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Best trails in Great Falls Park

1,731 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Great Falls Park, Virginia? AllTrails has 10 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 6 moderate trails in Great Falls Park ranging from 3.7 to 9.8 miles and from 147 to 311 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

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.

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Map of trails in Great Falls Park
Park information
Contact
(703) 285-2965
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Top trails (10)
#1 - River, Ridge, CCT and Swamp Trail
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(583)
Length: 4.6 mi • Est. 2 h 7 m
$15 entrance fee. This trail is a lot of fun. Lots of rock scrambles, optional side trails, and a ton of gorgeous views. Lots of people there with kids, baby carriers and dogs! As others have noted, the park gets very, very busy so you should go as early as you can.Show more
#2 - Difficult Run Trail
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(282)
Length: 9.8 mi • Est. 3 h 56 m
Variety is the word to describe this hike. Descend to Difficult Run and follow it as it winds to the Potomac River. Enjoy the cool water in summer or view the unusual ice formations in winter. After a short, steep climb to the ridge, follow the rim of Mather Gorge towards Great Falls - a channel believed to be 180 million years old. Pass by remains of Matildaville, named by Lighthourse Harry Lee in honor of his wife, and the Potowmack Canal, planned by George Washington and operated for 26 years before being bought out by the Chesapeake and Ohio Co. and abandoned. Follow the trail as it winds along to Great Falls Park, with overlooks of the falls, and then within a few minutes the Swamp Trail where wild flowers and wildlife abound.Show more
#3 - River Trail Mini Loop
Great Falls Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(199)
Length: 1.6 mi • Est. 40 m
There is a $10 entrance fee.Show more
#4 - River and Matildaville Trail
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(125)
Length: 3.7 mi • Est. 1 h 45 m
$20 entrance fee.Show more
#5 - River Trail Loop
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(84)
Length: 5 mi • Est. 2 h 24 m
Entrance fee requiredShow more
#6 - Matildaville Trail
Great Falls Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(136)
Length: 1.7 mi • Est. 45 m
#7 - Great Falls Park from Difficult Run
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(95)
Length: 4.1 mi • Est. 1 h 38 m
A beautiful walk-in route to Great Falls Park along Difficult Run provides great views all along the way. A great loop for hikers that are looking for a little more than a gentle walking path.Show more
#8 - Wolfpack, Ridge and Difficult Run Trail Loop
Great Falls Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(81)
Length: 2.3 mi • Est. 1 h 7 m
#9 - Great Falls Park to Riverbend Park Loop
Great Falls Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(56)
Length: 9.1 mi • Est. 4 h 6 m
Wonderfully scenic trail at Great Falls Park, Virginia. This figure-8 hike encompasses the narrow, rocky River Trail south from the Great Falls Visitor Center and loops around. The terrain is mostly flat with some rolling hills. The hike begins at the Great Falls Visitor's Center, travels south and around to the River trail to Riverbend Nature Center, and loops back to the Great Falls Visitors center. The hike from Riverbend Nature Center to the Great Falls Visitors Center is through the woods on marked and unmarked trails. So long as you keep the Potomac River to your left - and in the winter can see it periodically. You'll be fine. If you're concerned about this loop, just take the trail back along the river. Show more
#10 - Swamp Trail
Great Falls Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(84)
Length: 1.6 mi • Est. 41 m