Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great Falls: Maryland Side: Old Anglers Inn to the Falls

Hike Date March 13th, 2011

The Flooded Potomac River
So after falling a bit behind with blogs here we are again to bring to you another one of Maryland's famous attractions and hikes, the C & O Canal towpath hiking from Old Anglers Inn up to the falls.  So the parking lot here is free (if you choose to park at the falls and hike the other direction there is a small fee of $5 per car) but space is limited so if visiting on a weekend come early.  The popularity of the park attracts many visitors so be prepared to share the space with hikers, joggers, and bikers.

A Crowded Towpath

There is a small museum and a small ferry boat near the falls parking lot and several plaques to read to get a brief history of the area.  Even though this place can be very crowed at times some of the views are great enough to merit return visits.  The hike along the tow path is easy, and there are many sections to visit throughout Maryland and visit for a day hike.  The one drawback to any of the hikes along the Canal is that if you hike one direction you have to hike back the exact same way you came!  There is always the option of planning ahead and if you hike in a pair have one person park at one parking lot and the other can park at one in the direction you plan to hike so you won't have to walk back the same way you just came, not as convenient on gas but you get the idea. 

One important piece of information, check websites before you visit.  On our visit the trail access to the falls as well as billy goat trail section A were both closed due to recent flooding.  We didn't plan on hiking the billy goat trail but were disappointed we couldn't view the falls so be sure to check websites or even call the park headquarters to learn of any possible trail closures.

There is always wildlife to see along the tow path.  Birds, deer, and turtles all seem to be pretty popular when people spot them along the way so keep your eyes open for them!  There are a few lizards and snakes around, and occasionally  venomous copperhead snakes are spotted in the area so just use caution, these snakes aren't out to hurt you so if you encounter these animals it is best to leave them be.  We do plan to return here and give reviews of Billy Goat Trails A, B and C so keep checking back and see how they rank!  

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