hiking

walking

views

birding

nature trips

forest

river

waterfall

trail running

wildlife

dogs on leash

kid friendly

wild flowers

At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nations Capital.

Fun 4.6 mile trail. The swamp and ridge part of trail has a lot of tree cover and stays cooler even during summer days. The river side of the trail is rugged and can get hot due to comparatively less tree cover.

Great trial and easy to add to others! Dogs ARE allowed here and there are a lot of them! People are stupid in letting them off leash because it’s gonna ruin it for the rest of us good dog people. This is also a fun trail run location.

Good trail but you can easily add more distance by adding additional trails. The swamp trail is nice because I rarely see anyone else on it. It is perfect for avoiding all the crowds of the towpaths.

Not difficult and not fun in my opinion. The trail can go one way into an urban greenway along the Jerry Connelly cross country trail while the other gets you into Great Falls. If you don’t mind a few miles you can get into Great Falls without much effort. Parking is TERRIBLE and it is dangerous getting in and out of the parking area.

Perfect hike for the day. A very busy route so close to Washington, DC.

This was more strenuous than I thought considering it has only +500 elevation. But it has very nice views through the River trail.
First 2.5 miles (river and ridge trail) is great workout and the other half(old carriage trail) is good cool down.
Overall great experience.

hiking
1 month ago

fantastic hike. well marked. lots of side trail options. the fam and I tromped around for about 5 hours. while there were other hikers on the way, most of the day hikers hike along over to the falls then along the C&O Canal towpath. I've never seen so many old oak trees in one area before. really had a great hike.

This is probably my favorite hike in Great Falls Park. A ton of diversity and enough mileage to make you feel like you accomplished something. It feels different with each season, so if you’re a local, try this trail year around. It also (for some reason) feels different clockwise vs. counterclockwise, so give that a go as well!

Really cool trail from the Maryland side when you do trail C/B And gets you to the other side of the VA overlooks. Great views and can sometimes be crowded if you don’t go early

hiking
1 month ago

Nice route with the exception of the very dangerous crossing over Georgetown Pike. Take a look at that bend in the road — cars speed down around the bend and sometimes can’t see hikers until the last minute, or at least one hopes they see the hikers.

Beautiful hike. One area where you are on the cliff is barely your foot’s width and is terrifying if you’re going against the flow of traffic for hiking. But overall the views are breathtaking.

Nice, short trail in the area. Close to river with fun rock scrambles throughout. Lots of wildlife in spring: saw snakes, frogs, turtles, and other awesome animals on trail.

Great little park to explore. 10 dollar entrance fee but you do get it for 3 days. The waterfalls are amazing. It’s a must see.

Wonderful forest walk. Very zen. Beautiful green forest carpet, not a lot of bushes. Terrain is on the easy side but it’s a totally enjoyable walk. Agree with another reviewer that it would be great for trail running. Easy to add additional loops for more distance (such as overlook trail).

This was such a pretty hike! it's not at all difficult. great place to take people.

Nice and easy local hike. The views of the waterfalls are pretty awesome.

Great trail. Some rocky areas, very easy hike.

Billy Goat A trail loop was closed due to flooding, so we walked to the Great Falls Overlook on Olmstead Island, then followed the canal to the bridge across the canal (just past the Billy Goat trail entrance). After crossing over we picked up the Overlook Trail heading back towards the parking lot and eventually ended up canalside. While the views on the Overlook Trail are not as impressive as being right next to the falls, the trails were dry and it wasn’t crowded. It was a nice walk, with a few decent views looking down at the river if you take the two down-and-back spurs off the main trail. Combine all this with sunshine and 70s and you have the ingredients to a perfect hike!

2 months ago

Absolutely fantastic especially if you go after a big rain to see Mother Nature at her best

Lovely trail! It’s fairly easy, with a couple rock scrambles and inclines to keep things interesting but easy stretches in between. Definitely doable for a beginner, there were all skill levels hiking when I was there. Gorgeous overlooks onto the river, and plenty of historial interest. Only drawback was that it was too populated for any of the wildlife to be out and about, but this trail is more about the scenery.

Great trip with the dog a little hairy in some spots so be careful.

hiking
3 months ago

Due to work and timing, I was only able to make it from Colvin Mill to The Potomac, but it was a great first hike.
The trail head is easy to find if you follow the directions provided to you when you open them in google maps.

Ended up just doing this section of the trail since a was closed due to flooding. It was wonderful, the kids had a blast, just wish I would have brought the dog. We left her at home since she isn't allowed on the A trail. My 5 year old and 12 year old loved the rock scrambles so much and the views were amazing. We will be back for sure to do the whole thing!

hiking
3 months ago

Several areas were blocked (I’m assuming because of recent storms) but this trail was fun for my girls! Not a trail for younger kids or strollers....some areas are quite close to rock cliffs. The trails were a little difficult to navigate in some areas but blue paint on the trees helped us to stay on track. The app was also a great guide tool.

We took our 3 boys ages 10-14 and our dog for a Spring Break hike on section B and had a blast! Just enough rock climbing fun but not too hard for the kids, a mellow stream crossing, and great views of the river. Saw several birds including a blue heron and a woodpecker. It took less than 2 hours.

hiking
3 months ago

Enjoyable on a nice day, but really not that difficult. On a sunny day, it is some nice afternoon exercise. Photos are better in the afternoon with the sun at your back.

hiking
4 months ago

The trail head is actually really easy to find, and you park in a gravel lot right next to the trailhead. Don't go through the housing development...walk towards the trailhead. It is the CCT (Gerry Connolly Cross Country Trail) that starts from the parking lot.
This trail has a diverse set of terrain to cover and a good mix of flat and climbs. 2 river crossings (big boulders and pillons to walk on while crossing). Gets pretty busy near the Great Falls Area--pretty empty on the stick part of the lollipop loop.

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