Hike from Riverbend Regional Park to Great Falls National Park

Potomac Heritage Trail: Riverbend Park

A peaceful walk along the Potomac to the majestic Great Falls National Park.

This hike utilizes the Potomac Heritage Trail from Riverbend Park to Great Falls National Park. This section is an easy, mostly flat trail that will take you along the Potomac until you reach Great Falls National Park.

When you reach Riverbend Park turn right into the parking lot. At the end of the lot you'll see the trail. They have also provided a box if you'd like to contribute to the park (the suggested donation is $2). From the start of the trail Great Falls is just 1.25 miles. 

As you hike towards Great Falls keep an eye out for various birds, snakes, turtles, and other wildlife - especially bald eagles. This is one of the best spots in the area for seeing them as there are at least two nests along this portion of the Potomac River.

When you reach the dam you'll need to follow the trail up a bit. This is the hardest park of the hike as there will be rocks to walk on and over to continue down the path. Please use caution.

Once you reach the Visitor's Center you can explore the overlooks to see great shots of the falls and then return back on the trail to Riverbend Park.  There are picnic tables at either location if you'd like to take a lunch. 

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Trekking Poles
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RT Distance 2.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 75 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful Day

Followed the description and enjoyed a nice fall afternoon. The hike had plenty of shade and the terrain kept the hike interesting. Plenty of photo spots even prior to entering Great Falls


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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