Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park, McLean: Hours, Address, Great Falls Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Great Falls Park
4.5
Bodies of Water • National Parks • Parks
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7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Sunday
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
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About
An 800 acre park located just off the Potomac river.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,345 reviews
Excellent
986
Very good
311
Average
41
Poor
5
Terrible
2

L K
Washington DC, DC94 contributions
Couples
This is a great place to visit, especially if you’re looking for a nearby outdoor excursion close to DC! We visited early in the morning on a weekday and it wasn’t crowded and easy to socially distance. The views of the falls are great and we enjoyed some of the moderate difficulty trails. When you pay for admission it’s good for reentry for a week which is nice if you want to go multiple days in a row.
Written October 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

skink
Falls Church, VA534 contributions
Early October was beautiful for hiking in Great Falls National Park. It was a Sunday so the parking lot was crowded but we took the Matildaville, Ridge, and Old Carriage Road trails and they were not overly crowded. Most people prefer the trails along the river so the interior trails are generally not as crowded. Both the Matildaville and Ridge trails had some moderate climbs but were lovely and will get even more scenic as the leaves turn colors in the coming weeks. The park has a $20 per car admission charge but fortunately I bought a lifetime pass several years ago (for $20). That same senior pass now costs $80 thanks to a fourfold price increase in 2017. The trails are clean, people were social distancing and wearing masks, and the trails are all dog-friendly.
Written October 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CEBE88
Illinois167 contributions
This is a great option to get a hike in while not having to wander too far from DC. It does get really crowded during nice days (specifically spring, summer, and probably fall as well). The River Trail hike is a nice option that takes you up and down a pretty defined trail. The trail ends with a paved road leading down to the water if you make it down that far. There are some rock outcroppings at which you can sit, have a snack, and then continue on. From the paved road at the end of the hike you can take hike over to the fork that brings you back to the visitor center, which is much easier than coming back on the River Trail. One suggestion to consider is to use/buy the National Park pass if you will be visiting this park 4 or more times. Nat'l Park pass is $80 and each visit to Great Falls is $20/car, so worth it to consider the Nat'l Park pass.
Written June 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gautam R
Laurel, MD205 contributions
Absolute gem of a park within a stone's through of Washington DC.

# There is an entry fee to the park. An annual pass is #35.

# Arrive as early as you can. By 12:30, there is a long line of cars trying to get in, and they actually close the entry gates.

# We hiked South on the River Trail, and made a loop coming back on the Ridge Trail and Swamp trail. Such varied terrain. The river trail has lots of views of the river, rock scrambles, and inclines/declines. The Ridge and swamp trails are relatively flat, less traveled, and more like a walk in the woods.

# The main Canal trail (with the waterfall viewing) gets quite crowded, and mask wearing was around 75%. This trail is pretty flat.

# We saw varied birds, and several deer on our hike.
Written November 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

paxa
Washington DC, DC6,385 contributions
This park is in between Virginia and Maryland and you can enter from either side. In the last 6 months since the pandemic started we've been going there a lot more often than all the previous years we lived in DC. We usually go to the MD side since it's closer to us. There is a fee if you enter from the main entrance so if you go there a lot it might be worth getting an annual pass. You can also enter from across from the Old Angler's Inn to access the Billy Goat Trail and park along the road for free. This is a very fun trail with some rock scrambles - although in some parts it's possible to go around. From the main entrance parking lot it's a short hike on a boardwalk to the falls overlook. This is a popular park so it can get quite crowded on weekends. Go there earlier in the morning to avoid crowds, also a better time to spot turkey vultures and grey herons from the overlook.
Written September 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bill K
Mantorville, MN6,306 contributions
A visit to this wonderful park is the perfect respite from the cityscapes of Washington D.C. Just a short drive from D.C., this park features many great hiking trails, abundant wildlife, historical sites, and of course the waterfalls.

The Potomac River narrows and squeezes through the Mather Gorge to create gorgeous falls. There are entrances on both the Virginia and Maryland sides. The Billy Goat Trail is known to be challenging, but provides fantastic river views. It was closed during my visit due to flooding.
Written April 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Grabo64
Washington DC, District of Columbia26 contributions
Great Falls is really an amazing place. The rock formations and the thunderous flow of water is something that should be seen, heard and felt. If you every get the chance to see it during a drought or low water period, It is especially interesting, as you can see rock formations that havent been seen in ions
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

VirginiaLove2Travel
Virginia Beach, VA420 contributions
Solo
Made a purposeful trip here because I have heard so much about it (3 hour drive). Arrived about 9am and the first parking lot was almost full....note: Get here early, as folks have said, parking lots fill up quick. Fee to enter is $20/car for 7 days. Overlook 3 really gives you the best view of the falls and the kayakers. Then pick a hike. There are many to choose from and at various skill levels. I did the river trail as it takes you along the Mather Gorge - some spots are pretty rocky so beware. Plenty of places to picnic so enjoy it especially if the weather is nice. The patowmack trail is also very nice. The visitor center is closed but on the weekend, the snack bar was open. When I left the park, late afternoon, the line to enter the park was from the entrance all the way to the traffic signal.
Written August 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bertino
Alexandria, VA75 contributions
Beautiful hike.

The falls are adjacent to the parking and picnic areas. There are multiple hiking trails, including some that cross into adjacent parks. The river trail is beautiful but very densely trafficked on weekends.

Arrive early on weekends as parking fills up if weather is nice. There is almost no cell service on the trail, so do grab a map at the entrance.

Many good spots for picnic and photos.

Wear good shoes as the river trail is quite rocky in parts.
Written December 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GoFSUSeminoles
22 contributions
The falls and rapids here are very scenic. The most exciting thing about this park was the view of kayakers going through the rapids in December! We also enjoyed the walking trails and outdoor exhibits. We were disappointed the visitor center (VC) was closed because we are enthusiastic VC visitors (why we only gave this park a score of four) but pleased the staff left stamped scraps of paper for our Passport book on an outdoor table.
Written January 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park is open:
  • Sun - Sat 7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
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