George Washington dreamed of opening up the undeveloped Ohio territory by making the Potomac River navigable. The remains of his Patowmack Canal around Great Falls can be found on the Virginia side of the river. At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation's Capital.