Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Great Falls Park, VA

Great Falls lies on the border of Virginia and Maryland.  Near the Nation's Capital, the Potomac River plunges a total of 77 feet over a series of rocks and flows through one-mile-long Mather Gorge that makes it a scenic site to walk and picnic with friends and family. Biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and kayaking are among the possible recreational activities.  Nearly a half million people visit Great Falls Park each year.

On our long weekend trip to Washington D.C. this summer we decided to check out Great Falls Park, since I'm always on the lookout for parks.  We went with Dave's friend living in the D.C. area and together ventured out for a hike. Unfortunately when we were heading to the park the sky opened up and sheets of rain were falling, which trickled down to a drizzle as we attempted to take in the sights of the Great Falls.

Lucky for us, the falls are a very short walk, 5-10 minutes only from the visitor center and parking lot.  So if your family/friends only want to do a brief looksie at the nature sights without any hiking, this is your opportunity.  The 3 overlooks are spaced close together, and all within a short walking distance (great for rain, small kids, elderly or lazy). There are even some rocks to scramble over, which add that fun factor. Although in the rain with mud and puddles, it's not nearly as easy, still fun, but not easy.

The falls provided a short scenic stop and were unlike falls I've seen before.  There wasn't anything close to the amount of water from Niagara Falls in New York that we had visited the previous summer.  It wasn't the tall narrow waterfalls like in Hawaii, or the waterfalls we've hiked to see in Yosemite National Park in California or even the mountain runoff into the Colorado River.  These were so very different because of the steep jagged rocks and the flow through the gorge, also the Potomac River isn't known for it's cleanliness.  Now we can check Great Falls Park off our list and search for more parks and wonders to behold!

Great Falls Park  9200 Old Dominion Drive  Mclean VA 22102  http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm

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