Billy Goat Trail, Potomac

4.7
#1 of 8 in Outdoors 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, is
Billy 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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
235 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Blue blaze trail markers are set often, generally easy to see, but many parts of the hike will be very slow rock / boulder fields. I loved this, but it may not be for everyone. Great views of the Poto...  more »
  • This trail is just wonderful, lots of wild nature, very close to the Potomac river, some rock climbing but well manageable!  more »

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