Brought to you by the Great Falls Foundation

Little Falls Race Series


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 like these.

Donate here.

This will be a series of paddlesports races on a whitewater section of the Potomac River. Each race will involve navigating a vessel (kayak; canoe; SUP) downriver from below the rubble dam near Lock 6 to the river-left eddy below the concrete observation platform at the end of Little Falls. Racers will be required to catch a series of eddies as they travel downriver. This race will be a mass start BY CATEGORY and loosely timed --- finishing order will be recorded, and more important than actual time.


June 8, Saturday, 10:00am : Little Falls Race #1

August 10, Saturday, 10:00am : Little Falls Race #2

9:00 AM Sign Waivers & Race/Safety Briefing
10:00 AM Race Start
Staging Location: C&O Canal Lock 5
Parking: Lock 5 lot; Lock 6 lot; Brookmont neighborhood (access across Clara Barton Parkway via either the pedestrian bridge or the designated crosswalk)
Awards Ceremony: Lock 5 picnic tables, immediately following race
Anticipated finish time: 12:00 NOON


*Enter here if you entered the Great Falls Race, if you have ever been a sponsored kayaker, or if you've paddled Class V --- you know who you are!

See Facebook for updated race course maps.

See Race Maps

Details: After registration and safety meeting at Lock 5, all racers will head to the putin, paddle up the canal, *paddle down Z-channel, and to the start below the rubble dam on river right. This is an on water mass start race BY CATEGORY! At the start racers will line up facing up river. On the whistle/bell racers will turn around and proceed down river. At each of the 4 markers (see map & photos) racers will pass the marker on the outside of the marker (this means you will be between the marker and the riverbank). For markers 1, 3, and 4, you will be on the right and the marker will be on your left. For marker 2, you will be on left and the marker will be on your right. The finish will be at the take out eddy immediately below the concrete platform on river left. Official times will not be kept, only finish order.

Pre-Race Safety Meeting: The Race Director will review the course and any hazards with all participants prior to the start of each race. All racers will meet at the Lock 5 parking area on the Clara Barton Parkway for the pre-race safety meeting. Everyone will then proceed to the feeder canal located between Locks 5 and 6. All racers* will then paddle together up the feeder canal and down Z-channel to the start of the race.

(*Stand Up Paddleboarders will not be asked or required to paddle Z-channel; however all K-1, C-1, and Canoe boaters will be as a skills assessment.)

Racer Skills Assessments: The Race Director will be responsible for determining whether appropriate skill level is present for each racer. Racers will be screened by the race staff on their capability to adequately paddle and race through the specified course. Each participant’s involvement in the race is subject to the race director’s approval. If there is any doubt about a racer competing in a safe manner, that racer will not be allowed to enter.

Safety Personnel: Each participant/racer will be expected to provide safety support for all of the other participants/racers. This process will be explained during the pre-race meeting. Additional, non-racing safety personnel in boats will be posted throughout the course.