Explore the most popular forest trails near Potomac with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

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).

7 days ago

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

It’s a great trail but I won’t categorize it as easy. There is a 50 feet cliff on this trail so be prepared for that. A lot of basis level bouldering involved

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

14 days ago

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

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!

27 days ago

Absolutely fantastic especially if you go after a big rain to see Mother Nature at her best

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.

1 month 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.

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!!

Ended up just doing this section of the trail since a was closed due to flooding. It was wonderful, the kids had a blast, just wish I would have brought the dog. We left her at home since she isn't allowed on the A trail. My 5 year old and 12 year old loved the rock scrambles so much and the views were amazing. We will be back for sure to do the whole thing!

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

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.

1 month 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

The A section is my favorite hike, bar none

We took our 3 boys ages 10-14 and our dog for a Spring Break hike on section B and had a blast! Just enough rock climbing fun but not too hard for the kids, a mellow stream crossing, and great views of the river. Saw several birds including a blue heron and a woodpecker. It took less than 2 hours.

1 month 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.

2 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.

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

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!

2 months ago

Went here for a hike with my husband and even though part of the trail was closed due to flooding it was a nice hike.

Juno the Golden Retriever loved the trail. Nice ups and downs, nothing too strenuous and for kids (and kids at heart) there is a Gold Mine to see from the outside. if you are hiking with little folk, turn left at the loop, the gold mine is closer that way.

we did the whole loop. Beautiful Forrest and ridges.

Some nice views of the Potomac. Watched a few kayakers doing their thing. Section A was unfortunately closed due to flooding, so section B was the backup hike. Only bumped into 2 other people on the trail. Saw a good number of deer on the towpath back to Anglers.

2 months ago

nice hike lots of rock not that difficult about a hour and a half hike

2 months ago

Always a great spot. Never a let down.

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

3 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!

Took some friends and my four kids on this hike in January on a warmer day. Such a great hike and not terribly difficult for the kids. Lots of people! My 8, 7, and 5 year olds loved going ahead with the friends and climbing over the multiple rocky areas while they waited on Mommy and 2 1/2 year old brother to catch up. We did the rocky part of the trail first since we had more energy, which was a great decision because it flattened out at the end and was good for the kids to just run. A little muddy at some points in mid January but the kids loved that. The little boy loved “climbing” over all the rocks along the trail.

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