A technical hike along Mather Gorge.


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FATMAP difficulty grade



The Billy Goat Trail is a popular hike along the Potomac River and Mather Gorge.

Section A of the trail is mapped here as a loop, and is the most difficult section of the Billy Goat Trail, and is dramatically more difficult than Section C. While Section A does provide incredible views of the Mather Gorge formed by the Potomac River, the hiking is anything but easy.

Hikers should expect to scale steep, rocky terrain, with some sections of light scrambling. The NPS notes that this section of trail is "technical and strenuous," and as of July 3, 2020, this trail is now a one-way hike, heading from upstream near Great Falls and ending downstream near Anglers.

The correct path of travel is shown here as a loop with the C&O Towpath. Note that this trail also frequently closes when the water gets too high.

According to the NPS, "Section A of the Billy Goat Trail often closes due to flooding.

Under normal conditions, the trail is closed when the gauge at Little Falls reaches 5 feet and reopens when the gauge falls to 4.8 feet.

However, under certain circumstances, the trail may be closed at lower levels." [Check the current conditions here.](https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm) Sources: https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/billy-goat-trail.htm