Greg purchased a book about the 50 best hikes in Maryland. He is well aware of my desire to be fit, and he has a drive to do ALL the hikes in his book so he asked me to pick one to do this weekend. I picked this hike based on the distance alone, I didn’t read the details and had no idea there would be amazing views and waterfalls. I should have known Great Falls Park had either waterfalls, rapids or was an extremely dangerous falling rock zone of a park.
The drive from where we live is about an hour, and the parking at this park fills up fast!! We parked in a nearby neighborhood and walked about 1/4 mile to the entrance and start of the trail we were doing. Of all the hikes we have done together (about 5 or 6 in Maryland) this one had really nice bathrooms at the start, which was ideal since we stopped on the way to get large iced coffees.
We set out on our 5.8 mile hike- Greg, Greg’s dad Bob, and me. It was about 10:20 when we started, and it was 80 degrees- which is manageable, but with the high level of humidity we already had beads of sweat on our faces. The terrain ranged from flat and manageable to inclines- but with hiking trail steps to make it easier. Either way, it was up hill and we all got out of breath. I paced us for the hike because Greg is wayyyy too fast and I hike at a comfortable 2.2 miles per hour. About halfway through our hike we came to the canal and visitors center. I wasn’t interested in the objects and info inside, but I did enjoy the air conditioning break. When I’m hiking or exercising I mean business, and if you distract me for too long I might not want to finish what we started, so I have to stay in the zone!
We walked to see some of the falls across the bridge and were… erm, underwhelmed by the view we saw. Then about 1/2 mile down the dirt road we saw an entrance that can only be described as a danger zone you would find in Jurassic park. As the theme music faded in my head we were walking on a pedestrian bridge structure and saw our first look at the real falls. The walkway was about 1/2 mile in and same way out, but totally worth it!
When we exited Jurassic park we still had about 2.5 miles left. Walking along the canal was flat and still had some views to the right of us. Our remaining 1.5 miles were up and over a pedestrian bridge and in the woods. There were only two inclines in this portion of the hike and the rest was flat or downhill in the woods.
I would rate the enjoyability of this hike an 8, and difficulty 5.