Great Falls

Location: Great Falls National Park in McLean, Virginia. Ancestral home to the Patawomeck, Tutelo, Saponi, Shawnee, Ohio Valley tribes & likely more.

Level: moderate
Round trip/Gain: 4ish miles/less than 200 feet
Type: loop
Permit: $10 park fee

I just had to see Great Falls before I left town and I went literally hours before I was to fly back to Portland. I’d flown out that way for my first REI sponsored group hike. I’d seen the photos, but this place was STUNNING. So gorgeous, easy to get to and with options for many needs. Two of the best viewpoints of the falls (above) were wheelchair accessible.

I didn’t take a specific route, just sort of planned to hike and jog for a couple of hours. I started at the furthest parking lot past the visitor center, checked out the three viewpoints of the falls and then continued on the Patowmac Canal Trail to the River Trail. Then looped back on the the Matildaville Trail and Old Carriage Road to the visitor Center. I LOVED IT, but I’m so relieved I didn’t pick it for the group hike. While it was mostly flat, it was super rocky.


Yeah, most of the trail until my turn around point was like this. Trying to spot the little teal blaze as I throw my bod over boulders.



Part of the trail went through this old village called Matildaville.
Quartz everywhere
Fall feelings
So sweaty, so happy

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Last weekend, I attended the first ever @LGBTQoutdoorsummit at REI’s flagship store in Seattle. The first panel I was on was about barriers to accessing the outdoors. I also did a workshop on Queering Outdoor Media. We have a long way to go with addressing these issues, but it was, overall, a great experience. Sharing space with people doing work to create a more diverse and inclusive vision was inspiring and affirming. . Sometimes, people comment on here with things like, “why do you have to talk about this kind of stuff all of the time?” Or, “The outdoors are for everyone, nature doesn’t care!” and my favorite, “why label yourselves? Just be!” The LGBTQ Outdoor Summit exists because there is a real lack of representation in outdoors media and it prevents LGBTQIA+ individuals from accessing or fully utilizing the outdoors. . Nature continues to bring us together, no matter who we are, and doing this work benefits ALL of us. We’re making the statement, “the outdoors are for everyone,” as true as possible. . #sponsored #REI #ForceOfNature #optOutside . 📸: @jennybruso . Location: Great Falls, Virginia #greatfalls . Tag #unlikelyhikers or #unlikelyhiker to be featured! . . . [image description: person stands on rock precipice above a river flowing through a rocky gorge. Fall trees and overcast skies in background.]

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Great Falls, Virginia

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