I found Great Falls Park by driving past it last weekend. Although it’s a national park, it’s not shown on the Virginia map at NPS’s website. (If I’m missing it entirely feel free to point it out. It seems to me that their map of Virginia is missing two counties and a couple of cities. So strange.)
Great Falls has waterfalls from the Potomac River, remains of the Patowmack Canal, ruins from Matildaville, and features Mather Gorge. It’s a rather small park (800 acres/1.25 sq miles), with fairly flat trails.
I chatted up a park ranger who told me they’ve had no drownings this year, and that is very unusual. They had eight or nine last year. He said it’s often people who try to rock climb with no gear, jump off of the cliffs, or swim across the river and back. The park is full of signs that mince no words. IF YOU FALL IN YOU WILL DIE.
When we got there, Good Man said, “How come nobody told me you could see this in Northern Virginia? Why have I never heard of this?”
Great Falls Panorama
(Much Larger Image)
Galls of Some Sort
Ladybug Hanging Out
Matildaville was a city that basically disappeared when the canal closed around 1830. These are the ruins from one building in the city.
This was taken near some remains of the Patowmack Canal.