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Does it get any better than Great Falls National Park?
8/7/2012 11:10:00 AM
By Stan Bindell
GREAT FALLS NATIONAL PARK, Va. - Most folks headed for the Washington, D.C.-Virginia area think about national monuments and history.
While headed in that direction for the PBS Reporting Labs Conference, this hiker looked for sites that involved hiking, nature and a little history.
Great Falls National Park falls into those three areas and also has waterfalls and plenty of water. Does it get any better than that?
Great Falls National Park, situated on 800 acres along the Potomac River, are the remains of the Patowmack Canal, the first canal in America that used locks to raise and lower boats. How's that for history? This canal was partially funded by some guy called George Washington, so it began operating in 1785 so small barges could get around the huge waterfalls.
Make no mistake - the huge waterfalls are the big enticement as one waterfall after another causes "wows" from the visitors.
There are several overlooks where viewers can see the falls, but it comes with a warning because seven people die each year when they fall off the cliff overlooks into the fast rushing water. Most of the deaths are alcohol related even though alcohol is illegal in the park.
Rock climbers, however, consider this the best rock climbing area in the Washington, D.C. area, but must obtain permits.
Petroglyphs can be found within the park on the cliffs overlooking Difficult Run Trail. This national park has several trails covering more than 15 miles. Darn it, this hiker had time limits and could only trek about 5.5 miles on this day.
Great Falls National Park includes picnic tables so people can bring their own food. It has parking, restrooms, a small eatery and gift shop. There is a $5 admission fee.
The canal is a historical landmark. For more about the park, just Google Great Falls Park.
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