• Great Falls of the Potomac in summer

    Great Falls

    Park Virginia

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  • No Water in Visitor Center Courtyard

    Portable toilets are available next to the visitor center on the side nearest the river. Restrooms with running water are available near the lower parking lot. More »

History & Culture

Two women view the falls in the 1920s.

Two women view the falls in the 1920s.

A trading place. A place to fish. A canal and town. An amusement park. A place to discover nature. During the past ten thousand years, the Great Falls of the Potomac has been the location of all of these, and more. From trading to recreation, people have been drawn here for thousands of years.

The reasons why people come to Great Falls, both in the past and in the present, are as varied as the people themselves. On these pages, discover the history and the stories of this unique place.

Did You Know?

Pothole carved by the Potomac River

The round holes you see in the rocks along the River Trail were carved by the Potomac. Some of these potholes are large enough to stand in and can take over 500 years to form.