• Great Falls NP: River, Mather Gorge & Difficult Run Stream! A Moderate 5 Miles

    Great Falls National Park: An Amazing Hike Along the Difficult Run Rapids, Potomac River, and Mather Gorge -- Featuring Fantastic Views of Great Falls! An Easy-Side-of-Moderate 5 Miles

    Mid Atlantic Hiking Group does not require proof of vaccination. Not all hikers may be vaccinated. No organized carpools, but Social Distancing at all times. Mask inside and in crowded places.

    If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 7 days, then please do not sign up. Also, inform the hike leader if you are diagnosed with Covid-19 within 7 days from the hike.

    If you have never been to the Virginia side, or either side of Great Falls for that matter, this hike is a MUST have experience. If you have been there, then come back for another visit. The hike is not too much effort in turn for fantastic views! Do NOT forget your cameras for this one people!

    Join us on this hike and enjoy great views of Difficult Run Rapids, the Potomac River, and Great Falls. Forget how close you are to civilization while traversing this stream valley trail that is reminiscent of Virginia's mountains. With fifty percent of the Difficult Run following the Potomac River at one of its most scenic spots, it’s easy to see why so many people make Great Falls Park one of their favorites.

    Our hike plan takes us along Difficult Run stream to where it flows into the Potomac and along Mather Gorge, where the trail is rocky in parts and has a couple of hills to enjoy the breathtaking views of the falls and the gorge.

    At the end of our hike, we are rewarded with the majestic and powerful falls. The falls consist of cascading rapids and several 20-foot waterfalls, with a total 76-foot drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile. The Potomac River narrows from nearly 1000 feet, just above the falls, to between 60 and 100 feet wide as it rushes through Mather Gorge, a short distance below the falls. The Great Falls of the Potomac display the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any eastern river.

    Trail Information
    Nearby City: McLean, VA
    Length: About 5 Miles
    Trail Surface: Dirt footpaths, riverside trails, hardwood forests, and a minor rock scramble.
    Elev. Gain: 400 feet
    Skill Level: Easy-Side-of-Moderate

    Park Fee
    $20.00 Per Vehicle Pass: Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. This pass is not valid for entrance into the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

    $5.00 Individual Permit: Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle, or equestrian. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge. This pass is not valid for entrance into the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

    Gear Suggestions
    Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.

    Weather Information
    We hike rain or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.

    Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
    Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.

    Directions to the Trailhead
    Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for this Hike

    Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 8:45-8:55 a.m.

    The Hike is at 9:00 a.m.

    Please remember we are a volunteer-supported organization that values:

    1. Fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette.
    2. Leave No Trace principles.

    Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Click Here to become a part of the team!
    Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, and encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission.

    Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and donations ARE tax-deductible.
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    A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!

    Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there!


    Donations to Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group are Tax Deductible.

    Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charitable organization.
    • Click here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.