AAA Editor Notes
Great Falls Park is at 9200 Old Dominion Dr. Here the Potomac River plunges a total of 77 feet in a series of picturesque falls and thundering rapids. One-mile-long Mather Gorge is walled by irregular palisades. Biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and kayaking are among the possible recreational activities.
Within the 800-acre park are remnants of a skirting canal constructed between 1785 and 1802 by the Patowmack Co., of which George Washington was founder and president. The canal had a series of locks that enabled boats to re-enter the river after having bypassed the falls. There is no direct access between the Virginia and Maryland sides. The Maryland side is part of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Note: Extreme care must be taken when visiting this beautiful but hazardous natural area. Signs indicate treacherous spots. Stay on the trails and observe the signs. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. The park has a carry in, carry out policy in effect, and there are no trash cans on-site.
Guided tours are available. Pets on leash are allowed. Recreational activities are permitted. Picnicking is permitted.