My Travel Diary: Great Falls Park

From childhood, I’ve always been into the great outdoors. The neighborhood gang practically spent every waking moment together. You’d have a better chance of finding me in my backyard than in my bedroom. Though as time has gone on and we have all ventured off on different paths, my nature-loving mentality has never wavered.

When I was younger, my parents used to take me and my older brother to Cunningham Falls, located in Thurmont, Maryland. Sadly, a quick phone call made it known that they were filled to capacity.

Tip: Go early on the weekend.

But that didn’t stop me.

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And I’m glad it didn’t. The good thing about the National Park Service is that they have a plethora of parks to choose from. Hence, Great Falls Park.

It took us about an hour to get there, including the slight detour and five minute or so line to get into the park. Parking was easy, as it didn’t seem too congested in the lot. The Visitor Center was closed when we went, so we were unable to get a drawn out map of each trail, but signage and trail markers made it pretty easy to navigate. I also had my lovely navigator and designated tour guide: Christian Sayles.

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There were quite a lot of people cooking on outdoor grills, as several tables and benches were scattered across the lot, and I will say that the aesthetic of this park versus Cunningham Falls is slightly different. Keep in mind that I haven’t been to Cunningham Falls in years. Since Great Falls Park is based around the Potomac River, you are not allowed to swim.

Note: We did see some people take a dip, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Fishing, rock climbing, boating and horseback riding are allowed — with rules attached, of course. We took the hiking approach, which a lot of people were doing.

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Many people go to Cunningham Falls to swim, lay out blankets and picnic. While there were quite a few people barbecuing and sitting on the benches, a majority of people were enjoying the outlooks and hiking. Not being able to swim didn’t bother me here, but I did bring a blanket to lay out on that I didn’t end up using.

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If you plan on laying out your towel while wearing sunglasses and taking a dip in the water, this isn’t the park for you.

Would I go back?

Yes.

There’s so much land to cover, and we only got to half of it. I would like to walk to the other side of the park and get closer to the top next time. All in all, Great Falls Park is a win. Just grab some supportive shoes, and you’re happy trailing.

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Want more? Check out my new YouTube video.

-Jas

A special thanks to Chris for all your help.

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