Great Falls Park: Immersing In Nature Just Outside Of D.C.

Great Falls Park is part of the Potomac River and contains several hiking trails and water sports.

great falls park mclean Virginia washington DC
PHOTO ANDY CHENG

It’s easy to be consumed by the vicious cycle of work, especially in the greater Washington D.C. area. Even with parks sprinkled throughout the city, the planned urban infrastructure and large working population makes D.C. seem to lack in outdoor wildlife events. Great Falls Park fulfilled my needs to get away from the city for a day to enjoy east coast nature.

Located just 15 miles out of the nation’s capital, Great Falls Park is part of the Potomac River and contains several hiking trails and water sports. As a newcomer to the east coast, this was my first exposure to a temperate deciduous. Bright green ferns scattered around maple and oak trees and presented an unfamiliar, yet welcoming view. With rainfall throughout the summer, the trails were moist and fertile which gave an even more genuine feel.

great falls park washington dc virginia mclean
PHOTO ANDY CHENG

Perhaps the greatest gift of the day was seeing the river rapids and hearing the violent, crumbling waters. The section of the river we visited plummets 76 feet in less than one mile, and adrenaline-seeking kayakers could be seen braving the worst of the rapids. The most courage I could muster in comparison was taking off my shoes to dip my feet in the shallow riverbank. The water nonetheless felt cool and clean, making the climb down the overlook worth the troubles.

As a recent college graduate, I’ve been growing accustomed to full-time work life. Getting consumed by work, even after office hours, is something I’ve been striving to avoid. In the process of focusing on my career, leaving the city for a day simply to enjoy nature was a great and necessary reminder not to lose my passion of traveling.

great falls park washington dc mclean virginia
PHOTO ANDY CHENG

Andy Cheng

He was born and raised in Orange County, southern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley, studying political science with a concentration in international relations. In his free time, Andy frequents exercising, spectating eSports, meeting new people, and learning new things.

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