addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Sweat & Smile: Billy Goat Trail, Section A

Looks like a sunny day on Sunday, so let's get an early start on the Billy Goat Trail!

The route: From the refreshment stand next to the Visitor Center traffic circle, we’ll walk a little over half a mile south/downstream along the C&O Canal towpath to the entrance to Section A, where we’ll turn right to enter the trail. We’ll follow the blue blazes downstream along the trail to where it rejoins the C&O Canal towpath parking lot near Sherwin Island. From there we’ll return to our starting point along the C&O Canal towpath.

The hike is not quite 4 miles of smiles; 1.7 difficult miles along the trail, and the rest is easy walking along the towpath. Plan for 3-4 hours. The trail surface is very rocky with large boulders and a scramble up a seam in a 40-foot cliff face about halfway along.

This is a strenuous hike: please see the NPS advisory, “Are you prepared for Billy Goat Trail A?” (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/pd3xtby

Google map: http://tinyurl.com/jw8kr35

How to get there: From the I-495 Beltway (either direction), take exit 41 and follow signs for Carderock/Great Falls, merging onto Clara Barton Parkway west. After driving about 1.5 miles, turn left onto MacArthur Blvd. (There’s sign with an arrow pointing left, marked Great Falls/Cabin John.) Follow MacArthur Blvd about 3.5 miles without any turns until you reach the Great Falls Tavern entrance booth, where you’ll need to give Ranger Rick $5 per car. Bear to your right in the traffic circle and park. The refreshment stand is directly across the traffic circle from the entrance booth.

Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike.

What to bring: Water and sturdy hiking shoes or boots. Sorry, your furry friend is not allowed on Section A. Sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent and a snack for halts are good accessories. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.

Cost: $5 per car, payable at the entrance booth. Make sure to display your receipt on the dash in your windscreen.

Administrative stuff: The Visitor Center has restrooms and drinking fountains.

Notes:

Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center: http://tinyurl.com/378syo

Trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/kyevvmr

Weather forecast: http://tinyurl.com/mek9mf4

Join or login to comment.

  • Sunny

    The Hike was great! Thank you so much, John.

    1 · September 1, 2014

  • Roy D.

    Thank you John

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • Brenda C.

    Hard but rewarding

    August 31, 2014

  • Brenda C.

    Hard but rewarding

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • Mei Y.

    Cheer for triumphing over a difficult trail, enjoy the unique view. Great hiking! Thanks John!

    2 · August 31, 2014

  • Zan

    Spectacular!

    August 31, 2014

  • Zan

    Spectacular!

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • Sue

    Hi John, So nice to meet you and everyone else! Thank you very much for organizing such a nice, fun hike!!! Sue

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • Yayne

    John it was a workout and more..Thanks

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • John M

    All right! Thanks for a great morning workout!!

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • Beth

    Lost the group, again.. But I enjoyed the hike. I detoured off to see the falls when others were not in sight

    August 31, 2014

  • Beth

    Lost the group, again.. But I enjoyed the hike. I detoured off to see the falls when others were not in sight

    1 · August 31, 2014

  • jeannie

    Coming from Falls Church if anyone needs a ride!

    August 30, 2014

    • Bonnie D.

      I will be at the Falls Church Firehouse on N Washington St (Lee Hwy - Rt 29) parking lot at 8:20

      August 31, 2014

    • Bonnie D.

      Sorry, Cathy, I got your msg too late

      August 31, 2014

  • Tangela

    Anyone coming past a dc metro stop?

    August 30, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I live near the Eisenhour metro...anyone near by for a car pool?

    August 30, 2014

  • Rachel

    Curious if anyone might be coming from the Silver Spring area? Or points nearby? I'm potentially looking for an easy Metro pick up. I'll be out for several hours now, but will check back in the evening.

    August 30, 2014

  • John M

    Hey folks,

    Looks like a gr8 day tomorrow - no park alerts, and only 2-3% chance of showers in the morning. Let's go have some fun!

    Please give me a call at[masked] if you need anything.

    See you at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center!

    August 30, 2014

  • Kira M

    It a very nice hike ... Unfortunately, I am working on Sunday. Have a great hike!

    August 30, 2014

33 went

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy