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.
A 1957 Conservancy booklet - published with support from partners - helped galvanize the public, the media, government officials, and other organizations in calling for a park at Great Falls on the Potomac River.
The National Park Service protected the land in 1960 and Great Falls Park opened to the public in 1966.
Why You Should Visit
The Potomac River and the unique geological features have shaped the land at Great Falls for millennia. Floods regularly occur along this stretch of the river, taking away soils and plants and depositing new silt and seeds to take their place.
Most of the park's 800 acres are forested. Throughout the year, over 150 different species of birds can be seen at Great Falls Park. Native animals, such as whitetail deer, fox, box turtles, squirrels, coyotes, bats, and chipmunks also call this place home. A wide variety of plants, including several rare species, thrives in this environment.