THING TO DO

Soak Up Spectacular Views at the Great Falls Overlooks

Visitors at an overlook in Great Falls Park.
Visitors at an overlook in Great Falls Park.

NPS

Potomac River
Potomac River at Great Falls Park.

NPS

Visit the Overlooks

Just 15 miles from the Nation's Capital, Great Falls Park provides an abundance of outdoor activies. Explore the park through binoculars or a camera lens and get around by foot, boat, climbing or horseback!

Whitewater kayaking is the most common type of boating in the pak with sections of the Potomac River ranging from Class II (moderately easy) to Class VI (extreme). Climbing begins downstream of Overlook #2 with routes ranging in length and difficulty. Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and picknicing are among other popular activities.

Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park.
Details

Leashed pets are welcome on all park trails, parking lots, falls overlooks, and picnic areas. There are no off-leash areas in Great Falls Park. Owners must have physical control of the animal, using a six foot leash, at all times. Electronic or 'shock' collars do not count as a leash. With the exception of service dogs, pets are not permitted in the visitor center, or on ranger-led programs.

The leash law is in effect to protect pets and people. Be aware of dangerous currents in the Potomac, cliffs, venomous snakes, and the safety and comfort of other visitors and keep your pet on a leash at all times. Loose dogs can become prey for the coyotes that live in the park.

An off leash dog park is available in Reston, about fifteen minutes from Great Falls Park. Other off leash parks are located in Herndon, Arlington, Alexandria city, and Vienna.

Fairfax County parks, including Riverbend Park and the Cross County Trail, require all pets to be on a six foot leash at all times.

During the warmer months, remember not to leave your pet unattended in a car. Temperatures in closed vehicles can be fatal to pets.

Great Falls Entrance Fee - Vehicle - $10.00

3-day pass. Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. Organized groups are not eligible for the vehicle permit. Is NOT valid for entrance into the C &O Canal National Historic Park.

Great Falls Entrance Fee - Person - $5.00

Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle, or equestrian. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge. Is NOT valid for entrance into the C &O Canal National Historic Park.

Entrance Passes:

Great Falls Annual Pass - $30.00

Valid for twelve months from the date of purchase. Pass is valid at Great Falls Park and C &O Canal National Historic Park for Entrance Fee only. Admits the pass holder and occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR pass holder and three person (16 and older) where per person ENTRANCE FEES are charged.

Street Address

9200 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, VA 22102

The Maryland side of Great Falls is part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The street address for the Maryland side is:
11710 MacArthur Blvd.
Potomac MD 20854

 

Directions

From Maryland via I-495
Take exit 44 for VA-193 (Georgetown Pike). Turn right onto VA-193 west at the stop light at the top of the ramp. Drive about three miles and turn right onto Old Dominion Drive at the stop light. The entrance to the park is about one mile down the road.

From Virginia via I-495
Take exit 44 for VA-193 (Georgetown Pike). Turn left onto VA-193 west at the stop light at the top of the ramp. Drive about three miles and turn right onto Old Dominion Drive at the stop light. The entrance to the park is about one mile down the road.

From DC and Virginia via the George Washington Memorial Parkway
Take the 14th Street, Memorial, Roosevelt, or Key Bridge to the George Washington Memorial Parkway north. Take the exit for I-495 south (to Virginia). Use the right lane to exit onto VA-193 (Georgetown Pike). Turn right onto VA-193 west at the stop light at the top of the ramp. Drive about three miles and turn right onto Old Dominion Drive at the stop light. The entrance to the park is about one mile down the road.

From Virginia via VA-7 west (Leesburg Pike)
Turn right onto Towlston Road. Turn left onto Old Dominion Drive. The entrance to the park is about one mile down the road.

If you have a question about directions, please contact the park at 703-285-2965.

Park Hours

Open 30 minutes past sunset.

Standard Hours

  • Sunday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Monday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Tuesday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Wednesday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Thursday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Friday: 7:00 AM - Sunset
  • Saturday: 7:00 AM - Sunset

Closed on Christmas Day.

Accessibility Information

Accessible parking is available in the main parking lot. The unloading zone by the main picnic area has an accessible ramp. Overlooks Two and Three are fully accessible, as is the Patowmack Canal Trail to the Holding Basin and the guard gate.

The exhibits, programs, and slide presentations on the upper floor of the Visitor Center are reached via a ramp on either end of the building. There is one wheelchair available in the visitor center for loan, free of charge, on a first come, first serve basis.

If you have any questions, please contact the park at 703-285-2965.

Last updated: May 15, 2017