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Great Falls Park

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General Information

Description - This park is comprised of 800 acres along the Potomac River upriver from Washington, D.C. It is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and known for it's scenic beauty and the historic Patowmack Canal.

Recreation - This site is a day-use area and a fee is charged for admission. It is open every day except December 25. A visitor center provides orientation to the site and information about the recreation opportunities available. Exhibits at the visitor center describe the construction and use of the historic Patowmack Canal located on the grounds. Visitors can view the Falls of the Potomac, which lie a short distance from the visitor center. Ranger led programs are conducted from the visitor center throughout the year round, providing information about the history and natural landscape of the region.

The park road and trails are open for hiking and exploring. They present opportunities to view the river and Mather Gorge. A park trail map and a self guiding brochure for the Patowmack Canal trail are available at the visitor center. Horseback riding and bicycling are permitted on designated trails. Picnic tables and some grills are available but cannot be reserved. The river provides opportunity for whitewater boating and a put in is located below the falls. Other commonly used entry points to the river lie at Fisherman's Eddy and AA Gorge. Fishing for bass, catfish and carp is a popular activity on site, but a Virginia or Maryland fishing license is required. Rock climbing opportunities are available on site, but please register at the visitor center or lower parking lot before climbing. Pets must be leashed at all times.

Climate - Summer months are hot and humid in this region of Virginia. Lightweight clothing is recommended as well as comfortable walking shoes. Winters are cold with occasional snow and ice. Fall and spring bring moderated temperatures and pleasant touring conditions as well as fewer visitors.

Location - Great Falls Park is located 14 miles up river from Washington, D.C., on the Virginia side of the river. It can be reached from exit 13 on Interstate 495.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Great Falls Park, 107 Park Headquarters Road , McLean, VA, 22101, Phone: 423-436-1200

Additional Information:
Northern Virginia Travel Region - In the shadow our nation's capitol, Virginia is home to many American bald eagles and other abundant wildlife. This rapidly expanding area still offers an oasis for the refreshment of the mind, body and spirit.

Great Falls Park - Official agency website


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