“An easy trail that parallels the Potomac River between GFNP and Riverbend County Park.
— Brian Smith
Birding · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail runs from Great Falls National Park to the Riverbend County Park. Most of the trail is straight and level, with the exception of a steep, rocky hill that must be climbed to bypass the Aqueduct Dam. This trail will flood when the Potomac river levels rise, and trail conditions after a period of high water will be very muddy.
Swimming and wading are prohibited in both Great Falls and Riverbend Park. Dogs must be on a leash at all times in both parks. Use care while hiking near the Aqueduct Dam and do not attempt to walk out onto the dam itself. Low-head dams like this one have a powerful hydraulic on the downstream side. Getting caught in one of those hydraulics is usually fatal.
This trail connects to the Gabrielson Trail. It is possible to continue to Algonkian Regional Park in Loudoun County, a one-way distance of approximately 12 miles.
Flora & Fauna
This trail runs next to the Potomac River. It is an excellent place for wildflowers in the spring and bird-watching throughout the entire year. Watch for signs of beaver activity as you go. The occasional bald eagle, along with herons, ducks, and other water birds are easily observed from the trail. Fishing spots are abundant here and are easy to access from the trail. A Maryland or Virginia state fishing license is required for ages 16 and up.