Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park This page is maintained by NPS employees for information and discussion. For questions and concerns please visit www.nps.gov/grfa or call 703-757-3101.
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Park Hours: 7:00am to (30) minutes after sunset. While this is an opportunity to participate in an open forum, we ask you to please keep your comments and wall posts family- friendly. Please be considerate of the opinions of others. We will not allow graphic, obscene, explicit, or racial comments or submissions. We will not allow comments that are abusive, hateful, or intended to defame a person, group, or organization. We do not allow solicitations or advertisements. This includes promotions or endorsements of any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency. These posts and or links are subject to deletion. People who continue to post such content and/or links may be subject to page participation restrictions and/or removal from the page. We will not permit attempts to defame or defraud any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency. We do not allow comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity. You participate at your own risk. You take personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided. Posting of external links on this site that are intended as advertising (or to drive traffic to websites unrelated to the Great Falls Park or George Washington Memorial Parkway), or do not contribute to dialogue and discussions about the park may be deleted. People who continue to post such links may be subject to page participation restrictions and/or removal from the page. External links do not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the U.S. National Park Service or the U.S. Department of Interior.

Operating as usual

Although Great Falls Park is closed on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, we will re-open Dec. 26.  What about the annual Christmas...
12/24/2020

Although Great Falls Park is closed on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, we will re-open Dec. 26. What about the annual Christmas Bird Count, you ask. Ours was held the Sunday before Christmas and you can view the results on our webpage. There are still other Christmas Bird Counts in the region after Christmas, the program runs through Jan. 5. https://www.nps.gov/grfa/learn/nature/birds.htm
As a reminder, the Great Falls Park gates are closed, do not park illegally along any of the roads outside of the park. Visit us on Dec. 26 or another day when we are open.

12/13/2020

Sunday 12/13/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:45 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

#FindingPeace  #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque
12/08/2020

#FindingPeace #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

Did you know there are more organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on earth?  Soils are the found...
12/04/2020
Forest Soils (U.S. National Park Service)

Did you know there are more organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on earth? Soils are the foundation of land-based ecosystems. They affect all parts of the environment: water, atmosphere, animals, vegetation, and climate.

Click here to learn more about the National Capital Area's soil chemistry and physical characteristics: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/forest-soils.htm#

#WorldSoilDay #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

Soils are the foundation of land-based ecosystems. They affect all parts of the environment: water, atmosphere, animals, vegetation, and climate. The National Capital Region Network Inventory & Monitoring program (NCRN I&M) collected data on soil chemistry and physical characteristics in 426 permane...

With the end of one year and the beginning of another, this is a time many of us look back and reflect on what we have f...
12/02/2020

With the end of one year and the beginning of another, this is a time many of us look back and reflect on what we have faced in our lives, and in this world; what we have done, should have done, did not do, will do… Many of us have seen times of happiness, joy, sadness, anger, confusion, unsettledness, change… We all have many responsibilities and sometimes the pressure of these can weigh heavily upon us. We may forget to look beyond what we are facing. But, there is so much beauty and peace in this world, in our National Parks. Please, consider visiting a National Park and look for the beauty that is out there… It is there for all of us to share… Reflect on your journey... and what this means for you. We hope you will find peace in our National Parks. #FindingPeace #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

11/28/2020

Saturday 11/28/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:10 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

11/27/2020

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migratory and year-round resident Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures.

Visit Great Falls Park today to look for vultures soaring through the thermals above the falls, and to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner! Although they would gladly pick through the remains of your leftover turkey, they should not! Although the noble Turkey Vulture is an excellent scavenger of Mother Nature’s leftover offerings, as they love carrion, leftover picnic trash is not part of a healthy diet for the park’s vulture family gatherings. Always dispose of your picnic remains properly in the trash or take them home to recycle.

BTW, our official park Turkey Vulture needs a name, help us out a bit and post your suggestions...

