I’m sad to say I’ve lived in the state of Maryland my entire life and never took the opportunity to visit either side of Great Falls until the past few years. I honestly still can’t figure out which side is my favorite. I like them both for their own uniqueness. I have not had the chance to walk either side in its entirety, but if you’re trying to figure out which one to go to, I say do both. They both have plenty of rocks to climb, along with several paths to get closer to the water. They each have something special to offer.
I enjoyed the Maryland side because you’re able to walk over bridges throughout the park that take you over the falls. There is also a peaceful, beachy area that had sand, and small seashells surprisingly. This was an interesting find considering the majority of the park consisted of woodsy areas. It was quite the hidden gem. It’s a great place to read, enjoy a nice picnic, or take a nap as I saw people taking advantage of during my visit. You can also see the sunset from the Maryland side. I haven’t managed to catch one yet, but it’s on my future goals list.
The Virginia side has 3 major overlooks you will see immediately entering the part that are breath-taking. As you walk through the marked trails, you will see more places to view of the falls from up high. Apparently, Great Falls is a popular place for kayaking. There is an area where you can walk your kayak down to the water. It was amazing as each person passed by me and on down the rocky trail with their kayaks in their hands. I was just trying to make it down with my back pack and camera. Anyways, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you should climb down the trail and experience the rush of the waters up close as the people in their kayaks paddle by. Here you can see the sunrise. Also on my list of future plans!
After leaving both parks, I took a stroll through the humongous homes in the surrounding area. I highly recommend you do the same!
The Maryland Side – Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O Canal)