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A Trip to Difficult Run

One of my favorite places to visit is Difficult Run near Great Falls National Park. I know this place gets a lot of visitors but I still think it is one of the hidden gems of our area. Difficult Run cuts through large rock formations and down into a gorge. I have been in the fall, spring, and now winter and it never disappoints.


Difficult Run in the Fall

Difficult Run

Difficult Run in the Spring

My son and I headed out yesterday to hike through the mud. It was all worth it because even with no leaves on the trees the sights were still incredible. As you walk down the path you’ll come to cascade after cascade. And I guess one section isn’t technically a “waterfall” but it is the size of many.  There are also a lot of places where you can crawl out onto the rocks and get very near the running rapids and it is pretty exciting.

Full waterfall with cascades

Looking Up the Gorge

There is a place on the trail where it cuts off to Ridge Trail to the left. This trail will take you to Great Falls National Park. We didn’t go that way yesterday as my son had fallen and cut his leg open on a rock. He had kept going after I bandaged it (always carry a first aid kit!) but I knew he was hurting. However, the views are spectacular and worth a hike.


Close to the Rapids

Instead of going left, we took a right and headed down to get close to the rapids. Even with high water there are great locations to set up a camera and grab long exposures. Or just look at how the water creates the gorge. You won’t be disappointed.


Heading Towards Great Falls in Autumn

It was a short trip but enjoyable. I never get tired of photographing this area and am already excited for spring.

Difficult Run in the Rain

I’ve been trying to rest and heal from a badly sprained ankle but it is tough. I see tons of photos of wild flowers blooming everywhere and waterfalls that are running fast due to all of our rain and I just want to be out there. Of course all of this is complicated by my kids’ sports schedules that leave me with few hours in my weekend to get out and hike. Last weekend I had a handful of hours on Saturday and decided to head to Difficult Run.  This has become one of my favorite trails in the Northern Virginia area. It is very picturesque and all of the little waterfalls and bigger ones are fun to hike along.

I didn’t go very far. I maybe went about a half a mile down the trail. It wasn’t easy because there was slippery mud and I had to work hard not to re-injure my ankle (I wasn’t successful but I at least waited another day). I spent a lot of time taking photos. I wanted to try and work on my composition and angles. There were rocks I really wanted to climb onto for photos but I heard my man’s voice in my head saying, “Be careful!” so I was.

The water was really flowing. It was beautiful. I’m actually pretty proud of how most of my photos turned out. Less mud would have been nice but with the force of the water it was pretty inevitable. We are supposed to get a ton more of rain this weekend but since my parents will be visiting I won’t be able to get out once again.  Enjoy the photos.

Difficult Run in May

Difficult Run

Difficult Run

Difficult Run Difficult Run

Difficult Run