall
  4.4 from 20 votes
5 Star
45%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#6

in Virginia

#339

Overall
38 Views Last Month
9,209 Since Dec 28, 2014
Intermediate

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88%
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12%
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Photos

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
A stormy morning.
Jun 1, 2016 near Great F…, VA

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Check-Ins

Aug 10, 2018
Nick Umble
Jun 12, 2018
Carl L
Tough rocky terrain. 2miles out 2 miles back on River Trail from Visitors Center 4mi