Great Falls Field Trips


The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park's Great Falls location offers K-12 field trips in the spring and fall. Programs are offered Wednesdays and Thursdays. The address for the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center is 11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, MD 20854. Please Note: The Great Falls Entrance Station charges an entrance fee to park visitors. However, please inquire about the Academic Fee Waiver available for student/educational groups. To make a field trip reservation please email us at cocanaleducation@nps.gov or call the Canal Classrooms Education Reservation Line at 301-714-2213.



Weathering and Erosion: Students will develop and improve their understanding of the effects of both physical and chemical weathering as well as erosion. Students will engage in viewing a hands-on model of weathering and then hike to the Great Falls Overlook, investigating various examples of weathering and erosion. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of wind, ice and vegetation and the part they play in weathering and erosion.
Location: Great Falls Tavern and Olmsted Island trail
Length: 2 hours
Availability: Offered in the spring (March-May).

Geology Walk: Through a hands-on activity, students will improve and expand their understanding of how rock formations are created. As they walk down the towpath and along the Olmsted Island Trail to the Great Falls Overlook and Potomac Gorge, students will identify and observe evidence in patterns (layers, folding) of the rock formations. Students can participate in pre and post activities that will increase their knowledge about rocks.
Location: Great Falls Tavern and Olmsted Island trail
Length: 2 hours
Availability: Offered in the spring (March-May).

Time in a Tree (STEM): In this activity, students will gain a basic understanding of native trees and plants in the Great Falls area. Students will work in groups to identify, measure, and estimate the height of trees around the Great Falls Tavern. Students will learn about what factors help and hurt development, as well as why trees are important for a healthy environment. Enhance student learning by completing pre- and post-visit activities.
Location: Great Falls Tavern
Length: 2 hours
Availability: Offered in the fall (September-November).


Ecology Walk: Students will increase their understanding of habitats by observing an extensive variety of plants and animals in their natural habitat along the River Trail and Towpath. Students will identify and describe how the habitat meets basic needs of the plants and animals, what adaptations have been made and how invasive species have affected the habitat. Both pre- and post- activities will expand the students understanding and learning.
Location: River Trail and Towpath
Length: 2 hours

Availability: Offered in the fall (September-November).


Transportation and History:
Students will experience a mule-drawn canal boat ride which includes locking through a historic canal lift lock. Focus includes life on the canal, and technology of the lock structure. Students will "meet the mules" and talk with park rangers on the importance of mules to canal boat operations. In the Tavern Classroom, students will problem solve to discover the efficiency of transporting goods on a water way during the 19th century. They will analyze the natural resources of different geographic areas to determine the economic value in creating a transportation route along the Potomac River.
Location: Great Falls Tavern, Mercer Canal Boat, Lock 20
Length: 2 hours
Availability: Please inquire about the boat program schedule.

Last updated: July 1, 2022

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Mailing Address:

142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport , MD 21795

Phone:

301-739-4200

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