Great Falls Park is situated along the banks of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia and is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It is one of my favorite places to visit, no matter the season.
The National Park Service operates a visitor center near the falls and there are quite a few viewing platforms that provide great views overlooking the falls.
There are fifteen miles of hiking trails that encompass the park and follow Difficult Run. The trails are really amazing and go along both sides of the Potomac River. I love to walk along the trails and traverse the rocks closer to the edge in order to view the river.
It’s pretty easy to find a quiet space off the trail among the rocks where you can sit and relax, looking at the river and people watching. At certain points, you can climb easily up and down the rocks to get close to the water, which is always really fun and amazing. I’ve spent many a summer days sunbathing on the rocks.
There are actually a ton of rock climbers that frequent the cliffs and a ton of kayakers that tackle the river. The falls total 76 feet over a series of major cascades and are rated Class 5-6 Whitewater. Below the falls, through Mather Gorge, the river is rated Class 2-3 and is a really popular kayaking run.
Great Falls is a really beautiful place and I love to visit whenever I get the chance. There are picnic areas as well, but I’ve always found spots of my own. I would definitely recommend taking a photowalk here. Unfortunately, camping is not allowed in the park.