Hike the popular Billy Goat Trail for great views of the Potomac River and a challenging rock scramble.
The scenery is awesome and the trail is a fun workout for families. Due to the challenging terrain the tail is not recommended for kids under the age of 8.
Park at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, head down the C&O Canal towpath (going downstream), cross a bridge and follow the towpath for about a mile. Signs will indicate the entrance to the Billy Goat Trail A — the most popular of the trail’s three sections. (We suggest going as early as you can to avoid crowds, and to visit during the week if you can.)
The trail includes a 40-foot cliff along the Mather Gorge where hikers must find a way up (or down, depending on the direction they are hiking). A section called “Pothole Alley” has large boulders and jagged rocks that hikers navigate over and around.
Due to COVID, visitors centers are still closed; check this Park Service website before you go to make sure parking areas and trails are open.
Make sure your bring lots of water and wear appropriate shoes.
For more hikes, visit our list of 5 scramble hikes for adventurous families.