Billy Goat Trail, Potomac

4.8
#2 of 10 in Parks in Montgomery County
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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Billy Goat Trail Reviews
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205 reviews
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4.9
TripAdvisor
  • October 2, 2017
    We parked in the Carderock lot which is the closest to trail C. Surprisingly sparse for a Saturday morning compared to the severely packed lot for trail A (most popular). Nice views, but I have nothin...  more »
  • October 2, 2017
    Billy Goat Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes in the Potomac area - but one of the most challenging. After venturing down what appears to be a flat trail, suddenly the hiker is climbing small ...  more »
  • September 13, 2017
    This is one of my favorite hikes in the Washington, D.C. area. It crazy rocky. Up and down over big rocks. Can't use hiking poles because you need your hands to grab the rocks as you climb about like ...  more »
Google
  • June 13, 2017
    My kids love this trail. My younger go until it gets very rough and older explore the hard part. Lots of rocks to climb though. Beautiful views of the river. Can be a little crowded. Make sure you understand fitness requirements. The hard part is strenuous.
  • June 30, 2017
    Beautiful scenic trails! Hate that this place is so naturally public but refuses to offer garbage cans. NO trash allowed is posted everywhere.
  • May 6, 2017
    Fun hike, make it as long as you want. Be careful as about a third of it is a rock scramble and your dog will have trouble with it. Listen to the signs and don't take your dog.
  • June 14, 2017
    Nice place for a hike. Beautiful views of river from the cliffs. Pretty easy hike.
  • February 4, 2017
    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.

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