Great Falls: Virginia Side

McLean, McLean

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Address: 9200 Old Dominion Drive,
Phone: (703) 757-3101
Hours: Open 7:00 AM to dark. Peak times are weekend afternoons.
Tips: Water, snacks, hiking shoes, appropriate clothing are essential. Sunscreen, bug spray and picnic gear may be appropriate.

Great Falls is the perfect place for an active family excursion. You’ll find great hiking and breathtaking scenery, and easy access from I-495 (Capital Beltway). Enjoy a hike on the multi-use paths, many fit for biking, horseback riding and dog walking (provided pets are kept on a 6-foot leash). Rock-climbing and kayaking are also permitted here.

Adults and kids alike will revel in the terrain, with stunning cliffs, the majestic Potomac River, raging rapids and ample wildlife visible throughout the various paths. Trails are rated easy to difficult, with trailheads conveniently located adjacent to parking lots. Many paths are stroller and wheelchair friendly.

The trails can become treacherous during and after heavy rainfall, with muddy rocks, slippery gravel and vernal ponds. For families with bolder, older children, this may add to the fun, but for those with little ones, it’s best to wait for fairer weather. Trails may close due to flooding, so it’s best to check what’s open before you go.


The Virginia side offers 15 miles of trails that meander through the trees and pass along the falls, affording hikers fantastic views of the Mather Gorge. Many paths are paved, wheelchair accessible and/or stroller friendly, including two of the gorgeous overlooks. The Visitor Center allows families to take a break, grab a bite and learn about Great Falls.

Current Weather: McLean

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