Great Falls of the Potomac. Many people consider the Great Falls of the Potomac to be the most spectacular natural landmark in the Washington D.C. area. Here, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge.
A Destination for Recreation. At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country.
Great Falls is a series of rapids and waterfalls on the Potomac River, 14 miles (23 km) upstream from Washington, D.C., on the border of Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia. The Potomac and the falls themselves are legally entirely within Maryland, as the state's boundary follows the south bank of the river.
The Potomac River flows past jagged, rocky surfaces and high-walled cliffs on its journey into the softer rocks of the Coastal Plain. The most dramatic elevation change occurs here at Great Falls Park. In less than a mile, the river drops 76 feet.
Great Falls Park, an 800-acre park located along the Potomac River, is one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The natural beauty of Great Falls is unmatched with its series of steep, jagged rocks that flow through the narrow Mather Gorge.
Things To Do. A spectacular view of the Falls. The Falls overlooks are a short walk from the Visitor Center. Nearly a half million people come to Great Falls Park each year. The park offers many recreational opportunities, from a picnic with family and friends, to a hike along the Potomac River.