A December 2003 trip
to Washington, D.C. by MilwVon
Quote: In this journal are reviews for perhaps less traveled parks, historical sites and memorials in and around our Nation's Capitol.
Attraction | "Great Falls National Park – Fairfax County, Virginia"
I remember my girl scout troop going here when I was 10 or 12 years old, riding the vintage wooden merry-go-round reaching for the brass ring with every pass. The old turn-of-the-century amusement park has long since been gone, but that old carousel remained for children of all ages until the 1970s. This area was originally developed in the 18th century for shipping grain, livestock, and other agricultural products down river via the Patowmack Canal. The ruins of this ingenious engineering feat can be studied and seen here at Great Falls. The artists’ renditions and graphical illustrations of what it was like during this early American historical period are very informative and interesting.Today, Great Falls Park is known for its beautiful view of the Potomac River, approximately 15 miles above Washington, D.C. On a relatively calm day, it is difficult to imagine the water levels reaching and overflowing the high bluffs above the river below during periods of severe flooding. But many floods have ravaged this area. There is a water-mark post in the park where you can see just how high the waters have reached in the past century.On this particular visit to Great Falls Park, the waters were higher than normal, although not at flood stage. You can see in the attached photos just how swift the river flows given the amount of dead and broken trees swept downstream.For those interested in hiking, there are a lot of nice trails. Be sure to take OFF with you in the summer, though, as the mosquitoes are very thick in this area of the country. The picnic areas fill up quickly, so if you are planning a large event, be sure to arrive early.
Great Falls National Park
9200 Old Dominion Dr
McLean, VA 22102