Viewing the Falls

Three overlooks give different views of the Great Falls. All are within a five to ten minute walk from the Visitor Center. Access to the Falls is by walking only. Overlooks 2 and 3 are handicap and stroller accessible. For your safety, do not climb or go beyond the fences. Swimming and wading are not permitted anywhere within Great Falls Park.

Rushing water over rocks
View from Overlook 1

National Park Service

Overlook 1

This overlook is located to the left of the south end of the Visitor Center. It is the closest you can get to the Falls themselves. A short trail leads down to a dirt viewing platform. The rest of the overlook is rocky and will require some easy climbing. Do not go beyond the fences. Falls from this area can cause serious injury or death.

Overlook 1 does not have an accessible trail.

Water rushing over rocks.
View from Overlook 2

National Park Service

Overlook 2

This overlook is located further down the trail. Most of the waterfall can be seen from this overlook. Take a left on the small wooden footbridge by the Patowmack Canal wayside. A staircase and ramp leads down to a large wooden viewing platform.

There is an accessible trail to Overlook 2.

Water rushing over rocks.
View from Overlook 3

National Park Service

Overlook 3

Follow the trail that goes past Overlook 2 across the second small wooden footbridge. On your left, you will see the High Water Marks pole, with markers showing how high the floods reached. Two viewing platforms provide the best view of Great Falls. This overlook is the last place that the Falls can be viewed.

Overlook 3 does have an accessible trail.


The overlook that you see across the river in Maryland is located within C&O Canal National Historical Park. No bridges connect Great Falls Park with C&O Canal. If you would like to see the falls from the Maryland side, it will be necessary to drive. Visit their website for visitor information and directions.

Last updated: April 12, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Great Falls Park
c/o Turkey Run Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean, VA 22101


703 757-3101
Visitor information

Contact Us