Great Falls of the Potomac, Virginia/Maryland

The first time I visited the Washington, D.C. area, I didn’t visit the Great Falls of the Potomac. It wasn’t until the second time I visited the area that I took the time to visit Great Falls Park. The falls are truly impressive in their span and in their fury.

The falls are immensely popular too, though. It doesn’t approach Niagara Falls popular, but it can be pretty busy. Luckily, I went in early December when there were far fewer people. There was nobody at the gate to even collect a fee. This changes dramatically in the summer months. Updates on their Facebook site often indicate that the parking area is completely full on the weekends, and the roads into the park are often shut down until more parking becomes available. So choose when you visit carefully.

Even in early December, the falls were flowing impressively. Only four or five days later, a rainstorm had caused the falls to almost reach flood stage. So I’m guessing a visit any time of the year will work. There are even markers in the area to indicate the levels previous floods have reached.

Even though I think the falls are impressive, they aren’t in my favorites category. I just don’t particularly find these falls to be as impressive as other falls in the area. Could it be that since they are so blocked off, the falls can seem a little…distant? It’s also one of those cases where it’s truly difficult to capture the true magnitude of the falls, as they are spread out over a distance.


  1. Here’s the link for directions:
  2. At the entrance, you may be required to pay a $5 entrance fee, if you show up at the right time of the year…

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 40′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Great Falls of the Potomac (on the Virginia side) in early December 2011

Where in the World is Great Falls of the Potomac?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s