There is a $20 entrance fee per car for visitors who drive into the park. Great Falls Park is a small National Park Service (NPS) site in Virginia, United States. The interesting tidbit about Washington, DC and the surrounding area which includes Virginia and Maryland is that all three seemingly run together. years old. Then there is Mathis Gourge, a narrow, high walled canyon - great views from one of the few trails that is moderately hard (only towards the end). The trail does not pose much technical difficulty but offers some GREAT views! difficulty trails. At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The park continues to provide picnic grounds and a visitor's center but the carousel that operated between 1954 and 1972 was destroyed by a flood caused by Hurricane Agnes. The park visitor center has the bottom portions of two wooden canal lock gates excavated in the 1980s from the canal. Along the trails, the ruins of the small town of Matildaville, Virginia can also be found. It is possible to get an idea of what the Potomac looked like before the falls and Gorge formed. A scenic trail near the river travels upstream from a landing at the mouth of Difficult Run, climbs to the top of Mather Gorge and passes the falls, a dam, and a reservoir before ending in Fairfax County's Riverbend Park. The park has several viewing platforms that provide visitors with vantage points overlooking the falls. Entry Fee: For vehicles, there is a $20 fee. Click on the project title for more information. During the construction of the canal, blasting powder, which at the time was essentially gunpowder, was used to blast through solid rocks. 8 Things To Do At Great Falls Park. To the north, the Washington Aqueduct Observation Deck offers a view of the upper falls. One can visit Great Falls National Park in Virginia and/or Maryland but many do not realize the falls are just 15 miles above the nation’s capital. Direct access to the park is usually by way of Georgetown Pike (Virginia Route 193) and Old Dominion Drive. Click the image to view a full size GIF (100 kb) or download the PDF (300 kb). on the River Trail, and made a loop coming back on the Ridge Trail and Swamp trail. # Arrive as early as you can. It's immensely popular for hiking (with provided trail maps at the visitor center), rock climbing, dog walking and picnicking (there are picnic tables and small grills for your use in the picnic area). The Great Falls are rated Class 5-6 Whitewater according to the International Scale of River Difficulty. On November 7, 2011, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dedicated America's 397th national park. Great Falls National Park 9200 Old Dominion Dr , Mc Lean, VA 22102 Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park 72 McBride Ave , Paterson, NJ 07501 Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center 11710 MacArthur Blvd , Potomac, MD 20854 Legal. The canal was never a profitable enterprise. * If you live in the area, time your visit for spring or a couple days after a big rain to see the falls at their finest. more, Recommended experiences in and around McLean, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Military Museums, Parks, Specialty Museums, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Specialty Museums. Check the park's website for information on various annual passes that can save you a bundle. Native American petroglyphs have been discovered within the park on cliffs overlooking Difficult Run.[2]. The Patowmack Canal, which George Washington partially funded, was a one-mile (1.6 km) bypass canal that began operating in 1785 to give small barges the opportunity to skirt around the falls and to distribute manufactured goods upstream and raw materials downstream. This is a popular spot for rock climbing (on the cliffs in Maher Gorge above the falls) and for expert whitewater boaters (note the word "expert" -- Great Falls is rated Class 5-6 Whitewater). Two reasons: (1) You get an expansive view first, then work your way closer and closer and (2) If you're tired when you get to Overlook 1, you or your kids will be less likely to hurt yourself trying to mountain-goat on the dangerous rocks. Meet A Ranger. This is one of the first known examples of blasting powder being used for engineering purposes anywhere in the world. The Great Falls of the Passaic River is a prominent waterfall, 77 feet (23 m) high, on the Passaic River in the city of Paterson in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States.The falls and surrounding area are protected as part of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service.The Congress authorized its establishment in 2009. 286,954 were here. Great Falls cascades 75 feet over less than a mile of the Potomac River. * Take the warning signs seriously. Just ten miles from Washington, D.C., Great Falls National Park is an often overlooked gem of our National Parks system. The park is roughly around 800 acres which includes one of the oldest canals in the United States […] For the National Historical Park in New Jersey, see, National Park Service unit in Virginia, United States, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, "Great Falls Park, USGS Vienna (VA, MD) Topo Map", Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, National Register of Historic Places listings in Virginia, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Great_Falls_Park&oldid=999981738, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2015, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 22:54. 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