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Learn and Explore

Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But our work doesn’t stop there.

We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job we love, and we need—and welcome—your help and support.

Our Mission

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain a park entrance pass?

Only 118 of your 417 park sites charge entrance fees. You can obtain park entrance passes by visiting a park site that charges an entrance fee. Entrance fee sites have passes available; we recommend calling a park prior to your visit. (See the park search to locate a specific park.) There are a number of entrance passes available, including park-specific passes as well as passes that offer entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites in addition to the national parks (Annual, Military, Senior, 4th Grade, Access, and Volunteer passes). Learn more about the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

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About this location:


Operating Hours & Seasons

Park Hours

Open 30 minutes past sunset.

Standard Hours

  • Sunday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Monday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Tuesday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Wednesday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Thursday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Friday:7:00 AM- Sunset
  • Saturday:7:00 AM- Sunset

Additional Information View More

  • Christmas Day:
  • Closed

Fees & Passes

    Entrance Fees:

    • $10.00 – Great Falls Entrance Fee – Vehicle
      3-day pass. Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. Organized groups are not eligible for the vehicle permit. Is NOT valid for entrance into the C &O Canal National Historic Park.
    • $5.00 – Great Falls Entrance Fee – Person
      Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle, or equestrian. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge. Is NOT valid for entrance into the C &O Canal National Historic Park.

    Entrance Passes:

    • $30.00 – Great Falls Annual Pass
      Valid for twelve months from the date of purchase. Pass is valid at Great Falls Park and C &O Canal National Historic Park for Entrance Fee only. Admits the pass holder and occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR pass holder and three person (16 and older) where per person ENTRANCE FEES are charged.


    A Destination for Recreation

    At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation’s Capital.


    From I-495, take exit 44 for route 193 west; continue 4 miles. Turn right on Old Dominion Drive.

    Visitor Centers

    Great Falls Visitor Center

    Open daily.


    The Washington, D.C. area has a four-season Mid-Atlantic climate. Summertime is warm and humid, while winter can be cold and snowy. Precipitation averages 2-4” monthly, year-round.

    Permits and Reservations Information

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