Billy Goat Trail Loop

MODERATE 798 reviews

Billy Goat 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

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

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. There is a $10 entrance fee to access the trails and parking area. 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
4 days ago

Got there at 7 this morning, only folks there. Great hike, love the rock scrambling. Couldn’t believe how much added debri there is from the flooding...
Saw a ton of deer, a beaver, turtles, salamanders and other fun stuff along the way.... always a good time.

5 days ago

Decent scrambling but very crowded.

27 days ago

Section A can be challenging since it’s mostly scrambling. I recommend starting at the end near the Visitor Center which will lead you to hiking UP the traverse rather than down.

27 days ago

very fun, slightly challenging. rock jumping and climbing and some slippery smooth rocks.

trail running
1 month ago

I've "run" this (part A) several times--the word "run" in quote marks because there are stretches of scrambling over rocks that you can't run. But then it's all good exercise, and great views.

hiking
1 month ago

What this AllTrails description does not note is that section A of Billy Goat Trail is listed as Difficult (sign says one of the most difficult on East Coast), and that there is a 40 foot free climb required to complete the trail. Section B was listed as Moderate, with little rock scrambling and enjoyable.

hiking
1 month ago

Always a nice hike when I don’t want to drive too far from dc on a weekend. Get there early.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, some spots to free climb on and off the trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Rocky and challenging but definitely do-able with parents if careful enough!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice, challenging trail with steep rocky parts that makes for a great workout. Also some nice hidden fishing spots that are quiet and usually free of other anglers. Make sure you have plenty of water and have good hiking or running shoes with good traction.

hiking
2 months ago

The best nearby trail for quick workout and taking in views of the Potomac River. Billy Goat Trail A is only 1.7 miles but its designated at moderate level due to rock scrambles. For extra workout, try going back in trail rather than taking the tow path back. Hiking shoes are highly recommended due to rocks and roots. I run this trail almost every weekend and have seen several people injured here. As others mention, free parking across Old Angler's Inn gets filled up real quick so probably getting there before 9 is your best bet.

2 months ago

Very fun trail! The billy goat trails are on the Maryland side. Get there early - we started at 7:30 and by ten it was crowded with little parking. We parked across from Old Anglers Inn and finished up less than half a mile from the Great Falls Tavern visitor center. The most strenuous parts are between markers one and two, but are fine for any adult in good health. Afterwards we went to the great falls overlook and got free bikes from the great falls tavern. Awesome hike!!

2 months ago

A fun trail that can be both moderate and easy depending on the route you take. Nice little get away right outside of DC.

hiking
2 months ago

Very fun trail super close to DC. Lots of rock scrambling and great views of the river. If you add section C to this loop, you're looking at a total of 10.66 miles from the visitors center parking lot (assuming you do sections a through c and then return to the lot via the tow path).

No dogs allowed on section A, but sections B and C are ok for dogs.

Get there EARLY because this place gets unbearably crowded during the day.

hiking
2 months ago

Such a great hike!!!!!!! Will definitely not be the last time I hike this one. Wouldn’t recommend kids or dogs on section A

2 months ago

The A section is my favorite hike, bar none

hiking
2 months ago

An easy hike that can get crowded but the close proximity to DC makes it a fun hike. There is a slight scramble at one point but ultimately this is a quick and easy hike. Decent birds to see in the C&O Canal. Better early in the day for photos as the views of the river are to your west and sun is to your back in the morning.

3 months ago

Started from the Carderock Recreation Area, combined Billy Goat Trail A, B, and C with the Overlook Trail, made a nice 10 mike hike. Carderock has a lot more parking spaces than Anglers.

3 months ago

just beautiful...watch your ankles...but.just beautiful

3 months ago

Went on a gorgeous early March day. Saw tons of birds and the river/canal/falls were all beautiful. Unfortunately section A was closed due to flooding, and sections B and C were fun but pretty easy. All in all a nice day!

4 months ago

It's a great trail with beautiful views. It is important to know to go to the Billy goat trail you must enter from the Maryland side of the park and not Virginia side

hiking
4 months ago

A great hike and friendly people to meet along the way. Did run into a few snakes, but nothing to worry about if you are aware of your surroundings!

hiking
4 months ago

Difficult for sure, but well worth it. Just be expecting to be sore for the next few days afterward if you aren’t in great shape.

hiking
4 months ago

The hike was vary fun and challenging, but not too hard when it came to the ups and downs.

5 months ago

Great trail. Loved scrambling on the rocks. Nice river views - especially beautiful with remnants of snow and ice.

hiking
5 months ago

we spent 3hours doing Section A plus one of the spurs and it was very beautiful. Heavy traffic buy everyone was respectful of one another.

hiking
5 months ago

One of the best hikes in the DMV area for sure.

hiking
5 months ago

Not overly challenging couple mile loop, only difficult part is the trail is mostly on rocks that can be somewhat difficult to navigate, beautiful views of the river. Super crowded trail so if you want a hike to get away this isn’t for you.

5 months ago

section A offers some challenge and sections B&C are good for fun easy hikes.

hiking
5 months ago

So much biodiversity on this trail, and a bit of a challenge! The rock scramble is kind of intimidating and once you get to the high area with big rocks at the top of the trail, it can get tricky. I wouldn’t recommend this trail for dogs or children. Amazing views, so many opportunities to sit and take it all in with a lunch break. A short day hike, and worth the work! I would strongly recommend against doing this trail in slippery conditions.

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