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.

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