Day Trip: Great Falls National Park

If you’re looking for a day trip from the hustle and bustle of D.C., Great Falls is the spot for you! It’s just 30 minute drive away, and just up the river a ways. Here’s your ultimate guide for a day trip to Great Falls from the District!

Getting There

Great Falls National Park is only 30 minutes, or 17 miles, from the middle of D.C., but it seems like a whole world away! Just put “Great Falls National Park” into your GPS, and you’ll be on your way. The drive should be a nice one, especially the closer you get to Great Falls.

A day at Great Falls is always an epic day! This is the view from Overlook 1.

Know Before You Go

Opening Hours and Admission

The park is open from 7:00am until 30 minutes after sunset. Admission is $20 per car.

There are Bathrooms

Ladies, rejoice! There are bathrooms at the Visitor Center. There was also toilet paper, soap, and a hand drier, but no paper towels, for your planning purposes.

There are Multiple Trails

There are several trails to follow at the National Park, all of which boast beautiful views of the Potomac, and the trails to the south of the Visitor Center will give you gorgeous views of the falls.

The National Park is on Both the Virginia and Maryland Sides

One of the more popular trails is the Billy Goat Trail, which is on the Maryland side. Overall, however, both sides provide beautiful views, hiking, and gorgeous landscape.

Every day is a beautiful day at Great Falls!


The entry feel is $20 per car, but you can come back as often as you like for a week.

Unless, of course, you park at Riverbend Park. You can park there for free, but it is a mile and a half walk (on a lovely trail by the river) to get to the Great Falls overlooks. Additionally, if you arrive before the park officially opens or after it officially closes, you can get in for free.

Overlook 2


As mentioned above, there are multiple trails to follow on either side of the Potomac, all of them well-marked. They’re relatively flat, which makes them good for trail running, as long as you get there early. The trails can get crowded on weekends and holidays, so just be aware!

Not your everyday walk through the woods!
Everyone loves an epic view!
More here: The Best Hiking Tips You’ll Ever Read

Want more? Check out my Washington, D.C., Page for more on planning your trip to D.C., or my United States Page for more about exploring Virginia!

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One response to “Day Trip: Great Falls National Park”

  1. […] More here: The Best Way to Spend a Day Trip to Great Falls National Park […]

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