2018 Little Falls Race – Sunday, August 26

We’ll announce and map the race course on our Facebook event page!

The 2018 Little Falls Race will take place the day after the Great Falls Race. This is a great event for adults and kids who are comfortable in Class III whitewater.

No fee required. However, the Great Falls Foundation will appreciate any donations you wish to offer, which we will put towards hosting more community river events. Donate here.

Race details and course description here.

Follow announcements at our Facebook event.

2018 Great Falls Race – Saturday, August 25

Register here.
Fee: $25 early registration; $35 starting August 20.
Note: after completing the on-line registration form, you must click through to the PayPal site to pay your entry fee. Registration is incomplete until fee is paid.
Pre-registrations online only – no on-site registration on race day!

Race details and course descriptions here.

Follow announcements at our Facebook event.


7:00 AM Pre-Race Table Opens
8:00 AM Racer Meeting & Safety Briefing
9:00 AM Officials & Safety Crew move to Race Area
10:00 AM Great Falls Race Start
2:00 PM    Anticipated Completion

Staging Location: Great Falls Park, MD (picnic area, near the refreshments stand)
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, 11710 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854

Family Day & Introduction to Paddling, July 22, 2018

Partnering with Calleva, the Canoe Cruisers Association, & Team River Runner DC

Sunday, July 22 from 1pm – 7:30pm

Register here.

A featured event of the Great Falls Foundation’s Potomac River Celebration, the Family Day & Introduction to Paddling event will introduce the community to the local Potomac River paddle sports collective. Families & Friends will paddle the flat waters of Seneca Creek with experienced guides. No experience is necessary and all boats, paddle boards and gear will be provided. Children must be at least 5 years old. A cookout will follow the paddling @ 5:30 pm – 7:30pm. All events and cookout are free. Please sign up for ONLY 1 group time slot. You will be contacted by event staff, if you have signed up for more than 1.


PADDLING REGISTRATION: There are 3 group launch times available. Each group has a maximum of 55 participants. Participants must register individually, not as a group. You will need to sign event waivers at the Check In table.

  • Group 1: Arrive & check in @ 1pm. Quick brief, gear up & on water 1:30pm-2:45pm. Head to dock 2:45pm. Return boats no later than 3pm.
  • Group 2: Arrive & check in @ 2:30pm. Quick brief, gear up & on water 3pm-4:15pm. Head to dock 4:15pm. Return boats no later than 4:30pm.
  • Group 3: Arrive & check in @ 4pm. Quick brief, gear up & on water 4:30pm-5:45pm. Head to dock 5:45pm. Return boats no later than 6pm.

Participants will need to return to the dock by the above schedule so that the next group can get geared up.

Again, there are limited slots for each group, so please sign up on-line early to reserve your spot. There will be same-day, at-event sign ups, HOWEVER, it is first come-first served. Please sign up for ONLY one GROUP timeslot. You will be contacted by event staff if you have signed up for more than one.

FOOD: A cookout will follow paddling, starting at 5:30 pm, courtesy of the Washington-Rockville Elks Lodge #15, Team River Runner, Canoe Cruisers Associatin, Great Falls Foundation, and American Canoe Association. No concessions available.

COST: Free (all events and cookout)

WHAT TO WEAR: Clothing and shoes that can get wet. Make sure to check the weather before.

WHAT TO BRING: Water, sunscreen, snacks and a change of clothes.

DATE & TIME: Sunday, July 22 from 1pm – 7:30pm

LOCATION: Riley’s Lock at 13015 Rileys Lock Rd, Poolesville, Maryland 20837; where the road ends at the Calleva white house.

HOSTED BY: Great Falls Foundation, Canoe Cruisers Association, Calleva’s Liquid Adventures, Team River Runner, and American Canoe Association.


All weekend Potomac Celebration events POSTPONED

Due to high and fluctuating river levels, with predictions for the Potomac to crest well over 10′ this weekend, and thunderstorms all week, we have decided to postpone all events originally scheduled for May 19-20, 2018.

The Family & Introduction to Paddling Day (originally scheduled for May 20) will now be held on Sunday, July 22nd. Original registrations will NOT carry over to

the new July 22nd date. The new registration will re-open 3 weeks prior to the event. We will be contacting those of you who registered for the event with an additional notification of event cancellation.

We will announce new dates for the S-Turn Giant Slalom and the Attainment Race (originally scheduled for May 19-20) as soon as possible.

