Billy Goat Trail—All Sections

A man and boy look into the Potomac river

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People scramble up the Billy Goat Trail
Hikers scramble up a section of Billy Goat A

Photo Credit: NPS

Choose Your Trail

Located southeast of Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, in Potomac, Maryland; The Billy Goat Trail, one of the busiest trails in the D.C. area, contains three different sections that total eight miles and provide fun and adventure for all ages. Please check Current Park Conditions before your trip to confirm the trail that you want to hike is open.

Section A—1.75 miles

  • No dogs alllowed
  • Technical and strenuous

Section B—1.4 miles

  • Dogs Allowed
  • Challenging
  • Close parking available from Anglers Inn

Section C—1.6 miles

  • Dogs Allowed
  • Easier
  • Parking available at Carderock


  • Good, comfortable, broken-in, hiking shoes that grip well on rocks and hills; The majority of injuries—sprained ankles, tweaked knees, and falls—happen because people did not wear good shoes.

  • Two liters of water per person
  • Snacks
  • Suncreen and a hat
  • A map


  • Access all three of the sections from the towpath between Great Falls Tavern and Carderock (Anglers is between section A and B).
  • The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center provides a place (Wednesday through Sunday) to get more information about hikes and the history of the area. The bathrooms by the Great Falls Tavern parking lot open daily.
  • If you’re hiking Section A or B, parking is avalaible at Anglers recreational area downstream. If you’re hiking Section C, Carderock recreational area is the closest parking lot.

The Perils of the Potomac River

  • Don't become a number. There are over 400 emergency calls and rescues each year on the trail.
  • Wading and standing on rocks at the water’s edge are extremely dangerous: one false step can have dire consequences . Fines of $200 or more may be charged for swimming in the Potomac along the trail. If you’re interested in learning why this part of the river is so deadly, check out this article in the Washington Post.


Leave No Trace

  • Protect riparian areas by remaining on the trail.
  • Follow the blue blazes that mark the path.
  • Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. This is a trash free park, if you pack it in- pack it out.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.

Hiking Trails of Great Falls, MD


Last updated: April 18, 2019

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Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740



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