Pet Travel

Great Falls Park in McLean, VA

Rachel Phelps
Written by Rachel Phelps

While we were in the Washington, DC area last month, our pals at told us about a park nearby that we just HAD to visit – Great Falls Park.  It is part of the National Park Service and it allows dogs.

This park is actually on the state line between Maryland and Virginia.  The address is 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA.  At the park, the Potomac River narrows from nearly 1,000 feet wide just above these horizontal falls to about 60 feet wide as it rushes through Mather Gorge, a short distance below the falls.   There are many, many, rapids, and several 20-foot waterfalls, with a total of a 76-foot drop in elevation over a distance of less than a mile.  It is quite a site to see even for a little dog like me.

There is a $5 per car admission fee and the park is open from 7 am to dark every day. There are three overlooks where you can see the falls and they are only a ten-minute walk from the parking lot.  You can’t miss them, just listen to the loud sound of water and head that way.

The pet policy is that dogs must be on a leash no longer than six-feet.  We saw a lot of other dogs so it must be a popular place to take your pup.  Hopefully this goes without saying, but pay attention to us and don’t let us get too close to the river.  I know I wouldn’t be a match for those rapids if I fell in.

According to my mom, the only real down side is that they have a new policy that you must take all trash out with you when you leave the park.  There are no trash cans anywhere!  This means that when I did my business, mom had to put the closed poop bag into her bag and leave with it.  It kind of grossed mom out that she had to put my poop into her purse, but being the good mom she is, she sucked it up and did it.  Personally, I think that policy would encourage humans not to scoop our poop up and just leave it, which isn’t a good thing either.

The falls are really impressive.  If you are in the area you have to go check it out.  Here are some photos from our day.

 SONY DSC Great Falls State Park -

Great Falls State Park - Great Falls State Park -   Great Falls State Park - Great Falls State Park -

To get more information, go to the National Park Service website at:

Have you visited with your pet?  Comment below and tell us your tips for a fun day with your pup!

About the author

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps, “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer, and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her Internet celebrity dog Preston from Preston Speaks. Her three Westies — who think they are mini-humans — and three cats rule the house. To learn more about Rachel go to: Rachel Phelps Website

1 Comment

Leave a Comment