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Billy Goat Trail, Potomac

(170+ reviews on the web)
Hiking Trail
The Billy Goat Trail is a 4.7mi hiking trail that follows a path between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River within the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park near Great Falls in Montgomery County, Maryland. The trail has three sections: Section A, the northernmost, is ; Section B is ; and Section C, the southernmost, isDescriptionBilly Goat Trail was laid out by the YMCA Triangle Club in 1919.Section A of the trail, by far the most popular, is on Bear Island and traverses rough and rocky terrain, including a steep climb along a cliff face along the Potomac River's Mather Gorge. At another point in the trail, hikers are required to scramble over and around huge boulders. Sections B and C are less strenuous; section B requires only one brief scramble, and section C has none. Most of the trail is well marked with light blue trail blazes.Section A is best accessed from the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center.Section B and Section C are best accessed from Carderock, Maryland. All sections of the trail are free, although an entrance fee ($10 per car - 2015) is charged when entering and parking near the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. No fee is charged when parking near Carderock. Dogs are not allowed on Section A, nor on Olmsted Island (Great Falls Overlook), but are permitted on a leash at all times everywhere else in the park. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to do the Section A loop from the parking lot.
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  • The Billy Goat Trail is definitely one of the best hikes in the DC area; its a challenging hike, so come prepared with water, athletic gear, and be ready to climb/scramble. Parking can be challenging ...  more »
  • So close to DC, it's a great feeling to get out on a hiking trail along the mighty Potomac River and feel like you are worlds away. The trail is rocky, with some climbing and descending on uneven terr...  more »
  • Great hiking trail that is located along the Potomac River on the Maryland side. It is a great work out but be careful because portions of it can be dangerous and/or hazardous. Enjoy!  more »
  • Really great trail for beginning to intermediate hikers/trail lovers. Just under 8 miles. Features a rock hop section which means that you jump from rock to rock or walk from rock to rock by going up and down. Section A is the hardest and the other sections B, and C, are much easier. Overall a great trail for fun day hikes.
  • There are three Billy Goat Trails (A, B, C). A is the longest and most difficult. B is relatively easy, but a bit longer than C. C has portions in it for climbing only (ways to get around it). Very robust and extensive trails. Great views. And there's water access at each one to freshen up. Most of the trails are shaded. Definitely the best hiking trails in the DC area!
  • This was my first time EVER hiking. I loved it! I will be going back!!!!
  • Psssssssst, come here before 8 am and get top pick in parking spots during the peak seasons. Parked at 7:30 on a very lovely October Sunday and there was a total of 10 cars, came back from the hike at 1 pm and there was a line of cars trying to park. Come early.
  • One of the greatest hiking trails in the DMV. Beautiful scenery with lots of greenery, rivers, hills and quite a rocky trail...just an amazing adventure overall