Top three reasons to go rock climbing in Great Falls
Learn new skills just minutes outside of Washington D.C.
Over a hundred routes ranging from 5.1 to an amazing 5.12a
One of the few areas on the east coast that allow for climbing directly above water
Situated on 800 acres on the outskirts of Washington D.C., Great Falls Park is home to remains of the Patowmack Canal, the Great Falls of the Potomac, as well as several hiking trails along Mather Gorge’s dramatic clifftops. Although the most frequent activity at the park is simply relaxing and viewing the majestic falls from one of the three available overlooks, the cliffs create a superb climbing site with routes ranging from 5.1 to 5.12a and overlooking the Potomac River. The river features a series of steep, jagged rocks, creating stunning cascades that flow through the narrow Mather Gorge—a dramatic environment that adds a little adrenaline rush to the climbs! Once you’re done with climbing, hike one of the trails and explore the Patowmack Canal that offers a glimpse into the early history of this country!
Great Falls National Park is just 30 minutes away from Washington D.C.
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Half-Day of Private Climbing With a Guide
Spend a morning or afternoon rock climbing or rappelling at Great Falls! This half-day itinerary is all about you! Whether you are a complete beginner, experienced outdoor climber, or anything in between, your guide will customize the experience to your objectives and goals. Great Falls features over a hundred different routes for all skill levels.
A Customized Day of Private Climbing With a Guide
Join a guide for a day of rock climbing above the magnificent Potomac River and let them tarilor the day according to your wishes! The wide range of routes offer something for everyone, whether this is your first time on the rock or if you’re an experienced climber looking for a challenge. The opportunities are endless!
Gym to Crag Transition Class
If you’ve been thinking about taking your climbing from the gym to the crag, this two-day course is the perfect opportunity to do it! Learn the basics of outdoor climbing and develop your technical skills in a beautiful setting overlooking the Potomac River. Simple access and a wide range of routes will make your transition easier, while your guide will make sure you make the most of your time on the rocks and accomplish your goals.
- Experience climbing indoors or out
Safety Skills and Self-Rescue Clinic
Learn what it takes to get you and your climbing partners out of a sticky situation while climbing! This private course that follows the AMGA’s Rock Guide Training Program will help you develop technical safety and self-rescue skills under the watchful eye of your guide. Leave with the peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for any situation that might happen on the rock!
- 1 year outdoor climbing experience
- Experience as second or lead on trad climbs
- Experience climbing in multi-pitch terrain
Meet your guides
AMGA Certified Guide
AMGA Certified Guide
Blue Ridge Mountain GuidesBlue Ridge Mountain Guides
Blue Ridge Mountain Guides
This was my second time climbing outside, I was invited by a friend who raved about Blue Ridge Mountain Guides, rightfully so. Sean was very kind, patient and knowledgeable. He walked us through everything and adapted things when we asked to rappel or to move over to a slightly different route on the same rock face. He arrived in the park very early to make sure we had our pick of climbing routes, and accommodated both us and climbers who came after us. A lovely day and I look forward to climbing with them again.
Worked out better than I could have hoped. These kind people will take care of you. Safe, knowledgeable.
We have been out twice with Blue Ridge Mountain Guides and they are awesome. We highly recommend them for both guiding and instruction
Things to know
Covid measures in Green Falls, Virginia
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Green Falls, VA, please refer to the Virginia Department of Health website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 4-8 hours of rock climbing each day (depending on your chosen itinerary)
- All technical climbing gear
What’s not included:
- Food and snacks
- Parking fee — $20
How fit do I need to be?
If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus but far from necessary. Rock climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
No prior experience is necessary. Whether you’ve never donned a harness or you’re a seasoned climber, a guide will help you meet your individual objectives. Above all, your instructor’s number one priority is your safety. As long as you listen to the given instructions, you’ll succeed in completing your climb.
Great Falls has plenty of options for beginner climbers. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the rocks, and most importantly, have fun!
For intermediate to advanced climbers, Great Falls National Park has loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.
What about required equipment?
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
- Rock shoes (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The group size for these private climbs are usually between 1–6 people with one guide.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Climbing days in Great Falls can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Green Falls National Park, most people fly into Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to your accommodation. The climbing location is about 30 minutes away from Washington D.C. centre.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.Grant Price