Great Falls Park: Self-Guided Waterfall Hiking Tour
4.0
11 Ratings
McLean

Stroll alongside the cliffs that tower above the Potomac River, and enjoy the views of roaring waterfalls, exhilarating rock scaling adventures, and the region’s most challenging kayaking locations. During this self-driven audio tour, I’ll expose you to a few extraordinary sites tucked away on the Great Falls Park trails. Moreover, I’ll guide you to one of my preferred, unruly tracks within the national park - all navigated sequentially via GPS.

You’ll discover that Great Falls offers much more than its observation decks. I’ll guide you towards locations that are unfamiliar to mainstream tourists, such as spectacles of concealed waterfalls, the region’s premium spots for rock ascending and descending, and a trail that leads alongside the canal and through a deserted city from the colonial period. Multiple opportunities exist for you to venture off the main path and engage with the water torrents at the falls intimately. If fortune favors, you might witness a courageous kayaker testing their skills.

This tour could span for a maximum time of two hours and, while not particularly demanding, it’s sure to thrill!

Duration: 3 hours
Cancellation: 1 day learn more
What's Included
  • GPS-triggered audio tour
  • Hands-free tour experience
What's Not Included
  • Private transportation
  • Parking fees
  • $20 vehicle access pass
Itinerary
  • Great Falls Park - Great Falls Park - the 3rd largest waterfalls in the United States, and one of the largest national parks immediately accessible to Washington DC. With a $20 vehicle access pass (not included in Viator package), you will have full access to the extensive Great Falls Park grounds and trails.
    The Viator package includes a guided step-by-step audio tour, including a walking map that syncs to your phone’s GPS, as well as a narrated tour with over an hour of commentary about Great Falls and its hidden treasures.
    To ensure an ideal self-guided tour:
    Because cell phone service can be less than ideal, please download the VoiceMap app and Great Falls Tour before entering Great Falls Park grounds.
    When using the VoiceMap app, please enable GPS/Location to enable the GPS triggered tour.
  • Potomac River - The iconic river that runs along the famous Washington DC monuments. This river runs through Great Falls along dramatic cliffs that tourists get to hike along. This stretch of river is particularly wild, and only extremely advanced kayakers attempt to navigate this stretch of river. Luckily, this tour gives you a bird’s eye view of the kayaking heroics as river level.
  • Matildaville Trail - An abandoned city once visited by the United States’ first president, George Washington. Walk through the ruins of a long forgotten piece of American history.
  • Great Falls - The third largest waterfalls in the United States. A must see if you’re in the Washington DC area. You’ll have 3 different viewing platforms for these amazing waterfalls. You’ll also have views over the Mather Gorge downstream of the falls, as well as a view of hikers attempting the perilous Billy Goat Trail cliffs and Potomac River cliff rappelling, including Romeo’s Ladder and Juliet’s Balcony.
Additional Information
  • Cell Phone is required, headphones recommended - please download the app prior to entering Great Falls Park
Location
Great Falls Visitor Center
Old Dominion Drive
Self-guided audio tour starting at Great Falls Park Visitor's Center. Download the VoiceMap App, load the Great Falls Park tour and start at the Visitor's Center. Includes step-by-step directions and map for the tour, all synced to your phone's GPS. Please download/activate GPS before entering Park
Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

4.0
(11 Ratings)
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1 star
Emh43016
Jan 16, 2024
Beautiful falls and historic buildings, canal boat - This is a good place to see the powerful water movement of the Potomac River among the large dark rocks. It’s in a beautiful area with lots of beautiful mansions and scenery. The park has bathrooms and parking. The old inn for the canal workers and canal boat and locks are also at this location. It’s about a 1/4 mile walk to the falls overlook from the parking lot. Park entry is $20 for vehicles. The canal boat is covered during the winter.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Julia
Nov 20, 2023
New amazing experience. - Beautiful views and unexpected exercise! I did not expect it to be a hike, but I loved it! Climbing over rocks to be able to see the waterfall was a new experience that I loved. There are other places from which to see the falls that are smooth, but again, I loved the experience of climbing over the rocks. The walk through the woods was amazing and also a new experience. I'm active, but not an outdoorsy person. Again, loved it!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Jessicab694
Jul 5, 2023
Must see stop - Gorgeous and a fun hike. Handicap accessible viewing and small kid friendly hike option. Such a beautiful and peaceful spot. Pack a meal and have a picnic.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Mello_247
Apr 24, 2023
This app played no part in the great experience I had - I bought these $10 tickets for no reason! 1. It was national park day or something and everything was free. That should’ve been stated when I chose the date I’d be arriving. 2. Nothing was explained. It was everyone for themselves so that’s what we did. No point of downloading the app that the confirmation email instructed me to do. A total lack of information from this app side and I won’t be using it again.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Mr_tr23510
May 14, 2022
Beautiful and scenic self-guided tour. - I had a great experience with the self guided tour. I had no data/cell signal and this guided tour was spot on where I was located. The Geo sync spoke up when I reached each of the highlight points. As for the park, the views were amazing. I never knew all the details of the Potomac river. The first animal siting was a deer right at the entrance. The 2nd was a woodpecker. The third was an eagle sunbathing, staring right at me 20 feet away. I was in awe of the beauty and majesty. Side note, the park like many others has litter throughout here and there, not real bad. so, bring a bag with you and pick up as you go. the next ones behind you will appreciate the beauty even more. Better yet, do not leave anything behind, leave no trace folks. I loved the park. I followed the River Trail and Gladisville Trail per the guided tour. Great job.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
G9436obkarenj
Nov 6, 2021
Great for first-time visit to Great Falls Park! - Audio tour was nice! Excellent for first-time visit and made the hike very interesting with the extra info and history. I would have seen the various things he pointed out but would not have known what they once were without the audio tour. Doug's voice and speaking style is perfect for the location. My only concern was the 6-hour delay in receiving the download code from TripAdvisor. Luckily, Doug responded quickly when I reached out to him to provide the code while I was driving to Great Falls. Best to download the audio tour ahead of getting there as cell data coverage is very bad in the park area. Although the hiking route is not arduous, it is over rough, rocky land so be prepared to scramble a bit. I will use this audio tour company again!
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Ediem452
Jul 23, 2023
Beautiful waterfalls and a nice place to get some exercise and relax in the outdoors. - The sights are gorgeous. The visitors' center was under construction when we went, but signs and trail are clear, so not needed. We had four people and I paid the entry fee of $5 per person but there was no one collecting tickets. At the entrance, we just paid $20 for parking. We felt it was okay as just a small donation but maybe people can wait to purchase when they are there, in case it is not needed.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Mal_g
Nov 21, 2023
Read, read, read - *Read before buying* This is a SELF-GUIDED walking tour. A recording. Not entry to the park. Otherwise it's a good buy.
Review provided by Viator
472bruceo
Aug 1, 2023
Nope! - Couldn’t figure out how to access it so I didn’t get a chance to use this even though I paid for it.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
Jameshd9428um
Jun 27, 2023
No Cell Service=Bad Experience - I couldn't get the Self-guided Waterfall Hiking Tour to work because there is no cell service at the park. A waste of good money.
Review provided by Tripadvisor
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up to 15 guests
1 Adult
March 2024
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