The crumbling graveyard dates from the early 1800s. It takes its name from Mt Zion United Methodist Church, which used to be located beside the site. Toppled, overgrown headstones scatter in a forlorn patch of trees, marking the graves of some 500 to 1500 African American residents. During the mid-1800s, slaves escaping from the South hid in a vault on the grounds.

Mt Zion is actually composed of two cemeteries – the old Methodist Burying Grounds and the Female Union Band Society Graveyard – though no fence marks the separation.

To reach the cemetery, look for the 'No Outlet' road (Mill Rd) leading in just west of the building at 2531 Q St NW (and just east of Dumbarton House's gate).