Great Falls Loop Trail

Wally & Me - Great Falls


If you live anywhere near DC, you’re probably very familiar with Great Falls National Park.  Arguably the best hiking within a half hour’s drive from the city, Great Falls has miles and miles of trails to choose from.  The park follows the Potomac River as it builds speed down several rapids and through Mather Gorge, on its way to Washington.  You can find trails on both the Maryland and Virginia side of the river.

Unfortunately, the parks most well-known trail, the Billy Goat Trail, is not dog-friendly.  So, my next best option is the River Trail, sometimes known as the Loop Trail.

Great Falls - Wally
Great Falls – Wally

The River Trail is a 3 mile trek, starting at the Visitor’s Center.  You follow the river closely, sometimes climbing rocks right on the edge of the cliffs!

Great Falls - Downriver
Great Falls – Downriver

The trail has some moderate elevation gains, and at the top you’re treated to some great views from above the Potomac.

Great Falls River Trail Height
Great Falls River Trail Height

Take some time to enjoy the views of Mather Gorge either at the beginning or very end of the hike.  The narrow gorge blocks most of the wind, so this was the perfect spot to get some great done shots!

Mather Gorge from Above
Mather Gorge from Above

I use the AllTrails app when I hike so I don’t get lost!  Here is their info on the Great Falls Loop Trail.