Begin this hike from in front of the historic Great Falls Tavern. Cross the footbridge leading to the towpath and turn left. When you reach the Great Falls Overlook sign, turn right and cross over the footbridge. As you enter Falls Island, notice the interesting plant habitat called bedrock terrace forest. This particular habitat is a result of reoccurring floods depositing enough soil to sustain a community of low-growing, fragile species. When you venture into the island you'll notice the habitat changes into a mixed forest of Virginia Pine, red oak, swamp oak, and river birch. Look closely at the beautiful flowers common to this region including tickseeds and wild petunias. The trail exits the island over to Olmstead Island leading you to Great Falls Overlook. The gorgeous falls give reason to linger. Enjoy this short hike and notice all the sights and sounds including the rock climbers, whitewater kayakers and the flurry of birdlife. Over 150 species have been identified in this particular region.
Directions: From Washington, D.C., Travel the Clara Barton Parkway north 1.5 miles to MacArthur Boulevard. Turn left and travel to Falls Road. This is one of the C&O's entrances. Enter the area and travel to the large parking lot across from Old Angler's Inn. Trail begins at the upper road.
Elevation: 200 feet
Elevation Gain: Minimal
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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland
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