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

Great out & back for all levels and is kid friendly. Gets very crowded, so get there early. Very scenic with the river along the entire length of the trail, with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the views.

Change in elevation might be low, but not as easy as I would have thought. Not bad, a good moderate trial with wonderful views. Just surprised how much garbage people leave throughout the park :(

Great short, moderate hike. The first half of the trail is very well maintained and there are plenty of signs to keep you on the trail. The second half is a bit more rugged and has a few steep climbs. Even though the parking lot for the area was full, the trail was still lightly trafficked. There are plenty of paths from the trail that lead down to the water. The views, the moderate hills, and having the trail to ourselves the majority of the time earns this trail four stars.

Nice walk along the river, a couple decent hills.

This was more strenuous than I thought considering it has only +500 elevation. But it has very nice views through the River trail.
First 2.5 miles (river and ridge trail) is great workout and the other half(old carriage trail) is good cool down.
Overall great experience.

While visiting DC we came out to this location for some nature and walking and absolutely loved it. Breathtaking views, nice overlooks onto the waterfalls. We wish we could have had more time here. A nice park it attached to the trails too.

I’m not sure how much of this trail I was actually on and how much I improvised, but the entire park is gorgeous. There was a trail run on the day I visited so it was very packed, but I was still able to go off the trail and find quiet places to relax.

Lovely trail! It’s fairly easy, with a couple rock scrambles and inclines to keep things interesting but easy stretches in between. Definitely doable for a beginner, there were all skill levels hiking when I was there. Gorgeous overlooks onto the river, and plenty of historial interest. Only drawback was that it was too populated for any of the wildlife to be out and about, but this trail is more about the scenery.

hiking
4 months ago

If you're willing to trade a 4 mi RT walk to skip the fee and lines into Great Falls Park, this is your trick. It's a pretty stroll along the Potomac and gives you access to fishing if that's your thing, but this trail is simply my conduit to GF if I'm meeting up with someone without a park pass or if I anticipate crowds at the park gate. Not really a destination trail, in my opinion.

hiking
8 months ago

pretty easy trail to follow.

My 5 year old son and I had a great time. We started on the Matildaville Trail. It helps to be handy with a map to find the beginning of the trail but once you're on it it's a pretty easy hike to start with. The ruins of the old town are definitely the highlight there. We looped back on the River Trail which was a tougher hike but manageable. My son especially loved the spots where you could climb over a couple rocks and get a good view of the river. Overall we hiked about 3.5 miles and we both had a great time. We'll definitely come back!

hiking
11 months ago

This was part of the entirety of the trail I did, which totaled just over 3 miles. Not my favorite trail, as not a lot to see, but did incorporate some gradual inclines to add a bit of challenge.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

I loved it. Great workout after climbing on some of the stones.

hiking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My go-to is the Great Falls Loop trail, but this is a good alternative if I'm short on time or with a new hiker. This still takes you along the River Trail (my favorite) with its Potomac views and rocky terrain, but returns via the peaceful canopied Matildaville Trail. If you're looking for a casual, but somewhat substantive hike while visiting the park, this is the one. It's my usual recommendation for first-timers. In general, just avoid the Old Carriage Road as it is just that: a gravel road.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nice easy hike. Saw a doe and its 2 fawns. The great falls overlook was amazing.

Amazing views! Excellent trails and the waterfall was a nice ending, just marvelously done!! GO!

hiking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Great place to go with FRIENDLY dogs - several parts for off-leash and can detour to the Potomac for them to swim. Very secluded, few hikers, mostly those with dogs. About a half mile from where u park to where u pick up the trail but it's a dirt road. Easy to follow to trail head and entire trail marked.

hiking
Thursday, May 04, 2017

A good evening workout with all the rock scramble. A quarter mile stretch is very steep where all the elevation is concentrated. Most of the trails in Great Falls gets crowded on a good weekend, go on a weekday evening to have a good time. It should take less than 2 hours to complete it at a decent pace.

Beautiful day. Busy as it was Easter Sunday. Nice trail. Wear appropriate shoes! Dogs enjoyed it as well.

Definitely easy and flat for the first part but has some moderate climbs in the second half. A great little trail with some nice views of a quieter part of the Potomac

hiking
Monday, February 27, 2017

Just starting out hiking again after a few years off.. This was a good trail to pick back up on. Not too hard yet still fun to complete. Ended up taking the Difficult Run Trail at the end and connecting back up with the Ridge Trail. I would recommend it!

Monday, February 20, 2017

great family hike

hiking
Friday, February 03, 2017

awesome and peaceful trials...loved the sound of the river

Sunday, November 27, 2016

awesome trials and scenery.

hiking
Saturday, October 15, 2016

Nice and easy ... some good harder parts ...

Very nice trail I did run into a snake in a tree when I was walking back to my car on the green trail Not sure what kind of snake it was

birding
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beautiful trails and lots of wildlife. I absolutely love going birding here, I always see lots of species. Kayaking was absolutely beautiful and serene.

hiking
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I've been here several times, most recently with my son's cub scout troop. The trail is rustic and narrow (single-file in many spots) but a big plus for the young boys was the wide road downhill from the parking area to the trailhead. They ran and ran, so by the time we were to the trailhead they had gotten their excess energy out and they were ready for a slower walk to look at plants and bugs! We did the shorter hike, down to the river and back.

Some sections of the longer train are closed off because of the many trees that have fallen down in recent storms, The Nature Conservancy owns the land and has developed an aoudio tour to help visitors better understand what they are seeing at this preserve (see http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/virginia/placesweprotect/fraser-audio-tour-1.xml ).

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