Explore the most popular river trails in Great Falls Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

$10 entrance fee but you can walk right up to the overlooks from the parking lot. It was a bit too crowded for my liking but beautiful views. The trail was pretty easy. Really cool experience if you have never been here before!

Nice dog friendly trails

hiking
13 days ago

Not bad for my first hike in Virginia. The trail is easy to find. Locals jog in the morning or take the dogs to play into the water. If you like going into the “woods” for a while and forget about the city without going too far away, this is a good one. Simple, easy to walk it. If you follow the Google maps line, you can easily find the entrance to the trail and follow it.

Great views maintain trails marked areas a lot of historical points

Great place

loved the serenity at 7 AM and the views from the river trail. explored all trails a little. by 9AM it gets very busy and yet it's still peaceful. The 10 dollar entrance fee is a bit high but i am glad i visited.

I loved this loop, there was the perfect mix of rock scrambles and easy trail hikes that I never got tired. Beautiful things to see and for going on a Sunday afternoon it really wasn't too crowded. Great hike!

it is more of a walk. when sunny, it is very crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this trail while rehabbing my knee after injuring it on a trampoline and I did well with two hiking sticks to aid me. The views were pretty awesome and I saw a blue heroin fly upstream when he was spooked by the fire and rescue boats that were doing rescue drills. There were only a few rock scrambles along the way which weren't that difficult to navigate. I started early, beating the steady flow of tourists that came later, even on a Monday.... loved having the trail and lookouts mostly to myself. I did meet a few nice people along the way. The history of the falls and the canals was pretty interesting.

Change in elevation might be low, but not as easy as I would have thought. Not bad, a good moderate trial with wonderful views. Just surprised how much garbage people leave throughout the park :(

Love the rock scrambles. Easy enough for novice hikers that are relatively active, as well as our small dog. Started on the river trail which had the most of the scrambles, then to the ridge trail, then swamp. I think we were on the Difficult Run Trail as well at some point.

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.

2 months ago

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
3 months 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
3 months 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!

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