Great Falls Park is an 800-acre park just outside of Washington, D.C. The Maryland entrance, in Potomac, Maryland, is only a twenty minute drive from my home and is part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park.
Many people visit the park to take in the rushing water in the Potomac River, as it barrels through the Mather Gorge. The water flowing over the jagged rocks is quite the sight to see!
There are also many opportunities for hiking and exploring within the park and along the Patowmack Canal.
Each overlook is a five to ten minute walk from the Visitor Center. Overlooks 2 and 3 are handicap and stroller accessible.
- Overlook 1 - located to the left of the south end of the visitor center and offers the closest view of the falls. A short trail is available to a dirt viewing platform. Because this overlook allows a close view of the falls, extreme caution is necessary. Getting too close may turn into a very dangerous situation.
- Overlook 2 - this handicap accessible overlook is located further down the trail. Take a left on the small wooden footbridge by the Patowmack Canal. Most of the waterfall may be seen after reaching the overlook platform using the stairs or ramp.
- Overlook 3 - also handicap accessible, this overlook is past Overlook 2, over a second wooden footbridge. There are two viewing platforms available, offering a complete view of the falls.
Five miles of trails are available for bicycling, including the Old Carriage Road, Ridge and the Difficult Run Trails.
Climbing in this area is extremely popular and the setting is quite beautiful. Sites begin downstream of Overlook 2, ending near the emergency boat ramp at Sandy Landing. Routes range from 25 to 75 feet with difficulty levels of 5.0 to 5.14.
Great Falls Park has fifteen miles of hiking trails. Trail maps may be picked up at the entrance station and Visitor Center.
For a full list of outdoor activities available in Great Falls Park, click here. If you live in the D.C. area or are visiting, Great Falls Park is a lovely getaway to nature :)