• Great Falls of the Potomac in summer

    Great Falls

    Park Virginia

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    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 »

The Great Falls of the Potomac

Great Falls of the Potomac

Great Falls of the Potomac

NPS Photo

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.

This dramatic scene makes Great Falls Park, located just fifteen miles from the Nation's Capital, a popular site with local residents and tourists from around the world who are visiting the Washington area.

The falls consist of cascading rapids and several 20 foot waterfalls, with a total 76 foot drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile.

The Potomac River narrows from nearly 1000 feet, just above the falls, to between 60 and 100 feet wide as it rushes through Mather Gorge, a short distance below the falls. The Great Falls of the Potomac display the steepest and most spectacular fall line rapids of any eastern river.

Did You Know?

The second carousel in Great Falls Park

There used to be a carousel at Great Falls Park. A flood caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972 damaged the carousel beyond repair.