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migra...
11/26/2020

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migratory and year-round resident Turkey Vultures as well as Black Vultures, which are also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Visit Great Falls Park today and look for vultures soaring through the thermals above the falls, and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner! Although the vultures would gladly pick through the remains of your leftover turkey, they should not! The noble Turkey Vulture is an excellent scavenger of Mother Nature’s leftover offerings, as they love carrion, but leftover picnic trash is not part of a healthy diet for the park’s vulture family gatherings. Whether you come today or another time, always dispose of your picnic remains properly in the trash or take them home to recycle.

BTW, our official park Turkey Vulture needs a name, help us out a bit and post your suggestions...

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migra...
11/26/2020

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migratory and year-round resident Turkey Vultures as well as Black Vultures, which are also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Visit Great Falls Park today to look for vultures soaring through the thermals above the falls, and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner! Although they would gladly pick through the remains of your leftover turkey, they should not! Although the noble Turkey Vulture is an excellent scavenger of Mother Nature’s leftover offerings, as they love carrion, leftover picnic trash is not part of a healthy diet for the park’s vulture family gatherings. Whether you visit today or at another time, always dispose of your picnic remains properly in the trash or take them home to recycle.

BTW, our official park Turkey Vulture needs a name, help us out a bit and post your suggestions...

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migra...
11/26/2020

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Great Falls Park Staff officially pardoned the park’s Turkey Vulture. Our park supports both migratory and year-round resident Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures.

Visit Great Falls Park today to look for vultures soaring through the thermals above the falls, and to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner! Although they would gladly pick through the remains of your leftover turkey, they should not! Although the noble Turkey Vulture is an excellent scavenger of Mother Nature’s leftover offerings, as they love carrion, leftover picnic trash is not part of a healthy diet for the park’s vulture family gatherings. Always dispose of your picnic remains properly in the trash or take them home to recycle.

BTW, our official park Turkey Vulture needs a name, help us out a bit and post your suggestions...

11/21/2020

Saturday 11/21/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:25 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

Nov. 19 is WORLD TOILET DAY!!  What is the one thing, the Most Important Thing, EVERYONE wants when they travel? At a Re...
11/19/2020

Nov. 19 is WORLD TOILET DAY!! What is the one thing, the Most Important Thing, EVERYONE wants when they travel? At a Rest Stop? Gas Station? Restaurant? A National Park? A clean restroom!

Today is a great day to remind everyone that we all live in a watershed—what is on the ground, in the sewer, or in our toilets eventually ends up in water somewhere. Clean water and proper sanitation are essential for everyone. The Potomac River is a source of drinking water for millions of people. It is also the drain for millions and millions of toilets. What goes in, must come out, yet water can only be treated, filtered or cleaned so much. Today and every day, please flush responsibly.

Learn more about where it goes when the toilets at Great Falls Park are flushed. https://www.dcwater.com/wastewater-treatment

11/14/2020

Saturday 11/14/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:35 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

The Potomac River and Great Falls have held great importance to people for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence s...
11/12/2020

The Potomac River and Great Falls have held great importance to people for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests that Great Falls was being used by Virginia’s earliest American Indians since at least Paleo times. A powerful spiritual and practical relationship between these early people and their environment was forged by their dependence upon the natural resources of this region.

Great Falls Park provides a unique setting to imagine the life of America’s early people and consider your own way of living in our modern world. How was this land important to the people of long ago? How is this land important to you now?

11/08/2020

Sunday 11/8/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:20 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

11/07/2020

Saturday 11/7/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:50 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

11/02/2020

Current status at Great Falls Park on November 2, 2020:

Great Falls Park has returned to normal operations as of 2:00pm. Power is back. Drinking water and bathrooms are accessible and fees have resumed selling passes.

10/24/2020

Saturday 10/24/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:50 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

10/18/2020

Sunday 10/18/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:05 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

10/17/2020

Saturday 10/17/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:50, entrance road is open and there is parking available.

10/11/2020

UPDATE: Regular restroom facilities are again available at Great Falls Park. Please be sure to bring your own drinking water.

_____________
All restrooms at Great Falls Park are currently out of service. Porta Jons are set up at the park visitor center and the lower parking area.

