Another interesting hiking trail is the Billy Goat Trail on the Maryland side of Great Falls.
It only took us about fifteen minutes to drive there from our home in Vienna, and there is plenty of parking at the Great Falls Tavern and Visitor Center which is located in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The hike will take you about two hours, end to end, although you might get distracted by all of the cool vistas of the Potomac River. There is a very nice view of Great Falls just off the C&O Canal near the Tavern.
Billy Goat Trail is rugged with plenty of rocks that must be climbed
You may get a scape or two!
This part of the Potomac River is very interesting since it is where Great Falls has cut through the rocky terrain. The water will be running fast here so do not go into the water any time of year. The NPS has many notices of the dangers of the swift moving current in the Potomac.
The walk along the towpath along the C&O Canal is very interesting too, and is a real treat after scaling rocks for an hour or more. Overall, you should plan for a two to three hour hike so you can enjoy everything there is to see.
Although there are many hikes that I have mentioned here before, this hike should be very high on your list of things to do when living in Northern Virginia. With that in mind, this link to the National Park Service has the map you need to plan your trip to the right spot and the Billy Goat Trail.
If you are looking for an afternoon hike, consider heading over to hike the Billy Goat Trail and I am sure you will have a great time.