Sunday, April 1, 2018

Great Falls in Maryland

Exploring Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park in Maryland

Great Falls is a series of rapids and waterfalls on the Potomac River straddling the Maryland and Virginia border about 14 miles northwest of Washington, DC. Great Falls Park provides access in Virginia and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park provides access from Maryland. We visited the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park during our road trip to Annapolis.




The park actually had more to it than we had expected. We were looking forward to a bit of a break from the road reveling in nature. The section of the park that we visited actually also includes a historic tavern, a series of locks and more. The entire park encompasses 184.50 miles in Maryland, DC and West Virginia. So, we visited only a small segment!

Historic tavern now a Visitor Center at Great Falls in Maryland
Historic tavern now a Visitor Center 
The Great Falls Tavern dates back to 1828. Tucked inside are detailed displays on the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and its importance to the economy of the region.

Learning the history of transporting goods through the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Learning the history of transporting goods through the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Along our hike to see the thunderous Great Falls, we encountered various locks. Pretty neat to see them up close!

Locks at Great Falls in Maryland


In warmer months, you can ride on a canal boat.


The walk to the scenic falls overlook is not terribly far from the Visitor Center and is over easy terrain.


We were initially expecting just one incredibly scenic spot. We were wrong! As we walked along the boardwalk, we paused quite often to absorb the striking landscape and force of nature. Scenes with various blends of water, rocks and foliage each yielded to a sense of wonder in all of us.

Waterfalls and rapids dot the landscape at Great Falls in Maryland
Waterfalls,rapids and rock formations punctuate the landscape.

We could have stayed here all day. Great Falls is such a magical place. In the future, we would like to not only return but visit other sections of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. This was an incredible start to our stay in Maryland!

Rapids at Great Falls in Maryland


To know about Great Falls:
  • Great place for hiking, birding and absorbing nature.
  • Restrooms are readily available.
  • Hiking to scenic spots is pretty accessible.
  • Don't skip the Visitor Center -- take a little time to learn the history of the area.
  • In the gift shop, you will find some made in U.S.A. items.
  • Our parking pass gave us three days to explore the spots in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Historic Park; so try to see more than one if you can.
**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.


Exploring Great Falls in Maryland


3 comments:

  1. That's great that such a beautiful place is so close to DC. It's always fun to be pleasantly surprised by how much better a place is than you expected.

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  2. This looks really lovely! I can almost hear the roar of the falls. You captured it's beauty. It's made all the more interesting to me by the history of the area. I think I would especially enjoy the river boat tour!

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