addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Great Falls Hike

Let’s get a look at Mather Gorge from the Virginia side, and hike Difficult Run and the River Trail in Great Falls Park!

The route: The hike is a loop, interrupted by an out-and-back excursion en route.

The first leg of the loop starts at the little footbridge at the intersection of Canal and River Trails. We’ll enter Old Carriage Road and walk south to Matildaville Trail, where we’ll turn slightly left and follow it to Ridge Trail. Turning left onto Ridge Trail, we’ll follow it to where it meets River Trail.

At this point we’ll interrupt the loop for an out-and-back excursion to and along Difficult Run. From the Ridge/River trail intersection, we’ll continue south along Ridge Trail to Difficult Run Trail, turn right and walk along Difficult Run Trail to the Great Falls Park boundary sign and return to the intersection of Ridge and River Trails.

After our excursion, we’ll resume the loop, taking the River Trail north all the way back to our starting point.

A Google map of our route is here: http://tinyurl.com/kkbbbvc

The surface is dirt or gravel throughout. The going is fairly easy along the first leg of the loop, moderate along Difficult Run and moderate to strenuous along the River Trail. There is a brief scramble on Difficult Run Trail to bypass a washout. The River Trail is broken and rocky with steps and scrambles.

NB: The River Trail runs along the edge of sheer cliffs in many sections. Exercise caution and keep a close eye on your furry friend. We want you to have fun, but we also want you to come home safe!

The walk is 5.3 miles of smiles, plus some extra running around to check out the overlooks as desired. The hike should take between 2 to 3 hours at a moderate pace.

How to get there:  From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 44 onto VA-193/Georgetown Pike towards Great Falls. Follow signs for Great Falls. Drive 4.4 miles west along Georgetown Pike. At the traffic light at the intersection with Old Dominion Road, turn right to enter the park. (There is a park sign.) Drive 1 mile along Old Dominion Road and note the Visitor Center on your right. Continue another 0.1 miles (just past the Visitor Center) and turn right to enter the main parking area.

Where to meet: We'll meet south of the Visitor Center at the path to Overlook #1, GPS =[masked],[masked]

What to bring: Water, comfy shoes and your furry friend if desired (leashes are required). Hiking boots are a good idea. A camera is a handy accessory.

Cost: $3 per person individually, or $5 per vehicle. See http://tinyurl.com/khpcooq.

Administrative stuff: The only available public restrooms and drinking fountains are at the Great Falls Visitor Center. Other facilities in the park are closed for the season. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.

Notes:

Great Falls: http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm

Trail Map: http://tinyurl.com/obbjbc

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    i enjoy very much, today's weather cooperated very well too.

    December 28, 2013

  • Susie

    Got lost and arrived late so I was "trailing" behind you all. This was my first hike at Great Falls and what a view. Thanks John!!!

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Jason B

    Thanks for the great hike! Couldn't ask for a nicer day.

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Naomi

    Continuous enjoyable hike at Great Falls on beautiful day. I'd already purchased annual pass so many more fun trips at GF on both sides! Just wish I've a house nearby... Thank you, John for the trip :)

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Kathy

    another fabulous hike!

    2 · December 28, 2013

  • John M

    Wonderful day, great peeps! Thanks!!

    December 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I missed this. Great Falls is Beautiful. I am sure It was an awesome hike. Hopefully I will make it to one of these events. Only went to Great Falls once and it is awesome.

    December 28, 2013

  • Ellen

    Thanks John for a great hike at beautiful Great Falls under sunny skies!

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Patricia H.

    Should be a good to see everyone button... smile

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Jim

    Thanks for leading another excellent hike, John. That jaunt was the perfect two-beer tuneup to wrap up the year. (The two beers were post hike - not at the Difficult Run overlook).

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for organizing!

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Patricia H.

    Great hike.

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • Melody (.

    Great hike. Thx John

    2 · December 28, 2013

  • Cindy_S

    So sorry to miss it guys :(

    December 28, 2013

  • R Singh (.

    At entrance

    December 28, 2013

  • LaRue

    After a late night with friends, I'm just waking up. Doesn't look like I will make this hike :-( Enjoy everyone!

    December 28, 2013

  • Patricia

    I am also bringing a friend.. hope it won't be a problem

    1 · December 28, 2013

  • jeff

    This is my first MeetUp event, and I'm looking forward to the hike. With 80+ people, it should be easy to find the group!

    1 · December 27, 2013

  • Kerem

    Hey Everyone, anybody driving from Alexandria, Arlington area, who can give me a ride from Crystal City? or any other nearer metro stations? thanks.. :)

    December 26, 2013

    • Ian B.

      Call me when you get there at[masked]

      December 27, 2013

    • Kerem

      Ok i will be in front of ritz carlton, by the metro entrance. See you tomorrow

      December 27, 2013

  • Edna

    Guys, before I forget - want to wish you all the VERY BEST HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS! Merry Christmas to all of you and your loved ones. What a delight to belong to this meet-up 'family'.

    5 · December 24, 2013

  • Patricia H.

    I shouldn't get lost on this one. Hahaha

    December 21, 2013

    • Patricia H.

      Thanks!

      December 21, 2013

    • Ian B.

      This one should be easier to find. I will try to bring my National Parks Passport if I remember so I can get the stamp.

      December 24, 2013

  • Jim

    I hope no one is going to heckle the hike leader this time about going counter-clockwise.

    1 · December 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This is my first time hike with people here

    1 · December 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Interesting, would be first time, difficult run some a little scary ... and difficult

    2 · December 21, 2013

  • Patricia H.

    I shouldn't get lost on this one. Hahaha

    1 · December 21, 2013

  • Skysusan

    Not around... sky

    December 21, 2013

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