On my trip to Maryland, I was told about this Park just outside the Washington DC area. It is called Great Falls National Park. It is in both Virginia and Maryland. I never would have thought there were falls like this just 20 minutes from our national’s capital.
At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks dropping 80 feet in less than one mile and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge.
The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. George Washington saw this area as the way to help trade as it would have created a transportation method from the Atlanta to the Ohio River Valley. George Washington had to get both Maryland and Virginia to agree, which was not the easiest thing to do. The construction of the canal around the falls including 5 locks to raise or lower the boats and dredging portions of the Potomac River took 17 years and Washington never got to see its completion. A town formed around the canal – Matildaville, at its height, boasted the company superintendent’s house, a market, gristmill, sawmill, foundry, inn, ice house, workers’ barracks, boarding houses, and a sprinkling of small homes. Boaters stopped here to wait their turn through the locks, to change cargo, or to enjoy an evening in town before continuing their journey. Extreme water levels restricted the use of the canal to only about 2 months a year. The tolls charged could not cover the costs of the company to maintain it and the company failed and the forced the canal to absolence. The remains of a lock is cut through the woods.
I found the park did not open until 7 am, and the fog I had found in Washington DC was still hanging on the river. Here is a view of the falls from the Virginia side. And you can see why many people go here for their wedding photos. Picture this with fall colors on the trees.