Great Falls Park – McLean, VA

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How have I lived here for 13 years and just NOW discovered these waterfalls?!? After all of the rain we had (as of yesterday, I think there were only 7 dry days in the month of May, the 6th wettest on record), the falls were very high. I would like to go back after a dry spell and see the difference.

According to the website, George Washington thought the area would benefit from more trade if boats could navigate through the Potomac River. It took seventeen years for workers to build a canal with locks, which is on the Maryland side of the river, a separate trip someday.

There are three overlooks and I went to each one. At the third one, there was a pole that showed the water level each year the river flooded. I can’t even imagine the water being that high! The people in the background are approaching the platform to see the falls…so the water not only had to rise to that level, but then flood the ground above it!

In 1828, the Patowmack Company which ran the canal, turned over its assets to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, which then abandoned the canal in 1830. Matildaville, a town that was built while the canal was being constructed, closed up when travel on the canal stopped. There are a few ruins that remain, but alas I wasn’t aware of them until I researched for this blog. When I go back I’ll take the trail and visit them.

The National Park Service took on the responsibility of looking after the park in 1966. Reminder…this is the centennial celebration for the National Parks Service…go and celebrate this beautiful land we inhabit!

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