Drinking water is also unavailable, please plan ahead and bring your own.

10/11/2020
OTD Captain George Pointer's Birthday

Captain George Pointer was one of the first enslaved laborers rented to the Patowmack Canal Company, and after buying his freedom at age 19 his progress lead him to be the last superitendent of the canal project here at Great Falls Park.

He was born 247 years ago today, and we decided to commemorate his birthday with a craft project. This tutorial demonstrates how to make a feather quill pen. This is likely similar to what George Pointer would have used to write his historic 12 page petition, which saved his cottage, to the directors of the C&O Canal in September 1829.

10/10/2020

Saturday, 10/10/20

***UPDATE***
As of 3:34 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.
Check this post for updates throughout the day!

10/04/2020

Sunday 10/4/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:50 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

10/03/2020

Saturday 10/3/2020

***UPDATE***

AS of 3:00 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

09/27/2020

Sunday 9/27/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 3:45 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has been reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

We are getting ready for another busy weekend here at Great Falls Park. This Saturday, September 26, is #NationalPublicL...
09/25/2020

We are getting ready for another busy weekend here at Great Falls Park. This Saturday, September 26, is #NationalPublicLandsDay and entrance fees will be waived at all national parks, including Great Falls Park!

We encourage you to visit us, or one of the many other national parks in the area, to celebrate this day designated to recognize outdoor stewardship.

Please plan ahead! We anticipate that the park will remain busy all day, so planning to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon may help you to avoid the busiest times. The park is open from 7 am until dark.

Whether you come for a long hike, to enjoy a leisurely picnic, or something in between, we encourage you to #RecreateResponsibly ! Please remember that swimming and wading are illegal in the Potomac River.

More information on National Public Lands Day can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/public-lands-day.htm

The Great Falls are beautiful in every season, but have you ever wondered why we have seasons?As our Earth orbits the su...
09/22/2020

The Great Falls are beautiful in every season, but have you ever wondered why we have seasons?

As our Earth orbits the sun, it wobbles like a top. The hemisphere tilted towards the sun experiences long, hot summer days, while the hemisphere tilted away has short, cold winter days. As the Earth tilts between these two extremes, we have spring and fall. In March and September there are two days when everywhere on Earth has twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness—the equinoxes. (“Equi-nox” comes from Latin words that mean “equal-night”.) In Virginia and all of the northern hemisphere, this year September 22nd is the Autumn Equinox, the end of summer and beginning of fall.

Learn more about the equinoxes from NOAA here: https://www.weather.gov/dvn/Climate_Astronomical_Seasons

09/20/2020

Sunday 9/20/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:45 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

09/19/2020

Saturday 9/19/2020

***UPDATE***

As of 2:45 pm, parking is available and the entrance road to Great Falls Park has reopened.

Please plan ahead and expect delays for the remainder of the day.

Check this post for updates throughout the day!

09/05/2020
OTD: September 05, 1829

One hundred ninety-one years ago, Captain George Pointer sent a 12 page petition to the new directors of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. His historic letter was in protest of the canals proposed construction path. The new canal threatened to flood his home of over 40 years, and would have rendered himself and his wife, Elizabeth, destitute. So, the 57 year old former slave wrote a biographical petition which chronicled his life and career as an exceptional canal worker for the original Patowmack Canal Company.

Learn more on our website:

https://www.nps.gov/grfa/learn/historyculture/captain-george-pointer.htm

09/05/2020
OTD: September 05, 1829

One hundred ninety-one years ago, Captain George Pointer sent a 12 page petition to the new directors of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. His historic letter was in protest of the canals proposed construction path. The new canal threatened to flood his home of over 40 years, and would have rendered himself and his wife, Elizabeth, destitute. So, the 57 year old former slave wrote a biographical petition which chronicled his life and career as an exceptional canal worker for the original Patowmack Canal Company.

Visitors insisting on walking off trails into forests is causing exponentially increased damage to plant and animal life...
09/04/2020

Visitors insisting on walking off trails into forests is causing exponentially increased damage to plant and animal life here at Great Falls Park. Are you doing your part to protect this natural area?

