Great Falls, Virginia (DC day trip)



A couple of weekends ago we decided to finally check out Great Falls Park in Virginia. Quite a few of my friends have gone and raved about how cool it is, so even though I'm not the biggest nature person I figured it was worth checking out.

One of the greatest things about the DC area is that you don't have to go far to get a totally different environment. Great Falls is only about 15 miles outside of the city and you feel like you're a lot further away from any metropolitan area.


As you can tell from the first picture of the brochure-- you should be able to see all the rocks, but the water was raging and flowing so quickly you couldn't see them! It definitely wasn't the prettiest, but it was pretty cool to see that much water flowing through.


The park is a beautiful location for picnicking or hiking and the falls are pretty impressive. The day we were there it had rained quite a bit earlier in the week so as you can maybe tell from the photos-- the water was raging!


We walked along the River Trail and the Patowmack Trail until it got to be a little bit too rugged for me. No one believed me but I'm like 99% sure I saw a snake so I was hightailing it out of the rocky area back onto the more established part of the trail.


Along with hiking and picnicking, there are areas for fishing, rock climbing, and even whitewater boating if you're feeling brave.

The cost to get into the park is $5 per car or $3 per person on foot. We went on a Saturday afternoon (around 11am) and to get into the park it was about a 45 minute wait, so I suggest coming early to avoid the long wait times to get into the park on nice weekend days.

Are you a nature lover?
What parks or fun hiking trails are your favorite to visit?

29 comments

  1. I'm a so-so nature lover. I appreciate the beauty & I really want to love it because Robert is definitely a nature lover. So I give it my best shot, and usually enjoy it, but always enjoy day trips more than overnight trips out in nature.

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  2. looks like a great Saturday adventure!! I'm with you on not being the biggest fan of the outdoors, but a hike with a view is always welcome!! xo

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  3. We loce hiking! We went to North Conway not so long ago and they have great hiking trails! Great to see that scenery close to the city! So pretty! Glad you checked it out! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I LOVE Great Falls! These pictures are awesome :) I've hiked the Virginia and Maryland side, and the Maryland side is really intense. I'm hoping to do it again this summer, though! Thanks for sharing, Carly :)

    xo, gina

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  5. Ooh, that's my kind of place! There's not much hiking like that around Charleston, but we stopped at a similar place in Richmond while driving to NJ last summer. I'm hoping to get to Asheville for some hiking this year too!

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  6. Ooohh I would love this!! So pretty, love that last pic.

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  7. I love nature... but the calm side of it! :)
    Those raging waters - WOW! I will say, it makes me want to go white water rafting :)

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  8. What a great place to hike!!! My in-laws live in DC, so I will have to do this with my hubby next time I'm in the area!

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  9. Wow, I can't believe how much water there is! It really is raging!

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  10. That looks like a beautiful place to hike! I LOVE hiking and used to live in Denver where beautiful trails were everywhere. I live in Indiana now and it's a little harder to find places like that.

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  11. Holy terrifying with those rapids. I love a good hike/moderate walk any day though (aside from last time, when we "hiked" hungover, I fell, hurt my shoulder, and was pissed off the 2 hour walk back to the car). Love some (light) outdoorsy-ness activity so good for y'all!

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  12. This looks like a fantastic way to spend the weekend! Tyler and I are hopefully going on our first camping/hiking trip of the season this weekend - I can't wait!

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  13. Woah that is crazy how high the river was! I'd be scared to get close and get swept away! Looks like a really pretty place though!

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

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  14. Beautiful! We love to hike, especially close to the river. It looks so scenic there!

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  15. I love day trips like this. It looks beautiful there. I would love to explore that area of the country a little more :)

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  16. This looks like a fun day trip! There is nothing better than getting out of the city sometimes. And girl I don't blame you, if I even see a stick that resembles a snake, I'm done!

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  17. This looks like a great hike! I'm usually on snake alert too, so I don't blame you :)

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  18. I SO want to take a day trip to visit this park one day! Hopefully this summer :)

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  19. Oh that sounds like so much fun! I would have done the same thing you did had I seen a snake too!

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  20. Wait you have to pay to go hiking??? I love going now that the weather is warm! The views look beautiful there!

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  21. I would've never thought that something like this was so close to the city! It looks like it's way out in the country! How awesome!

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  22. I think I'm a nature lover in theory, but then when it comes down to actually hiking and doing things outside for a long period of time, halfway through, I'm like 'never mind.' These pictures are so pretty though! It looks like you had a good time even though you're not a big nature person. Crazy to think that that's just 15 minutes outside of DC.

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  23. This looks like so much fun! I thing I do like about VA is how little you have to travel to be somewhere COMPLETELY different! My area is the same way. Taking day trips is on my 30 before 30 list - it's amazing how many places I've never been even though they're a stone's throw away.

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  24. Your pictures are beautiful! I've never been to DC, but your travel posts make me want to visit so badly! I love how green the park is, gorgeous.

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  25. how amazing! wonderful pictures.

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  26. I love Great Falls! We go a couple times a year and I've never seen the water that high before, and we've never had to wait to get into the park - that's crazy!

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