Riverbend Park in Great Falls, VA located in Fairfax County lies just above Great Falls National Park. In fact you can walk from Riverbend Park all the way to Great Falls National Park via the Potomac National Heritage Trail along the Potomac River. Unlike Great Falls where you pay a park fee Riverbend is a free regional park and open from dawn till dusk with gates closing promptly at 8:30 p.m. Riverbend Park is located off of Georgetown Pike in Great Falls, Virginia. You follow Riverbend Road through magnificent neighborhoods filled with custom Estate homes and single family homes on large wooded lots. Regional Park signs will navigate you towards the park.
The Nature Center is a neat place for the kids to see local wildlife like snakes, skinks and frogs. For the adults and older kids there is historical information about the people that once inhabited the area before the settlers took over. The Nature Center has a small snack bar, ice cream and gift shop. Outside the nature center they have an observation deck with Adirondack chairs and tables to sit and watch the river. Public restrooms and water fountains are available just outside the nature center. A small frog pond is located below the nature center and at this time of year it allows visitors to check out the newly hatched tadpoles that will eventually turned into frogs.
Once you have finished exploring the nature center you can head out on the trails. Riverbend park has 2.5 miles of Potomac Heritage Trail along the Potomac River which if you head south will take you directly into Great Falls Park. The trails are great for walkers/joggers but strollers and bikes would have a hard time getting through. More trails are available through the upland forests and a few are challenging. If you enjoy geo-caching this park has plenty hidden for you to find. A picnic area is also available right next to the river and offers grills to cook out. This upper portion of the Potomac River is a good place to drop in a kayak or canoe and a launching area is available.
The kids and I love this park! The trails offer plenty of shade and we always see lots of wildlife on our walks. Walking along the river is a great way to get away and is a very convienent location to Northern Virginian residents.
Next Stop….Lyndora Park in Ashburn, VA!