‘This is crazy’: Visitors react after flooding causes popular Maryland nature trails to close

Visitors check out the rising waters in the Potomac River near the Great Falls Overlook on Sunday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

The Great Falls Overlook was closed to visitors on Sunday because of rising waters in the Potomac River. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Water gushes in the Potomac River outside of the Great Falls Overlook on Sunday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Section A of the Great Falls Overlook was closed to visitors on Sunday because of flooding. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Water gushes in the Potomac River outside of the Great Falls Overlook on Sunday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Water gushes in the Potomac River on Sunday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

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Some popular nature trails are closed to visitors until further notice after storms caused some major flooding over the weekend.

The Great Falls Overlook, the Olmsted Island Boardwalk and Section A of the Billy Goat Trail were closed by the National Park Service because of the rising levels of the Potomac River.

Rebecca Jahi and her family made a point to stop by the Great Falls Overlook to see the Potomac gushing after they were in the area for a soccer game. She said they were surprised to see it was closed.

“I said, ‘oh no, it’s closed,’ but it’s still pretty incredible,” Jahi said. “We knew that the river would be ripping and roaring after all of the rain and we love to see it at its fullest.”

Watch video of the floodwaters in the D.C. area. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

Richard Tracy from D.C. said he’s lived in the area for more than 15 years and he said it’s a rare sight to see the overlook closed.

“I’ve dreamed of kayaking here and thinking ‘oh you can just go down this chute and it would be a lot of fun. But this is like scary, you could die,” Tracy said. “This is an awesome power for the water.”

Jennifer Rabanal said her friend said they had to check it out after the rain stopped this weekend. She was surprised to see just how high the water was on Sunday.

“This is crazy! It’s wild,” Rabanal said.

You can go up to the edge to see the water, but you can’t venture onto the overlook because it’s closed after the weekend rainfall.

“It’s usually not like this. It’s usually calm waters but yeah that’s why we’re here because we heard it was unusual and different,” she said.

The NPS said visitors should check the current closures online before heading to the park.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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