At 1700-plus acres, Rock Creek is twice the size of New York’s Central Park and feels wilder. 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.
Beach Drive is undergoing extensive renovation and various sections will be closed to vehicles over the course of several years. Visit www.nps.gov/rocr to learn more.
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.
You can pick up maps, source hiking information and sign up for ranger-led programs at the Nature Center & Planetarium in the northern part of the park. Cell phone ‘tours’ are stationed around the park. When you see a dial-and-discover sign, just call the listed number and enter the stop number – you can then listen to a ranger give a two-minute narration about that part of the park. 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.