Great Falls National Park – Virginia

April 15, 2012
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Great Falls National Park

Great Falls National Park is a smaller recreational park located along a section of the Potomac River as it approaches Mather Gorge.The river, at this location approaches a large drop off containing numerous jagged rock formations, resulting in a increased amount of white water through the park.

The Great Falls National Park is actually made up of two separate locations, the Great Falls Visitor Center side contains several overlooks of the falls, and nearly all of the 15 miles of hiking trails. Along this side of the falls, visitors can also see ruins from the Patowmack Canal and the C&O canal from when traders relied on them to bypass this section of the very rough river and falls.

The second location in the park is at the Great Falls Tavern section. It contains only a few overlooks, all relatively the falls, and a wooden bridge to an even closer spot near the falls.

 

The primary trail running through park leaves from the visitors center and follows along the old Patowmack Canal, parallel to the falls and the Potomac, and brings hikers to several excellent wooden platforms with views of the falls. The trail then continues on to Matildaville, the location of several Canal ruins that remain intact. Hikers can loop around the ruins and return along the river trail, which provides a handful of locations between the park’s boulders down to the river.

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Great Falls National Park

Park Entry Fee: $5 per vehicle

Directions:

Directions for this Park can be complicated depending on the direction of the visitor. Visit the National Park’s Direction Site here.

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