River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Easy enough that the entire family can enjoy the walk along the Potomac River. Overlooks good for family pics with the falls in the background.
If you want a nice hike along the river but find the Great Falls lot full (or just don't want to pay to join the tourists), it easy to start from Riverbend Park instead and hike down to the three overlooks. Plenty of room on the trail for a family outing.
Need to Know
Free parking at Riverbend Park.
This hike takes care of the main reason to go to Great Falls Park -- see the falls -- without actually driving into the Great Falls Park. An enjoyable alternative in its own right, Riverbend Park has a boat ramp, picnic facilities, and its own trail system. But today the main reason for visiting was to get a nice hike in, avoid the more crowded Great Falls parking area, and see the Falls just downstream.
Down and back, no loop. The hike along the river was a little muddy after the previous night's rain, but easily passable on the wide trail. Mostly dirt and stones, there is one stretch of about a hundred yards with a lot of small rocks near the point where the trail enters Great Falls Park. Otherwise it's easy hiking down to the Great Falls visitor center and the three overlooks.
Flora & Fauna
Lots of signs along the trail mention "rare plants", but I'm not knowledgeable enough know what to look for.
Shared By: J H