• Great Falls of the Potomac in summer

    Great Falls

    Park Virginia

Nature & Science

Low water in September 2012

Water levels are often low in the summertime.

National Park Service

The Potomac River and the unique geological features have shaped the land at Great Falls for millennia. Floods regularly occur along this stretch of the river, taking away soils and plants and depositing new silt and seeds to take their place. This is a dynamic environment, home to rare plant communities and a variety of wildlife.

Most of the park's 800 acres are forested. Throughout the year, over 150 different species of birds can be seen at Great Falls Park. Native animals, such as whitetail deer, fox, box turtles, squirrels, coyotes, bats, and chipmunks also call this place home. A wide variety of plants, including several rare species, thrives in this environment.

A walk along the Potomac or through the woods on one of the park's trails offers a glimpse into the natural scenery here. Remember, the animals here are wild. Do not attempt to feed or touch wildlife. You can help take care of the park by not disturbing plants or wildlife and staying on the trail.

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