Join Us For a Hike Along Riverbend and Great Falls Park! A 9.5 Mile Moderate Hike with a Shorter 5 Mile Easy Option!
Only about 15 miles from downtown Washington, the Great Falls area is probably the metro area’s finest close-in natural attraction. There, the broad and smooth Potomac River suddenly tumbles almost 80 feet in a series of rapids, and then squeezes through a narrow, mile-long, and sheer-walled gorge. National Park Service (NPS) lands protect both banks and provide riveting views of nature at work. This hike is a two-park, 9.5-mile loop leading through the uplands, to the falls, along the gorge, and onto the floodplain. You’ll experience assorted scenery, impressive vistas, and about 2,200 feet of elevation change. Scenery: Wooded uplands, river vistas, waterfalls, historic remains. 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Washington DC © Copyright Paul Elliott Published by Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
A moderate pace of about 2.5mph and the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books. (most common pace).
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: McLean, VA
Length: 9.5 total miles (with shorter, 5.3 option)
Configuration: Modified loop
Scenery: Uplands, river vistas
Trail surface: Mostly dirt; some pavement, gravel; very rocky in places one steep hill.
Elev. Gain: 2200 feet
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 5 - 6 hours
Facilities: Toilets, water, phones at the visitor centers; snack bar at Great Falls center (seasonal); toilets, water at Matildaville
Trail Notes for Leaders
We hike rain or shine. Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
To carpool from the Baltimore area, meet people at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike
Click here for directions to where we meet.
Hike Meetup Time is 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage is 8:00 a.m.
Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back and guides/sweepers which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
Fido is Welcome on This Hike!
Let's have good times! Be sure to take the hike leaders numbers with you just in case!