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Home > Visit a Gateway > Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park - McLean, VA
Great Falls Park
Photo Tour   
Located just 15 miles from the Nation's capital, the Great Falls of the Potomac (so named by the first European colonists) is considered the most spectacular natural landmark in the DC metropolitan area. Here, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through a narrow gorge.

Great Falls Park stretches along almost 2 miles of the Virginia side of the Potomac providing a series of trails and overlooks from which to view the falls and the gorge. Administered by the National Park Service, Great Falls Park also preserves the remains of the Potowmack Canal. The canal was initiated by George Washington as a way to link the upper Potomac and the Ohio River Valley to Washington and the Chesapeake. It was later surpassed by the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Great Falls Park offers numerous recreational activities: bird watching, climbing, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, nature walks, and whitewater rafting.

Hours:

The park is open every day except December 25. The park opens at 7 a.m. and closes at dark. Visitor Center hours are: Summer - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends; Winter - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fees:

An entrance fee is required:

  • Individual: $3.00 for 3 days
  • Vehicle: $5.00 for 3 days
  • Annual park pass: $20.00 (Great Falls Park Passes are valid for 1 year. Passes are also valid on the Maryland side of the falls at the C&O Canal National Historical Park.)
For more information about Great Falls Park call (703) 285-2965 or visit the following website: http://www.nps.gov/grfa/.

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