Billy Goat Trail and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail Loop

MODERATE 743 reviews

Billy Goat Trail and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail Loop is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Potomac, Maryland that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 278 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Note: As of April 2019, Towpath is closed due to construction, please use the marked towpath detour at Great Falls upstream of Lock 20 One of the best hikes in the Washington DC area and a short drive from Virginia and Maryland, the Billy Goat Trail consists of three main trails - A, B and C - in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. The trail, marked by blue blazes, features fun rock-scrambles and spectacular views between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. All three sections can be accessed off the canal towpath between Great Falls Tavern and Carderock. The Billy Goat Trail is accessible year-round and protected by the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy. The park was established in 1961 as a National Monument by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to preserve the neglected remains of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and many of its original structures. $15 vehicle permit or $10 individual permit (foot, bike, equestrian). The Great Falls Tavern visitor center (Wednesday through Sunday) has more information about hiking trails and the history of the area. Dogs are NOT allowed on the trail.

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Great hike! I completed sections A, B, and C today.

hiking
scramble
12 days ago

Best outdoor fun I’ve had since moving east. Great views of river and falls. Trail has a little rock scramble and climb (easy). Just bring some water and you’re good to go.

hiking
blowdown
off trail
17 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
19 days ago

Great hike, section A was pretty difficult for my experience level but it was fun. Beautiful scenery, not too many people. Missed out on section B due to reports of multiple snakes in the area. I would definitely like to complete sections B&C of the trail.

hiking
rocky
scramble
20 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

Great challenging hike! Would definitely do it again!

hiking
26 days ago

I do not recommend if you’re looking to get away. Arrive early but you’ll still have to navigate around kids and people who are clearly not out there to hike. The trail has a lot of access points so regardless how far you go you’re still crowded by non-hikers. This is more of playing around on rocks and some pretty views.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Really fun hike, had been wanting to hike section A for months, but it had been closed due to weather. Gorgeous views, challenging scramble. This trail is pretty well trafficked, but not so crowded that you can't enjoy. There was a spectacular lagoon-like area about mid-way through A. Very enjoyable.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Did about three miles from the Carderock park trailhead. Nice and flat trail. Stayed next to the river for the while time. Some big trees are down in the trail and there are a few stream crossings that are a bit trecherous. Bring a dog you can carry over the crossings, or prepare yourself for a dangerous cross for the dog with a steep and rocky drop below. Overall its a nice way to experience the potomac without the crowds of Great Falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy to drive from DC. Def come early to avoid crowds. We got there at about 7:45. Think it was a good call to start first w section A. It took us a little over an hour but it wasn’t terribly crowded. Well maintained. Easy to follow. If your nervous about section A just take easy and go at your own pace, it’s not that difficult.

hiking
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

One of the best trails I have been in recent times. Rocky with no trail roads and you feel like you are actually a survivalist. It has rock climbing, jumping, narrow water crossing, with a beautiful site of river flow on one side and entire first on the other side. Would not recommend if there is even a slight rain.

2 months ago

Excellent hiking, with fun rock outcrops. billy goat A was closed due to flooding, but we just hiked an extra few miles on the canal trail instead. Did about 14miles here.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

I love this trail.. the scenery is great while getting an amazing work out..

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

loop a of the Billy goat trail is a very welcome challenge with lots of nice views

hiking
2 months ago

Crowds.

walking
2 months ago

I didn't know there are no dogs allowed on the best trails at Great Falls (on this side anyway). Looked nice - but I didn't get to walk it. Busy, well worn trail with lottts of people on weekends getting from the parking lot to the various trailheads. Once we were about a mile+ away, the crowds thinned out and it was pleasant, but too crowded + no dogs = I won't be back to this one. Walking back from the falls overlook was better - we crossed over the creek/river using the covered bridge to the upper, dirt path trail to get back to the parking lots.

hiking
3 months ago

Loop B was really nice and the few Rock scrambles were fun! Loop A was closed due to flooding so walking along the tow path for 2 miles made for s nice hike.

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

Good trail loved the difference vantage points will definitely hike this trail again!

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