Lonely Planet review
At 1700 acres, Rock Creek is twice the size of New York’s Central Park and feels a hell of a lot more wild. You can be out here and feel utterly removed from the city. Even coyotes have settled into the wilderness (they’re not dangerous, by the way). Rock Creek Park begins at the Potomac’s east bank near Georgetown and extends to and beyond the northern city boundaries. Narrow in its southern stretches, where it hews to the winding course of the waterway it’s named for, it broadens into wide, peaceful parklands in Upper Northwest DC. Terrific trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding extend the entire length, and the boundaries enclose Civil War forts, dense forest and wildflower-strewn fields.
There are visitor centers at the Nature Center & Planetarium and Peirce Mill where you can pick up maps and sign up for ranger-led programs. Cell phone ‘tours’ are stationed around the park; when you see a dial-and-discover sign, just enter the listed number. Southwest of the Nature Center, the Soapstone Valley Park extension, off Connecticut Ave at Albemarle St NW, preserves quarries where the area’s original Algonquin residents dug soapstone for shaping their cookware.
In summer, check what’s on at the Carter Barron Amphitheater.