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Gold Mine Loop receives its name for the mini-gold rush that hit the region during the Civil War.

As early as the 1600s, John Smith navigated the Potomac as far north as Great Falls. Rumors of gold circulated quickly in the new world. It was not until the late 1800s when a Civil War soldier saw sparkling gold flakes in the streambed that organized efforts developed. Along this 4-mile route, you'll see ruins from the gold-mining operations that eventually shut down in the 1940s.

This particular hike is along the quieter side of the Great Falls area offering a better chance at viewing the resident wildlife that includes beaver, fox, squirrel, white-tailed deer and a bevy of birds. The trail is blazed with blue markers and hikers should stay alert due to a number of intersecting trails.

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 uphill behind Great Falls Tavern.

Elevation: 200 feet

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Usage: Moderate

Difficulty: Moderate

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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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