|Spectacular Great Falls National Park
in Virginia and Maryland
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底，壯闊雄奇，蔚然大觀，粗獷美麗，疊瀑大觀，層層疊疊， 此消而彼長， 峭岩陡壁，
Spectacular Great Falls of Potomac River as viewed from Overlook 3 on Virginia side. It is a 76-foot
cascading waterfall. This national park is located at 9200 Old Dominion Dr. (Hwy 738), McLean, Virginia, USA
22102. It is on the Potomac River at the border of Virginia and Maryland and is only about 17 miles northwest
of Washington DC.
Map: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Great Falls National Park
奇構異形，雄健剛毅，怪岩奇突多姿 ，遠近高低各不同， 形態萬變， 曲折迂迴，絕美造
極， 轟然下瀉, 千條飛瀑萬條澗，飛瀑落處，泛起潔白的水花， 層層疊疊的瀑布， 咆哮
Zoom in on the central portion of the fantastic Great Falls. The Potomac River builds up speed and force as it
falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks. When it reaches the Great Falls, it drops 76 feet over a series of
major cascades into a canyon called Matter Gorge. The pools under the great falls are about 25 feet deep.
Even before you exit your vehicle in the parking area, you’re greeted by the sound of thundering water. You’ll
feel the power of it before you can see it. There are three overlooks on Virginia side for visitors to take in the
grandeur of the most spectacular and steepest fall line rapids of any river in the eastern United States.
飛流直下，氣勢洶洶，崎嶇起伏，險峻雄偉，磅礴和雄渾， 氣象萬千， 風景絕佳。
Zoom in on left side of the Great Falls. There are so many gorgeous images of the jagged beauty and water
falls within the big picture for photographers to zoom in one at a time.
Zoom in on the right side of the Great Falls.
Three viewing platforms provide visitors with vantage points overlooking the falls. The three overlooks on
Virginia side give different views of the Great Falls. All three overlooks are within a five to ten minute easy
walk from the Visitor Center. Overlooks 2 and 3 are handicap, wheelchair and stroller accessible. But
overlook 1 is rocky, requires some scrambling on big rocks and is more challenging,
We toured Great Falls National Park on Virginia side on Sunday September 22, 2013.
Zoom in even more on the thundering water falls. Potomac River is the second largest watershed feeding
A faint view of rainbow over the water falls.
The Visitor Center and Visitor Parking Lot on Virginia side are located at the north end (Dead End) of Old
Dominion Dr. (i.e., hwy 738) about one mile north of junction (traffic light) of Old Dominion Dr. (hwy 738) and
Hwy 193 (Georgetown Pike).
Left side of the great falls.
Another Overlook across the river in Maryland side which has only one Overlook. It is located within
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park on Maryland side.
Three kayakers were navigating the rapids, paddling the turbulent white waters below the great falls. Riding
the power of the Potomac.
The Great Falls National Park is among the world's premier kayaking sites. The extremely challenging vertical
drops at Great Falls are meant for only highly experienced kayakers. In fact, the falls are so challenging that
members of the U.S. Whitewater Sladom team have practiced here.
Video of kayaking over the Great Falls, through Matter Gorge and more can be seen at the following
Overlook #2 at Great Falls National Park is handicap, wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Overlook #3 at Great Falls National Park is also handicap, wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Right side of Overlook #3 at Great Falls National Park is also handicap, wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Overlook #1 at Great Falls National Park is closest to the Visitor Center, but is very rocky and challenging. It
is not handicap, wheelchair or stroller accessible.
The magnificent Great Falls as viewed from Overlook #1.
