Timeline for Permit Applications:

Regardless of the event type, permits should be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Permits are approved on a first come first serve basis. Earlier submittal is recommended especially in the instance of complex events.


What Requires a Special Use Permit?

Great Falls requires visitors to obtain permits before participating in certain activities such as weddings or ceremonies, special events, and commercial filming and photography. Left unregulated, these activities could cause harmful impacts to the park's natural and/or cultural resources or to the enjoyment of the park by other visitors. Below are common events that require Special Use Permits (SUP).


Wedding Cermonies


Scattering Ashes


First Amendment

Freedom of speech, the press, religion, and assembly are Constitutional Rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect legitimate government interests. Therefore, in order to protect park resources, the NPS may regulate certain aspects of First Amendment activities, such as the time, the place and the manner in which they are conducted.


Commercial Filming and Photos, Races, and Other Public Gatherings:

Special Use Permits for Commercial Filming and Photos, Organized Races, and Other Public Gatherings for George Washington Parkway are completed through the National Mall Office. Visit the National Mall’s permit page to learn more about the application process and restrictions. Need further information? Call 202-245-4715.  


Incidental Business Permits:

Incidental Business Permits are required for any business that will be bringing paying clients into the park for any reason, including:

  • Rock climbing
  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking tours
  • Kayaking, rafting, and canoeing


Drone use is prohibited.

In part, under 36 CFR 1.5, launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within boundaries of Great Falls Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.


Need More Information?

If you need more information or specifics surrounding potential permits, contact the Special Use Permit office.


Phone: 703-289-2513

Last updated: May 7, 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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