Wednesday, July 23, 2014

50 Best Day Hikes Near DC: Billy Goat Trail A

This is the latest hike that we've done this summer from our book. The hike in the book is actually much longer than what we did, but I started not feeling too well, so we headed back without completing Billy Goat Trail B, or the separate trail back to the start.

Instead, what we did was start out at the Great Falls State Park, in Virginia. It costs $5 to enter the park, but the pass was good for 2-3 days. We started out by visiting the historic houses in the park which surprisingly were really cool.  We then started along the path called the C&O Canal. It's actually a really nice walk. It's all flat since it's next to the canal, and it's great for families.
We then followed the path to the overlooks of the falls. You'll first come across a smaller falls and it's crazy to watch how much water is flowing through there, and how fast, as you're standing right above it. Continue on the path out to the Great Falls, and they really are great. And I must say, the pictures can't do it justice, the falls are absolutely beautiful. 
After seeing the falls we headed back to the C&O Canal path and continued on that for a bit until we reached the turn off for Billy Goat Trail A. Trail A is the hardest of the three Billy Goat trails. It's described as a "rock scramble" and that's exactly what most of the trail is. I think we only went a few miles that day, but it took much longer than most hikes because you're navigating boulders, and at one point, kind of rock climbing up a steep area of solid rock.

My Thoughts on this hike: 
There were warning signs about the amount of injuries sustained on the trail each year, would warn when a difficult section was coming up, and they had exit trails that led back out to the easy C&O Canal path in case of emergency.

We saw children and even an older man with walking sticks out doing this trail. This hike didn't have a ton of difficulty as there wasn't a lot of gaining or loosing elevation, but it was taxing, especially in the heat of the day. I'd say little children might not be the best for Trail A, unless you plan to wear them in carriers. 

Now having done the trail, I would probably park at the Old Angler's Inn, which lies between the start of Billy Goat Trail A & B. You can park there for free, and when we were driving home we saw cars lined up for a good ways down the street. 

This hike offered stunning view of the Potomac all throughout the hike. And of course my favorite part, we got to see lots of animals on this trail, which was unexpected, and a nice surprise. And we got to see people rock climbing across the Potomac, and people doing paddle board yoga.

1 comment:

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That looks like a great place to go! You have been going on some great hikes.

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