It’s thrilling to be back on the trail after such a long absence. A friend wanted to scout out a hike on a fantastic trail just outside of Washington D.C. Along the Potomac River is the National Park Service Great Falls Park. This park covers both the Maryland and the Virginia sides of the river.
The Billy Goat Trail on the Maryland side is well known for its rock scramble along the water. Next to the Old Rag Mountain Hike in Shenandoah and the Mason Dixon Trail in Pennsylvania to Maryland this is just as fantastic.
The trail snakes through the woods with rocky terrain and sections of boulder scrambling. Paralleling the C&O Canal the trail is abundant with wildlife. Multiple birds including Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Throat Warblers, Red Eye Vireo, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Phoebes, Wood and Hermit Thrushes, woodpeckers and even a Louisiana Waterthrush.
White Tailed Deer calmly walked through the forest, accustomed to mankind, along with many lizards, turtles, black squirrels, chipmunks and yes..a snake. I could have done without the snake. I don’t like snakes. I just assume that all snakes are poisonous and I prefer to run away from them.
This little guy was in a pool of water within the boulder scramble. His head facing this small rock that I would HAVE to put my foot on to continue past the pool. He wasn’t too pleased that someone was coming close to his home. I rushed past, but then he really started to get pissed and started to coil in the water as if to strike. Alas, my friend had to go around the really hard way to avoid him.
The scenery along the trail is nothing short of spectacular. Whether you’re walking along the C&O Canal, or high on the rocks overlooking the Potomac River. It is mid-May and all of the wild flowers were in bloom. For more wildflowers in Maryland, check out this great website: http://uswildflowers.com/wfquery.php?State=MD
So we get to “Section A” which is the boulder scramble of this nine-mile hike. Halfway through the scramble, we come across this sign.
It was a really hot and muggy day, but as hardy trail girls, we were ready to tackle the second part of the trail. Come and scramble the rocks with me.
The Great Falls Park on both the Maryland and Virginia sides are popular with hikers, rock climbers, kayak and white water rafters. While we were walking along the water’s edge, we happened to catch some white water rafters in the water. It appeared that their boat had capsized. Although they may have been practicing retrievals as well.
The boulders that we scrambled were works of art themselves. It is truly a wonderful hike, and an oasis within the hubbub of a busy metropolis. Sure, you are never far away from the city noise sometimes, but it is a hidden eden within a city.