Top Yough Race

The Great Falls Foundations has partnered with local paddlers to host the 2018 Isaac Ludwig Memorial Top Yough Race!

Date: Saturday, April 21
Registration: 9:00 am – 10:30 am at the Upper Yough put-in, Garret County, Maryland
Race Start: 12:00noon
Start Line: Above Swallow Falls
Finish Line: Depends on river level (read below)

Fee: $10
T-shirts: $5 each

More info here.

This grass roots downriver race has been a popular spring kick off event for the class 4-5 paddling community in the Mid Atlantic for 10 years.

The race will start at the top of Swallow Falls and end just after Suck Hole at levels between 180 and 300 cfs. However, due to the recent increased suck factor of suck hole… we will likely end the race above the Chinese Puzzle/Boulder Maze lead-in to Suck Hole at levels between 300 and 900 cfs. At levels above 900 cfs or below 180ish we will fall back on a rain date of April 21st.

As always, parking at the put-in and take-out remains a serious issue – so, please consolidate into vehicles as much as possible. If your vehicle does not fit in the parking lot at the Top Yough put-in, you’ll need to park your vehicle on the other side of the river in the Swallow Falls parking lot. Please DO NOT park on the road. Violators may be ticketed or towed. Adhering to the guidelines of the park is a condition of our race permit, if we are in violation, we may not be granted a permit in the future.

Cathy Richards has again generously offered her place at the take-out immediately following the race to gather for the awards ceremony.

The Yough will likely be very high next Saturday and it will be cold. The entire race course is viewable from a gentle trail on river right starting at the put-in. All are welcome to spectate but be ask that the boater parking lot be reserved for competitors.  The state park has made it clear that no one is allowed to park along the road.

Any volunteers who are intending to spectate would be greatly appreciated to assist with timing or Safety if and however they are able. If you have any questions OR would like to volunteer, please contact Amos Ludwig and Geoff Calhoun! We are still in need of safety boaters.

Looking forward to seeing you all for another great year of racing!

NOTE: All participants will be required to sign an ACA waiver. If you are a member of the ACA, please bring your membership number. If you’re not a member, consider joining by clicking here. Minors are welcome to participate, but are required to have a parent sign a waiver. If a parent will not be present on the day of the race, contact Amos Ludwig in advance so that I can secure you a copy to sign before your arrival.

John Harding joins the Board of Directors!

We welcome John Harding to the Great Falls Foundation Board of Directors. The Board also elected John to be our new Treasurer.

Next time you see him on the river, please thank John for stepping up to support our great community.

Thank you Tom!

Tom Calhoun was a founding member of the Great Falls Foundation’s Board of Directors, and our first Treasurer. Tom has decided to resign from the Board. He was instrumental in the conception and establishment of the Foundation, and leaves the organization in healthy financial shape. We appreciate the guidance he provided to our fledgling organization, and look forward to his continuing support as we evolve.

Tom, thank you for all of your time, effort, and good cheer!

2018 Calendar of Events

Potomac River Celebration

TBA : S-Turn Giant Slalom Race
TBA : Potomac Potluck
TBA : Attainment Race
July 22, Sunday, 2:00pm : Family Day & Introduction to Paddling, partnering with Calleva, the Canoe Cruisers Association, & Team River Runner DC

Great Falls Race & Potomac River Festival

August 25, Saturday, 10:00am : Great Falls Race
August 25, Saturday, 2:00pm : Potomac Festival
August 26, Sunday, 10:00am : Little Falls Race
August 26, Sunday : [TBA] SUP Event

Paddle-the-Potomac Race Series

February 24, Saturday, 10:00am : Attainment Race
TBA : Attainment Race
CANCELED : Little Falls Race
August 26, Sunday, 10:00am : Little Falls Race


Great Falls Race
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, 11710 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854

S-Turn Giant Slalom Races
Great Falls National Park,9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102

Attainment Races
Anglers Beach, across from Old Anglers Inn, 10801 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854 (38.9818873, -77.2262411)

Little Falls Races
Lock 5, Clara Barton Parkway, Bethesda, MD 20816

Potomac Festival
Rockwood Manor, 11001 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854

Potomac Pot-Luck

Family Day & Introduction to Paddling
Riley’s Lock, 13025 Riley’s Lock Rd, Poolesville, MD 20837