Please also enjoy the spectacular Great Falls National Historic Park on Passaic River in Northern New Jersey
as shown on my web page at:
奔瀉下大瀑布後，大江東去， 看流水悠悠，看那流水一去不回頭， 日夜流長，滾滾浪
花， 湍急灘險， 江浪掀滔， 浩浩蕩蕩奔流入海，勢不可回的一去不返，凸顯出大河的雄
After dropping 76 feet at the Great Falls, the Potomac River flows into the 6.5-Mile narrow canyon called
Matter Gorge which is a stunning cliff-lined gorge. Hiking is a common activity with many trails along and near
the gorge. The gorge is also a popular rock climbing attraction as the cliff heights and terrain lend themselves
well to top rope climbing. Whitewater kayaking and canoing is also very popular within the gorge. Mather
Gorge is the site of the annual Potomac Whitewater Festival. More pictures of Matter Gorge can be seen at
the following website:
High Water Marks pole at Overlook 3 with markers showing how high the floods reached.
Mather Gorge is the narrowest section on the lower Potomac River. Mather Gorge funnels the entire Potomac
River into a 100-yard narrow canyon. Floods occur after a major event upstream in the Potomac's watershed,
such as heavy rain, a rapid snowmelt, or remnants of a hurricane. Mather Gorge creates a narrow chokepoint,
through which all of the water must flow on its way downstream. The flood water starts backing up at the mouth
of the narrow Mather Gorge, and fills the basin behind it. Eventually, the entire Great Falls disappear under the
major flood water. The markers on this pole show how high the historical major floods reached.
The back view of the Overlook with a wooden viewing platform on the Maryland side. Some visitors stand on
the big rock in the middle of this Overlook platform to get a better view of the Great Falls.
We came to visit Maryland side of the Great Falls on May 23, 2015.
From the parking lot, it may take about one to two miles of hiking to reach this Overlook. From the parking lot,
one walks south along the towpath for about one mile, then follows a sign to turn right (west) onto the Olmsted
Island Bridges and keeps going through a series of bridges and boardwalks for about 0.7 miles to reach the
Overlook to see the panoramic view of the Great Falls. The length of this hiking trail to reach the Overlook on
Maryland side may be quite challenging for handicap people. The length of hiking trail to reach the three
Overlooks on Virginia side is much shorter and is much easier for handicap people.
Overlook #1 on Virginia side as viewed from Maryland side.
Overlook #2 on Virginia side as viewed from Maryland side.
Overlook #3 on Virginia side as viewed from Maryland side.
One of several black vultures soaring high above the Great Falls of Potomac.
One of several great blue herons flying over the Great Falls area.
One of the black vultures standing on a rock near the turbulent water.
One of several cormorants hunting on such turbulent water.
On the Maryland side of the Great Falls is the 184-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The banks of the Canal
welcome the bicyclist, the novice hiker, and those interested in the diverse bird animal life of the Mid-Atlantic
Preserving America's early transportation history, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal began as a dream of
passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the
Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it
endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures!
Visitors can enjoy the 45-minute mule-drawn canal boat rides on The Charles F. Mercer for a trip back in time
to the 1870's! Ride along the historic C&O Canal in a boat pulled by mules. Experience rising 8 feet in a lock.
Hear park rangers in period clothing describe what life was like for the families that lived and worked on the
canal. Enjoy life at a slower pace. The boat capacity is 65 people.
More information on schedule and ticket price for this canal boat ride are available at the following website:
The canal boat ride starts at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center which is located at 11710 MacArthur Blvd.,
Potomac, MD 20854, Phone: 301-767-3714. Direction: Set GPS destination at junction of MacArthur Blvd. and
Falls Road, Potomac, Maryland, then drive west on MacArthur Blvd. to end at Great Falls Tavern visitor’s
One of several turtles in the canal.
One of several baby geese near the parking lot on Maryland side.
The Great Falls as viewed from Maryland side on May 23, 2015.
Artists on towpath probably are painting the romantic scenery of the the historic canal.
Washington DC and east coast USA was hit by a great snow storm of January 23-24, 2016 with 2-foot of
snow. Two weeks later, the heavy snow is melting fast and the Great Falls of Potomac River is roaring with
spectacular torrent of mighty yellow water. It looks like the yellow waterfalls (Hukou Waterfalls, 壶口瀑布) on
the mighty Yellow River in China.
We toured the Great Falls National Park in Virginia on February 4, 2016 to see such awesome views of yellow
raging cascade on the Great Falls of Potomac River.