Guided Tours

An Artist's painting representing an African American man and female child standing in a flat boat, holding poles for pushing the boat, with red, white, and blue swag draped from the front edge, over water, the US Capitol building in the distance..
Eight-year-old Mary Ann Plummer Harris piloting the boat with her grandfather, Captain George Pointer

© Richard Swartz

Ranger Programs

Every Saturday and Sunday: Purpose, Pointer and the Patowmack

11:00 am - Ranger Guided walk along Patowmack Canal Trail.

Meet at Overlook 3, approx. 1 mile, mostly flat, easy walking path. Allow 1 hour.

1:00 pm - Ranger Talk

Presented at Overlook 3 near the log benches, seating available, approx. 30 minutes.


Learn about the life of Capt. George Pointer, a formerly enslaved African American, who was rented to the Patowmack Canal company as a 13 year old enslaved laborer. At 19 years old, in 1792, he purchased his freedom and continued working for the canal company over 40 years. He became a ship captain and went on to become superintendent of the Patowmack Canal Company.

His work on the Patowmack Canal would go on to lay the foundation for the C&O Canal, which stretched over 184 miles across the early Americas, bringing thousands of shipments of cargo from the Ohio River Valley to the East Coast for over 100 years.


Bird Walk - Volunteer guided approx. 2 1/2 miles allow up to 3 hours

Every Sunday 8:00 am, Meet in the Main Parking Lot.

Great Falls Park sponsors a weekly bird walk which meets in the main parking lot near the Visitors' Center at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings, year round, rain or shine. All those with an interest in the natural world - beginning and experienced birders alike - are welcome including youth, although minors will need to be accompanied by an adult. No dogs, please.
Programs will be canceled if there are hazardous weather conditions or park closures. Plan ahead by checking the forecast! Park closures will be posted on the Alerts Page and on Great Falls' Facebook Page. Great Falls Park charges an entrance fee, but there is no additional charge to attend programs.

Ranger-led educational programs are a great way to explore the park for school groups, scout groups, and more. If you are interested in a ranger-led program for your group, explore the Plan a Field Trip at Great Falls page.

Last updated: March 18, 2024

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Mailing Address:

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

McLean, VA 22101


703 757-3101
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