Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Billy Goat Trail


Today, Mary, Jay, Will and I decided to start our holiday weekend with a short but strenuous hike. We drove the 20 miles out from Arlington to Great Falls and hiked the Billy Goat Trail. Great Falls Park is in Virginia, but we hiked on the Maryland side of the river.  Because of this, I haven’t technically been to Great Falls Park, but you better believe it has been added to the “Must-do-in-DC-List”.


The Billy Goat Trail is located in Maryland between the Potomac river and the C&O Canal. There are three parts, but we only hiked the first (and most strenuous) part.  This trail extends from the Great Falls Tavern through 3-4 miles of trails which include rock scrambles, wood trails, beaches and (practically) paved roads. 


It was pretty cool to see the donkey-drawn canal boats on the river and 18th century locks still working on the Canal as we walked to the trail head.  It was great to see the efforts they took to preserve the original feel of the area!


This hike reminded me of Old Rag, just a very tame version.  You can wear hiking boots (like me) but this trail can be done in tennis shoes or even flip-flops… Yes, a girl was actually hiking in flip-flops… (though I would not recommend it!!) If you are considering driving out to Shenandoah, try this hike first and then imagine it on steroids, that is Old Rag.


The pictures above just do not give this steep slope justice. I was so glad we went up it, instead of down.


Will was a fun addition to our little hiking group. As we finished this nice little slope, he says “Yeah, I’d like to order an egg, bacon, and rock scramble”. I think the women behind us were going to die of laughter.


The last part of the trail is just a leisurely walk along the C&O canal. We were amazed how tired we were!!! We still managed to enjoy the scenery and see Bambi along the way.


Jay got some great shots of this guy. We were amazed how tame he and his buddy were! They were about 20 feet away from the main trail and didn’t pay any more attention to us than a glance. Guess they’re used to tourists…

I would definitely recommend hiking the Billy Goat trail to all my DC friends!!

How are you making your weekend active?