The Potomac Falls are located in Montgomery County west of Washington, DC in the Great Falls Park. This succession of surging waters developed as rocks on the Potomac River which used to be called the Wissahickon formation and consisted of resilient metamorphic boulders. These large stones are said to date back to the late Precambrian Era and approximately 750 million years old. The falls formed when sea level plunged during the last Ice Age.
If you are going on a trip to the Potomac area, just call Affinity Airport Sedan to pick you up from any airport in D.C.
The Great Falls and rapids stretch two-thirds of a mile towards the Potomac. The river drops around 76 feet above this distance. Since it presented a main obstacle to boat traffic in the 18th Century, George Washington ordered the construction of the Potomac Canal in 1784 which took 16 years to finish.
Potomac Falls is managed by the National Park Service. The Potomac including the falls is within the territory of Maryland. You can see scenic views from both the Maryland and Virginia sides. The Billy Goat Trail on Bear Island is accessible from Maryland. It offers picturesque spectacles of the Great Falls as well as vantage points of Olmsted Island which is accessible from Maryland. The area is ideal for outdoor leisure pursuits like hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting.
The Potomac narrows down considerably as it passes over the falls and through Mather Gorge which lies on the borders of Maryland and Virginia. Heavy downpour and snow on the watershed upstream generate white-water floods. These normally swamp the rocks and endanger the nearby park and visitor center. That is why the facility was constructed on top of stilts. In fact, the pillar at the Virginia area marks the level of the 1936 Potomac River Flood.
There were numerous efforts to build canals around the Great Falls. The canal was initiated by George Washington. Afterward, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was put up on the Maryland section and eventually connected the Potomac tidewater with Cumberland City. The Chesapeake and Ohio also utilized the Potomac Falls as feeder and source of water supply. It has been abandoned since then.
Learn all there is to discover at the Potomac Falls. For a ride there, schedule a pick-up with Affinity Airport Sedan. We’ll do the driving so you don’t have to worry about your trip!