One of the prettiest locations to see bluebells is Riverbend Park in Great Falls, Virginia. This Fairfax County Park sits on the banks of the Potomac River, about a mile and a half north of Great Falls National Park. A riverside trail connects the two parks and is a beautiful place to take a springtime stroll. Riverbend Park’s location on a Potomac River bend has created a rare combination of geology, plant life, wildlife, isolation, and beauty.
Riverbend Park in Great Falls holds its annual Bluebell Festival in April. This year I also had a chance to witness this spectacular scene of blooming bluebells. Virginia bluebells, which were then in peak bloom, and other wildflowers, were the highlights for many visitors. At the end of the trail, visitors could look through a telescope to see an eagle family in its nest on Minnehaha Island.
Other activities included puppet shows, live music by Alyssa Janes, a moon bounce, wagon rides, face painting, meet the animals, tour a model longhouse, and arts and crafts.
Virginia bluebells are stunning native wildflowers that cover acres of forest along the river. The bluebells form “carpets of purple and blue that ring in the spring.” The festival featured both family-friendly activities and unique nature experiences.
I spoke with Riverbend Park manager John Callow for bluebell viewing tips. He recommended that visitors take the riverside trail north from the park, rather than south. The southward trail toward Great Falls is a more popular and crowded path, so if you head northward you are likely to encounter fewer people. He said visitors are likely to see lots of bluebells in either direction, but the northbound trail has a larger variety of other wildflowers, such as trillium and trout lilies.
Riverbend Park is located at 8700 Potomac Hills Street, Great Falls, VA.