Things To Know Before You Come

The National Park Service Civil War Defense of Washington are administered by three national parks. The following information will help you to plan your visit to the sites.

  • Click here for a list of fort sites and what you can expect to see when you get there.
  • Operating hours are from dawn to dusk.
  • Pets on leashes of 6' or less are allowed. Please clean up after your pet.
  • Please dispose of your garbage and other refuse in park-provided containers, or take it with you.
  • No camping in National Park Service Defense of Washington sites. Please contact Greenbelt Park or Prince William Forest Park if you are interested in nearby campgrounds.
  • Avoid climbing on any part of historic fortification or on the batteries, some areas are slippery and damp, especially in rain and snow. Please stay off parapets and keep a careful eye on children.
  • If you are hiking or biking, please consider the following suggestions:
    • If you plan to hike or bike solo, give your intended route and length of trip to a friend.
    • Wear proper clothing. Hiking boots should be sturdy, have good traction and ankle support, and should be well broken-in ahead of time.
    • Bring bottled water.
    • Prevent damage to resources by bicycling on paved roads and designated bike trails only.
    • For your safety while hiking, stay on the established trails and watch your footing at all times.
    • Poison ivy and ticks are common in the parks. Learn to recognize poison ivy in order to avoid this plant. Stay on trails and avoid bushy areas. Wearing a hat, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt helps, too.
    • Avoid hypothermia (the dangerous lowering of body temperature) by keeping dry. Dress in layers that can be easily removed or added as you heat up or cool down.
  • All natural and cultural objects are protected by law. Do not collect or disturb rocks, animals, or plants, including wildflowers or dead trees.
  • Parking is limited in Washington, D.C. Metro is a good alternative to driving your vehicle in town.

Contact each park site for more information or to discuss accessibility issues. more...

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