It’s hard to believe that Great Falls National Park is only a quick 15-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of DC. You practically feel like hundreds of miles from civilization when you see the rushing waters, serene tree line, and tranquil trails.
Many folks come for the namesake of the park, the rushing Potomac River that flows quickly through the Mather Gorge, creating a series of stepped waterfalls. Although beautiful, these waters can be quite hazardous. Swimming and wading in the waters at Great Falls is prohibited, and kayaking is only permitted with prerequisite training. But many come for the whitewater boating under that falls, or to take advantage of the expansive trail system and exceptional views.
Standard hours for Great Falls National Park is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, but the park closes 30 minutes after sunset depending on the season. Be sure to hit the visitor center for more information, and ask about the annual pass that is also valid at the C & O Canal National Historic Park.