Editors' pick

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park photo
(Michael Temchine)

Editorial Review

Among the congestion and sprawl of the city, an extensive system of trails and paths covers Rock Creek Park and outlying areas. For the physical-fitness enthusiasts, a 1.5 mile exercise course begins near Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue. For the horse rider, 11 miles of wide dirt and gravel bridle trails crisscross the northern section of the park. There are multiple access points to the paths throughout the city.

In addition to the recreational activities in Rock Creek Park, a fabulous educational and historical experience is also found at the Nature Center and Planetarium, the Old Stone House and the Peirce Mill.

Note: The park is only open during the daylight hours. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times. Fires are permitted only in grills or fireplaces. Picking of wildflowers or any other natural object is prohibited.

Athletic fields: A large recreation area lies at 16th and Kennedy streets with soccer, football, volleyball and field hockey fields, which can be reserved through the DC Department of Recreation. Call 202-767-8363 for information.
Biking trail: A signed bike route runs from the Lincoln Memorial through the park into Maryland.
Exercise trail: A 1.5-mile course begins at Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue.
Hiking trails: A green-blazed trail follows the western ridge of the park, and a blue-blazed trail follows the east side of the creek. A tan-blazed trail connects the two.
Horseback riding: Eleven miles of wide, dirt and gravel bridle trails traverse Northern part of the park.
Picnic areas: Thirty areas are scattered throughout the park, some with shelters.
Tennis courts: Fifteen soft-surface and 10 hard-surface tennis courts are at 16th and Kennedy streets NW, and another three soft-surface courts are located off Park Road, east of Peirce Mill.

Places of Interest:
Rock Creek Nature Center and Planetarium: The Nature Center is the park's major information center as well as the main focus for the park's natural history education.
National Zoological Park: Off Beach drive, the Zoo houses more than 2,000 animals from around the world.
Rock Creek Golf Course: This 18-hole public golf course is located at 16th and Rittenhouse streets NW.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre: Watch summer performances in this 4,000-seat outdoor theater.
Battery Kemble: This is a wonderful area for recreational activities ranging from picnicking and games in the summer to skiing and sledding in the winter.
Peirce Mill: Step back in history and watch the restored grist mill, powered by falling water alone, grind grains into flour.
Art Barn: Across from Peirce Mill, the Art Barn is an old carriage house displaying local artists' work.
Thompson Boat House: The Boat House is the ideal place to rent bikes, canoes and rowboats to explore the nearby Potomac and Theodore Roosevelt Island.
Old Stone House: The Old Stone House stands alone as the only pre-Revolutionary War building in the city.
Glover-Archbold Park: Connected to Rock Creek Park, this park offers acres of forested lands with nature trails running the entire length.
Montrose Park: Located on the northern edge of Georgetown, Montrose offers tennis, fields and picnic areas.
Dumbarton Oaks Park: Walk the paths of the historic Dumbarton Oaks estate and wander through the wildflower gardens.