The Great Falls Canal and Locks in McLean, Virginia, is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (NHCEL) shared jointly by the NCS and the VA Sections (as it is within the NCS boundary and also in VA). It's a great opportunity for a joint NCS-VA Sections activity, especially in 2022, which happens to be the Virginia Section's Centennial year!
The canal & locks were constructed from 1785 to 1802 and operated until 1821. Check out our NCS website for more information on this NHCEL: Patowmack Canal & Locks - Great Falls VA - ASCE NHCEL.
We will walk along the canal route observing remnants of canal walls, the Holding Basin, 5 locks, and Matildaville. We'll also take time to appreciate the Great Falls overlook and flood record marker - must see to believe. We'll also observe the ASCE NHCEL Plaque mounted in 1969 on a boulder face adjacent to Lock 1.
ENTRY FEE WAIVED: The McLean VA site is a National Park and normally has a $20 per car entry fee; however, the entry fee will be waived on the federal/national Veterans Day Holiday on Friday, November 11th. This is a great opportunity for a joint Section activity - tour of the Great Falls Canal & Locks NHCEL.
To get a real appreciation of the scope of the project you need to actually walk the site. If the weather cooperates it's a great place for a picnic, too. It's an easy 2.5 miles (round trip) walk, so wear good/comfortable shoes. Sections of this trail can be muddy after it rains, especially near the Holding Basin. Family members are welcome, but be advised of the need for everyone (especially youngsters) to stay close to the group - avoid wandering off the path(s). To help protect this site of American Civil Engineering history, visitors must not climb on the ruins. Depending on our pace, plan on completing the tour around noon.