Over the weekend Ian and I got an invite to go hiking with some friends. I’ve never been hiking with the exception of once as part of a project adventure class I took my sophomore year of college. Yes, that was a real class. I didn’t really remember much about it though, so I googled the Billy Goat Trail in Great Falls to see what we’d be getting ourselves into.
I quickly skimmed through the page and told Ian it sounded fun and would probably be like a nature hike. I should have looked deeper into it though – or maybe tried to find out what rock scramble meant. This in fact, was a legit hike that would take four or five hours and a whole lot of effort.
It was so worth it though! We had a really good time and got to take in some amazing views!
After just a 30-minute drive, we checked out a scenic overlook area near the falls before making our way to the start of the Billy Goat Trail. It’s split into three sections with a bit of walking along the C&O towpath in between. We started with section A, which was by far the hardest part involving a bit of rock scrambling and climbing a 50-foot traverse!
My pride over completing this was only hurt by looking around at the many young kids who seemed to be having no troubles with any of the trail.
We skipped past section B to do C first. This section was a bit more my speed. Lots of great views, mostly easy walking around the trail and just a few challenging parts. I nearly landed myself in the water crossing over one creek when I stumbled mid-crossing and instantly started laughing. Luckily I was able to pull myself together and didn’t end up splashing in!
The rest of the group soldiered on and made it through Section B too, but Ian and I decided to call it a day and meet them back at the car. We took our time along the 3 mile walk back along the towpath enjoying some snacks we packed and snagging a few more pictures. It was a great day and something I’d definitely do again… at least once I forget how exhausting it was!
It’s so amazing to me that there is this huge place full of nature and beauty so close to the city. If you live near the D.C. area and haven’t been to Great Falls, this needs to be on your list.
I went hiking when I had whooping cough and learned the hard way that trails are graded as easy/medium/hard based on how technical they are (i.e. rock scrambles = hard), not on how much climbing you’ll be doing. We picked an “easy” loop that was basically straight up the side of a mountain. I took a lot of breaks. This place looks really pretty — I bet it would have been super gorgeous a few weeks ago before all the leaves fell!
I know! A lot of the trees on our drive in were still full of bright-colored leaves so I was a little bummed there were barely any left once we got in the park and down to the trail. I’ll have to go back earlier next year!
I already miss hiking season here in Denver, but I guess there are some still open! Although we are investing in snow shoes so I’m hopeful we’ll get out much later in the season this year!
Very cool! Good luck braving the snow/cold.