Address

9200 Old Dominion Dr
Tysons Corner, VA
22102

Not available

General information

Great Falls Park is open from 7:00 AM to thirty (30) minutes after sunset year round and closed on December 25th. The snack bar is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday (only the months of March to November). We welcome comments and questions about the park. Please keep in mind that this is a family friendly site. Posts that contain foul language, condone or encourage illegal activities, contain solicitations, or are offensive in nature will be deleted. The Maryland side of Great Falls, including the Billy Goat Trail, is part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park which is managed separately. Their website is www.nps.gov/choh and their phone number is 301-767-3714.

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Comments

Why were there at least 5 emergency vehicles some with emergency boats at Great Falls Park today?
Pre Internet , Pre Space Station era
A few shots from this past Friday while taking my fam to visit this majestic national park. #greatfalls #greatfallspark #greatfallsva
Beginning on Saturday June 13th, 2020, The National Park Service will allow for greater visitor access to the awesome Great Falls Park by reopening the the multiple parking Lot's to 100% capacity. Park visitors are asked to adhere to the ultra important physical distancing guidelines and to avoid the closed facilities. The Restrooms at Great Falls Park are officially reopened. The awesome Great Fall Visitor Center and SNACK BAR remain closed.
Started my 36 year career here. Fantastic place. Great stories and views of the Patomac river.
Video Clips from Great Falls Park on Memorial Day 2020 -
Is there specific places to park to get to the billy goat trail???
As a resident of Great Falls for over 26 years, I am stunned at what is being condoned by our local officials. Due to the closure of the National Park parking lots (and not the trails within) people are driving as near as possible and parking along side busy roads, in peoples yards (yes, one person is actually allowing and charging for it!!!) and getting stuck, thereby having to back up traffic to get towed out. Parents are walking along these roads with small children , children on bicycles , pets etc. On one particular weekend they parked all the way up to the River Bend traffic light which made getting out of River Bend road difficult. I do not know what the solution it at this point. Occasionally I see a random ticket or ‘note’ on some of these vehicles. Local residents have put up their own signs asking people not to park in their yards or block their roads. These people just move or drive over the signs and cones!!!. On normal , no COVID busy days at the park entrance there were always police out there to control the crowds coming in and going out. Its a literal ‘free for all’ now. No police in sight until its too late (and accident ) One of the saddest things I am seeing is the amount of disregard for the environment these individuals are exhibiting. Besides tearing up the sides of the road and driving on park land, they are dumping and leaving their trash within the park. On a beautiful weekday morning, my daughter and I were taking a walk along one of the trails in Great Falls Park, (we can walk there from our home) And I kid you not, someone had left and entire half eaten take-out lunch , complete with styrofoam containers, the plastic bag it all came in , sitting on a rock at the intersection of two trails. Not even trying to hide their slovenliness. We gathered it all up in the plastic bag and carried it all the way back to the trash cans in the park ( a small 1/2 mile). I see beer cans stuffed in tree trunks, clothing strewn and left around, dog poop bags that can’t seem to make it into the receptacles provided. These are not local residents doing this I can assure you. The plates on the cars along the pike are mostly DC & MD . Not that I wish to exclude persons from enjoying our beautiful parks. But unfortunately this people need to be reminded of their duty as citizens of this great planet. If the park were to open at least one lot , allow people to go online to get a ‘free’ permit for access for a particular day/time, maybe they could control it that way while still honoring the ‘social distancing’ mandate and it’s rules . They do this out in some of the western parks that only permit so many persons per day. It is an honor to receive a pass for a day into one of these beautiful treasures. Not a place to go dump your picnic trash for the day. The current situation in not acceptable. I have limited my trips to the park for my own sanity. Because what I see going on down there is appalling.
Amazing things in nature.
Thanks for staying open and trusting us to do the right thing...I have been hiking and have been witness to others following protocol. We all appreciate it😃
Glad it warmed up