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Great Falls

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Aid Box 
Bird's Nest 
Boucher Rocks 
Canal Cut 
Cow's Hoof 
Degree 101 
Dike Creek Area, The 
Downstream Climbs 
Dr. Needlepoint 
Echo Rock 
Flat Iron 
Gorky Park 
Juliet's Balcony 
River Bend Wall 
Romeo's Ladder 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Saddleback Trail (Yellow)
The longest loop in the park and the only trail on which bikes are allowed. Near Clarksburg, MD
Fountainhead Regional Park
Fountainhead Regional Park Near Lake Ridge, VA
Loop 3
The most difficult, but most rewarding trail in Fountainhead Regional Park. Near Lake Ridge, VA
Singletrack traveling through the hardwoods and along open farm fields Near Gaithersburg, MD
Schaeffer Farms Grand Tour
A nice spin around the main loops at Schaeffer Farms Near Gaithersburg, MD
Flowing, rolling trail. A great introduction to Schaeffer Farms Near Gaithersburg, 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: 62,697
Administrators: Aaron James Parlier, Shawn Heath, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: franciscov on May 15, 2008
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
Chance of Rain
66° | 47°
Chance of Rain
66° | 48°
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57° | 45°
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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.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.2 miles from here

180 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',56],['2 Stars',87],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Great Falls:
Snowflake   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Seclusion
Romeo's Ladder   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Romeo's Ladder
Splinters   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     TR, 35'   Aid Box
Bird's Nest   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Bird's Nest
Cornice   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Cornice
Executioner's song   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Dihedrals
Flaky   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 45'   Seclusion
East Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Degree 101
Lunging Ledges   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 45'   Romeo's Ladder
Romeo's Nose   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Romeo's Ladder
Armbuster   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Bird's Nest
Dr. Needlepoint   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Dr. Needlepoint
Diagonal   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Aid Box
A Bridge Too Far   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     TR   Dr. Needlepoint
Two-Lane Highway   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Bird's Nest
Lost Arrow   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Aid Box
One Lane Highway   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Bird's Nest
Mantlepiece   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     TR, 60'   Juliet's Balcony
Z-slash   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     TR, 40'   Bird's Nest
P.V.O (Potomac Valley Overhang)   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     TR   Aid Box
Browse More Classics in Great Falls

Featured Route For Great Falls
Lost Arrow crack

Lost Arrow 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 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: My Subaru
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: mountainproject.com/v/leading-...
By steitz
From: midcoast, maine
9 hours ago
A lot of these area descriptions blow. "TBC?" Lets get this updated, this is a nice area, it would be nice if MP could be a little more helpful.