River, Ridge, CCT and Swamp Trail

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Great Falls Park

Great Falls Loop: River, Ridge, CCT, and Swamp Trails is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Great Falls, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 383 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

fee

NOTE: As of April 2020, parking lot to the trailhead is closed due to COVID-19 concerns. Please check the park website for more information. Note: Users have reported that there are several closures in this area. For updates: https://www.nps.gov/grfa/planyourvisit/hiking.htm $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.

hiking
closed
9 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

Parking was chaotic but other than that it was a very good trail!!

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Loved this trail. So easy to get to from DC, though there is considerably less traffic right now. Great water views for majority of the hike. Some deer crossed the trail right in front of us too! The river trail was closed, though quite a few people were still hiking it (ourselves included), and as others have said, parking is very tough along the Georgetown Pike. Definitely look for no parking signs as we too saw tickets being given out. I would recommend a non-weekend day for this one if possible.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! But he warned- because the parking lot and park entrance is closed, you have to park along Georgetown pike and it’s NOT easy with little room and pretty dangerous. When we were leaving we saw a police officer giving tickets to the other cars parked

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Started on ridge trail, then Wolfpack south, it curves back north and then I took river trail (closed in one area so went around), used swamp trail to head back south. Overall was about 5.5 miles. Well kept trails and worthwhile.

hiking
1 month ago

What a great hike! The parking area is closed because of COVID-19 but if you go a little past where you would normally turn in you can park on the right hand side and walk in. There’s a trail head really close on the right hand side that swings around to a couple options. Awesome hike!

Amazing trail! Actually took us just less than 6mi because we checked out the lookouts in the beginning. Pretty busy until we got half a mile in. But otherwise people maintained their social distancing. The welcome center was also closed due to COVID-19 as well as the bathrooms, so bring an empty bladder and water!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing trail! Greats Falls is free right now because of Covid19, so that was a plus. A lot of people near the visitor center and main areas but once you get through a quarter of this hike, no one was there. Good mix of rocky and well kept. Took about 2.5 hours.

Lovely views of the river. Off-trail options and climbing areas close by.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun trail with some variation in terrain. At the start there is a rocky trail on the left that goes down to a little beach area. Some scrambling but was able to manage with my German Shepard. Definitely recommend veering off. Right before you get to wolf pack trail you’ll need to cross Georgetown pike from a parking lot. Get there early. Came around 9 and parking lot was empty. Completely full after 2 when i left.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Really nice trail. Definitely start early as the river trail gets crowded in the late morning. We started at the carriage road/swamp trail section around 9:30 and passed only a few people. When we hit the river trail a couple hours later, it was very busy with families and dogs. So be aware you’ll have to share the trail if you arrive later in the day. River trail is normally pretty empty before 10:30 or so. Would definitely do this loop again :)

hiking
4 months ago

good trail. started from visitor center and completed a loop. river trail 1 way. old carriage and swamp trail on the way back.

hiking
4 months ago

Great Falls, swamp to ridge to River. Crowded, unseasonally warms and humid...crowded! week 241

hiking
fee
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

Dog friendly trail with great views. Muddy in spots and rocky. Doable while toddler wearing.

hiking
6 months ago

Gps fail, 4.5 miles, nice crisp weather, low crowds for great falls

walking
fee
rocky
6 months ago

Went last Saturday--lots of people there. However, the walk was pleasant overall. There is some rock climbing, but easy enough for a beginner like me to get through. Beautiful colors and scenery. Worth getting the annual pass for $30, since a one time visit is $15.

hiking
6 months ago

Lovely trail and good for new hikers.

hiking
bugs
fee
off trail
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

our family just returned from doing the Great Falls Park trails both on the VA side and the MD side. the Potomac river is amazing and beautiful! we thought the MD side was better and we did that Billy goat trail the second day. we saw turtles, a baby snake, birds, spiders and a frog. It was a great time outdoors. the rock scramble on the Billy goat trail was awesome! we often went off trail and climbed down to be close to the river. the boys (ages 11 and 9) found 15 golf bags washed up along the bank. even our 7 year old daughter was able to do the hike. we definitely want to go back!

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