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

$10 entrance fee but you can walk right up to the overlooks from the parking lot. It was a bit too crowded for my liking but beautiful views. The trail was pretty easy. Really cool experience if you have never been here before!

hiking
15 days ago

We took 3 kids, ages 9,6, and 4, and 2 dogs. The trail was fun but too long for the kids in the heat of August. It was 5 miles, not 3. A 3 mile trail would have been perfect, there were lots of downed trees which my kids like to climb over, river crossings and steep creek beds that we needed to use ropes to pull ourselves up. The dogs were able to scramble up ok but definitely fell a couple of times. We needed the GPS a few times when we lost the path. It’s well marked for the most part but definitely not each turn. We may do it again when the fall weather arrives;)

First, this is nowhere near three miles. We followed the route on the map exactly and it’s a full FIVE miles. So know what you’re in for.

This is a great hike if you’re looking for a moderate challenge with varying terrain.

I took a 4yo (girl), 10yo (girl), and 12yo (boy). I had to carry the 4yo at times. Several of the stream crossing are challenging. There are no bridges and so you have to hop/scramble across the rocks. One point requires ropes to descend and ascend a wide ditch. My 4yo piggybacked me for that part.

No way horses are doing this btw. Or mountain bikes. Lots of downed trees and rock hopping/scrambling.

The trail is also very poorly marked at portions. Without the gps and trail map, it would have been entirely unclear where to go.

In short, a fun, interesting, moderately challenging hike with a fair bit of variation that’s good for kids (if they’re up for five miles and you can carry little ones if/when needed).

Great views maintain trails marked areas a lot of historical points

loved the serenity at 7 AM and the views from the river trail. explored all trails a little. by 9AM it gets very busy and yet it's still peaceful. The 10 dollar entrance fee is a bit high but i am glad i visited.

hiking
1 month ago

A lot trees blocking the trials.

I loved this loop, there was the perfect mix of rock scrambles and easy trail hikes that I never got tired. Beautiful things to see and for going on a Sunday afternoon it really wasn't too crowded. Great hike!

it is more of a walk. when sunny, it is very crowded.

Love the rock scrambles. Easy enough for novice hikers that are relatively active, as well as our small dog. Started on the river trail which had the most of the scrambles, then to the ridge trail, then swamp. I think we were on the Difficult Run Trail as well at some point.

1 month ago

if the loop is done counter-clockwise, your journey is going to be more quiet. Just know as you approach the water at Stubblefield Falls the rock scramble is very steep. The Scotts Run Falls were smelly and loaded with trash. There were people drinking beer and some of them looked underage. Lots and lots of people swimming in spite of warning signs not to swim. one girl was naked! Pretty day as was quiet until I got to Scotts Run Falls. Trails were blazed according to the color coded map. An ok afternoon, could be better could be worse.

Great starter trail to get back in shape. We were under the forest canopy. Sign posted says no swimming yet it was ignored by a group of teenage girls. Quite a bit of trash washed up in the river.
Did see a Fairfax police on a motocross bike, glad to see him.
Lots of dogs that were NOT on their leash as mandated by law... explains the few dog poops we came across our hike.
the only trash can was at the parking lot.
Good thing was the map along the trails.

I loved the little creeks with carefully placed stones to hop across. Also, the paths are spacious. Although I was disappointed by the situation I found at the waterfall. “No swimming, wading, or bathing” is clearly marked in at least two locations; one at the base of the waterfall and another on the trail as you approach the waterfall. They are big and describe the consequences in smaller detail including possible arrest and a $250 fine! The scene was beautiful despite the insistence of a white trash summer (clothes and trash thrown everywhere along with half-naked teens and small children romping through it). I was mildly disgusted as I ventured out for a pleasant hike with hopes of seeing the waterfall here in all of its glory. What I found was a gorgeous backdrop to a bunch of unruly visitors unwilling to keep their clothes on. These are not beaches and should not be treated the same way. Come for the view not the more obvious guilty pleasure of a few that seem to come and go without regard to anyone else.

I enjoyed this trail, and definitely improved my stamina coming up the big incline from the waterfall. The heartbreaking part of this trail is all of the trash that people have left behind. Next time I go, I'll take a trash bag with me to clean up a bit.

Some side trails are harder then others so beware ! But soo beautiful

Unfortunately the people that frequent this location have trashed the place. This trail has so much potential to be amazing and beautiful, but the smell of sewage, trash littering the creek, and young teenagers smoking, drinking, and taking up space at the waterfall is an unfortunate eye sore for those that want to enjoy nature. Luckily, someone called the authorities yesterday, and hopefully that’ll instigate some change. I will definitely go back next time, not for the joy of being there, but to clean up the mess left behind by ungrateful individuals.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail with lots of shade. I’d rate it on the tougher side of moderate but, by no means hard. There are several spots where you need to cross shallow streams but, nothing crazy. We did this trail with my three kids (15,13 and 9) and dog and was a thumbs up for all. Also, there was very little people traffic at the time. Sunday of Father’s Day which I thought would be busy. Definitely worth a try.

Great short hike. On a beautiful summer Sunday morning, it was easy to park at the trailhead at 8:00am. When I returned at 9:30, there was a queue for parking. The hike is mostly flat with a little elevation closer to the river. As others pointed out, it is a shame there is trash left behind from others at the falls. I preferred stubblefield falls overlook to sit down and enjoy food and reading. The ability to move in and out of different trails is a nice option. Definitely recommend for a short and easy hike.

Fun 4.6 mile trail. The swamp and ridge part of trail has a lot of tree cover and stays cooler even during summer days. The river side of the trail is rugged and can get hot due to comparatively less tree cover.

Good trail but you can easily add more distance by adding additional trails. The swamp trail is nice because I rarely see anyone else on it. It is perfect for avoiding all the crowds of the towpaths.

Easy hikes and lots of dogs. This is a busy place so get there early. Some river access for the dogs but be careful of the currents. Ticks are seen in the summer so remember to check you and your pets. I use this location for quick hike when I don’t want to drive far.

Nice quick hike, but difficult to find parking and he waterfall area had a lot of trash.

Easy scenic trail. Carry swim cloths :) there are no trash cans so be mindful to carry a bag for trash.
Unfortunately saw litter on the sides.

Nice trail but several down trees throughout. Was a bit challenging by the waterfall. Overall, good workout.

Lots of fun with my friend Nicole!

Um so the trail had some good views, but it was very easy to get lost. There were some steep areas that were kind of dangerous and it was very rocky. We also had some encounters with some snakes. It was scary. Definitely not kid friendly, but was worth the hike. Apart from the snakes, there was a really beautiful waterfall and it was sort of fun overall.

This is probably my favorite hike in Great Falls Park. A ton of diversity and enough mileage to make you feel like you accomplished something. It feels different with each season, so if you’re a local, try this trail year around. It also (for some reason) feels different clockwise vs. counterclockwise, so give that a go as well!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful spot, but pieces of the trail were washed out and there were several large downed trees blocking the trail.

Excellent park to walk around, but there are plenty of bottles and plastics dirtying the place.

This is one of my favorite trails because of all the little mini side trails throughout the loop. Dog friendly, family friendly, and once you get near the water it provides some fantastic views. Every time i go I just sort of pick and choose the trails as I pass them and it makes it seem like you've gone on a new hike each time. The only thing bad I can say about this hike is the area by the waterfall is very dirty and constantly has trash and broken glass. Also a bit smelly.

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