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Great Falls

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Aid Box 
Bird's Nest 
Boucher Rocks 
Canal Cut 
Cow's Hoof 
Dr. Needlepoint 
Echo Rock 
Flat Iron 
Juliet's Balcony 
River Bend Wall 
Romeo's Ladder 

Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

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Seneca Ridge Trail
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Woodstock 201
A hilly ride around the Patapsco-Woodstock area featuring cool sites and nice views of the river. Near Sykesville, MD
Perimeter Trail
A nice flowy beginner-friendly trail around Rosaryville State Park. Near Upper Marlboro, MD
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Great Falls 

Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 100'
Location: 38.9923, -77.249 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 54,951
Administrators: Aaron James Parlier, Shawn Heath, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: franciscov on May 15, 2008
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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A little fall color in Mather Gorge. Virginia on ...


A beautiful area in the Potomac River Gorge. The cliffs are about 60 feet high and made of hard, solid rock. The area is sunny and has lots of climbers and hikers. This is a major top rope climbing area with trees being the anchor norm.

If you want a guidebook for great falls check out the PATC website and pick up a copy of A Climber's Guide to the Great Falls of the Potomac. If all else fails the VA/WV/MD Climbers guide by Horst is also a great guidebook for the area.

Getting There 

It's about 20 minutes up stream, and west of Washington DC in Great Falls National Park.

76 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',22],['2 Stars',32],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Great Falls:
The Box   5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a     TR, 40'   Aid Box
Snowflake   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Seclusion
R.I.P.   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Dihedrals
Romeo's Ladder   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Romeo's Ladder
Splinters   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     TR, 35'   Aid Box
Great Begininngs   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Seclusion
Bird's Nest   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Bird's Nest
Cornice   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Cornice
Flaky   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 45'   Seclusion
Romeo's Left   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 35'   Romeo's Ladder
Executioner's song   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Dihedrals
Diagonal   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Aid Box
Dr. Needlepoint   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Dr. Needlepoint
Romeo's Nose   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Romeo's Ladder
Eagle's Nest   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Bird's Nest
Lunging Ledges   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     TR, 45'   Romeo's Ladder
Armbuster   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Bird's Nest
Two-Lane Highway   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Bird's Nest
Lost Arrow   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Aid Box
Browse More Classics in Great Falls

Featured Route For Great Falls
Lost Arrow crack

Lost Arrow 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b  VA : Great Falls : Aid Box
For me this is one of the best climbs at Great Falls. Climb the obvious pin scarred crack using the small left facing dihedral on your right. Crux is grasping the holds on the left facing dihedral and moving beyond them. It is supposedly 5.11 if you go straight up the crack without the dihedral. Add a few letter grades for a mid-summer, humid-as-hell ascent :)...[more]   Browse More Classics in VA

Photos of Great Falls Slideshow Add Photo
View upriver from the Dihedrals area.
View upriver from the Dihedrals area.
The Great Falls, photo: Bob Horan
The Great Falls, photo: Bob Horan
The big attraction.  Basically all climbing is down river from the falls.  There is no climbing around the falls or the viewing platforms.
The big attraction. Basically all climbing is dow...
Hiker checking out the climbing.  He's sitting on top of Romeo's Ladder.
Hiker checking out the climbing. He's sitting on ...
Comments on Great Falls Add Comment
Show which comments
By Isaac T.
From: Rockville, MD
Oct 31, 2008

Got any more photos?

By BJ Sbarra
From: Carbondale, CO
May 15, 2010

Just a heads up to visitors to the area, there are some very inconsistent grades here, and some serious sandbags. Fun climbing though in a top notch setting. Quite greasy on humid days.

By H2O
Aug 29, 2012

Good photo of the guy watching the climbing. All the more reason to wear a helmet here as I've experienced hikers up top kicking off gravel to get a photo, sometimes of the climbers.

By wes calkins
Apr 30, 2013

Does anyone know any local guide services around the DC metro area?

By JamieRe
From: Providence, RI
Apr 11, 2014

Hey all,
I am planning a trip to the area and am looking to do some bouldering. Are there any developed problems in the area? Anybody have any beta on existing climbs or areas nearby?


By Nick-R
From: Woodbridge, Va
Apr 14, 2014

There are some good boulders laying around in great falls. some have sketchy landings but you might be able to make it work. I might be heading over there today so I'll take a second look for you. There's also a good chunk of granite hidden in springfield off hooes rd. Has problems from V0 up to about V10.

By Jose Marmolejo
Jun 20, 2014

Hey do you guys recommend placing gear here and leading?

By Edwin B
Jun 20, 2014

Some people say yes, others say no. This discussion from last year might be helpful in deciding: