Living in a city can get a little claustrophobic for even the biggest city dweller. Even in a city that is as green as DC, sometimes you just need to get away for a while. Great news is that well within a 40 minute drive and situated on both sides of the Potomac River is the wonderful Great Falls Park. For just a $10 entrance fee (per car, $5 bucks if you bike or ride a horse in!), you get a map and access to the park. Both sides offer something a little different, but today I’m just going to highlight the Virginia side.
According to the National Park Service website, there are 15 miles of trails within the entire park, some of which are pretty easy and others are aptly dubbed “Difficult Run”. You can access the three different overlooks each with different views of the falls really easy. They are steps from the visitors center which has real bathrooms and a concessions stand. There are few things that taste better than a hot dog and some gatorade after a hike so take advantage of it! Most of the trails are multi-use, so you can bike/hike/horseback ride on them.
Unless you’re up for combining trails, most of the hikes are out and back. I highly suggest taking the River Trail (easy 1.5 mile hike that is fairly flat) until it turns into the Ridge Trail (moderate 1.5 hike that does get pretty steep at times) and taking that until you’re forced to either turn around or take the Difficult Run Trail. Turn around and you’ll have a great, pretty short hike with plenty of stops for good photo ops.
Don’t forget your water, sunglasses, good sneakers (or boots if it’s muddy or you have crappy ankles like Kurt does) and your camera. There are some great photo ops you will definitely want to document (#doitfortheinsta).
(extra points to you if you realized these pictures were from two different trips but wore the same thing)