Great Falls National Park

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With a little time off from work around Christmas and New Years, Dani and I decided to make the most of it and explore our surroundings beyond the limits of the District. We ventured west of the city to Great Falls National Park, located in McLean, Virginia. This serene 800-acre park is only a 15 minute drive from DC, and offers the perfect escape from the rush of urban life. There was quite a wait to enter the park itself, but after paying our two-day admission fee we were free to explore. We checked into the Visitor Center to get our whereabouts, then headed off to the main attraction: the falls.

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Three overlooks offer different views of the Great Falls, each within a 5-minute walk of each other. The overlook best suited for an Instgram post is #3, which features a broad view of the falls and surrounding terrain.

In addition to the falls, there are six different trails that run along the Potomac River. They range from 1.8 miles (Swamp Trail) to 3.2 miles (Old Carriage Road). We opted for a happy medium: the Patowmack Canal Trail (2.5 miles). With an abundance of natural beauty and wildlife, Great Falls offered a great experience at one of our local national parks.