By Tom Lussier

Great Falls Park

Nearest Area
Old Dominion Drive
McLean, Virginia
Brief Directions

From the Capitol Beltway (I-495): Take exit 44 for Route 193, Georgetown Pike. At the top of the exit ramp, there is a traffic light. If you are exiting from I-495 South, coming from Maryland and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, take a right at the light onto Route 193 West. If you are coming from I-495 North (the Inner Loop) from points south or I-66, you will take a left at the traffic light onto Route 193 West. About three miles down the road, you will come to another traffic light at the intersection of Old Dominion Dr. At the traffic light, you will see a sign for the park. Make a right at the light. Old Dominion Drive will dead end at our entrance station, about one mile down the road.


The Great Falls of the Potomac River are located on the northern boundary of the park as are the remains of the Patowmack Canal, the oldest canal in the United States which utilized locks to raise and lower boats. The falls total 76 feet (20 m) over a series of major cascades and cannot be navigated by boat. Some kayakers have gone over the falls in the past during periods of lower water levels as the largest single drop is 33 (10 m) feet. The cascades are still rated as class 5 whitewater, which is considered a serious risk. There are excellent photo oportunities here all year. Winter after a snowfall is particularly beautiful. To find this natural beauty this close to DC is truly amazing.

Date Added
March 16, 2009
Date Taken
March 16, 2009

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