Great Falls Park was established as a site within the George Washington Memorial Parkway to preserve and protect the natural scenery of the Potomac River Gorge, the Great Falls of the Potomac, and the historic Patowmack Canal for future generations.
This upland piedmont forest is the focal point of human history, from the American Indians who utilized the river and woodland resources, through the efforts of George Washington to construct a canal that circumvented the Falls in order to trade with the west, to the preservation and recreational activities of recent generations.
The park's notable features provide visitors a chance to recreate in a superlative green space within the metropolitan Washington area, and opportunities to gain an understanding of the natural and cultural resources, and the social and political values of the American people.
—National Park Service
If You Go
Great Falls Park has spectacular scenic views of the Great Falls on the Potomac River and the Potomac River Gorge.
As you enjoy the beauty of the river, use extreme caution when on or near the water's edge. There have been multiple drownings in the park over the years. The water is extremely dangerous. Although the surface may look calm, the current is actually exceptionally strong and swift and the water is really cold!
Joe Lawler with the U.S. National Park Service says it "appears to be placid water, but the the river is running very fast, it's really cold and someone could get in trouble very quickly with the temperature of the water."