Exploring Great Falls Park

May 24, 2010

Sunday was my first visit to Great Falls Park in Virginia. Weather predictions called for rain, but luck was on our side.

After rendezvousing with a friend, we checked out the views of the Potomac and then set off on a circuit hike.

Our route led through some varied trails, including Old Carriage Road, Swamp Trail, Ridge Trail and River Trail.

To kick off the wildlife sightings, we found a few deer early in the trek, but they remained at a distance.

We also had some luck with snakes. The first that was observed was little bigger than a worm as it made its way across the path.

This appears to be a baby Northern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii).

Elsewhere there was little beyond the occasional millipede or squirrel.

Toward the end of our two-hour circuit, just as we were discussing how well suited the environment was to snakes, another was spotted.

This black snack was three to four feet in length and was found sitting on some rocks. With some brief online checks, I’ve narrowed it to the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos), Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) or the Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor).

After a few minutes, it was spooked by motion and moved into a rock wall.

In the same area, a small frog was also on the wall.

It’s possible that more were also concealed in the area, but we didn’t see much else besides an Eastern Gartersnake in a creek.

Overall, the park was pleasant and relatively uncrowded. There is also a Maryland counterpart to this national park, and passes are accepted at both locations. I’ll have to give it another try in the near future.

One Response to “Exploring Great Falls Park”

  1. Shaahn Says:

    Lovely. I really like this entry. Love the snakes.

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