Waterfall Wednesday: Great Falls of the Potamac

Ellen Matis

Each week, Recreation News takes you to a new waterfall in the Mid-Atlantic. This week, see the Great Falls of the Potamac.


8374468623_81932d5333_zLocation: Great Falls Park, 

Height: 76 feet

The river cascades over a series of 20-foot falls, falling a total of 76 feet in elevation over a distance of less than 1 mile, making the Great Falls the steepest fall line rapids of any river in the eastern United States

From the website: Many people consider the Great Falls of the Potomac to be the most spectacular natural landmark in the Washington D.C. area. Here, 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.

How to get there:

While you’re there:

Scenic views are offered on both the Maryland side and the Virginia side. The Billy Goat Trail on Bear Island, accessible from Maryland, offers scenic views of the Great Falls, as do vantage points on Olmsted Island (also accessible from Maryland). There are overlook points on the Virginia side.

The Great Falls area is popular for outdoor activities such as kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and hiking.

More information: http://www.nps.gov/grfa/learn/nature/falls.htm

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