General Park Information
Information on public & school programs
Permits & Picnic Groves
17. Can I hold a special event in Rock Creek Park?
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Answers1.) How can I get a hard-copy of the map of Rock Creek Park?
Hard-copies of maps are available outside the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium located at 5200 Glover Road NW, Washington, DC.
2.) Where can I go to the bathroom?
Bathrooms are located in the following areas:
4. How big is the park?
Rock Creek Park manages 99 sites and nearly 3,000 acres in Washington, DC. Several of the larger park sites managed by Rock Creek Park include Georgetown Waterfront Park, Old Stone House, Glover-Archbold Park, Montrose Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Meridian Hill Park, Palisades Park, and Whitehaven Park. The park manages multiple parts of the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Approximately 40% of park sites are triangles, circles, and squares (some with statues and some without) and several traffic circles throughout the NW and small segments of the NE parts of the city.
Rock Creek Park itself (Reservation 339) in Washington, DC is 1,754 acres in size.
5. When was this park created?
Rock Creek Park was created in 1890. It is the oldest urban park in the National Park Service.
6. When is Rock Creek Park open?
The park is open during daylight hours.
For other park hours or for visitor center hours, visit the Operating Hours and Seasons page
7. When are Beach Drive and other park roads closed?
Sections of Beach Drive NW are closed to automobile traffic seven days a week. These sections include:
These roads are marked YELLOW on the park map.
Check the park Alerts and Conditions page for other closures.
8. When is the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway one way?
The Rock Creek Parkway is one way going south from the Connecticut Avenue, between 6:45- 9:30 AM and one way north from 3:45 - 6:30 PM, MONDAY-FRIDAY. All other times, the Parkway is open to both ways of traffic.
*Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway remains two-way for all federal holidays.
9. Do you have facilities for birthday parties?
We have no indoor facilities for parties. You may reserve a picnic area at www.recreation.gov and parties can participate with public programs that we give.
10. Is my dog allowed in the park?
Yes. However, all dogs and other pets must be on a leash at all times in the park. For additional information on how you and your pet can enjoy Rock Creek Park, visit the Pets page.
12. Can I have a campfire in the park?
13. Can I fish in Rock Creek?
Fishing is allowed south (or downstream) of the Porter Street NW Bridge in the park. For more information on fishing regulations in the park visit Rock Creek Park's fishing page.
14. Can I kayak/ canoe in Rock Creek?
Check the boating section of the rules and regulations page for additional information regarding boating in Rock Creek.
15. Can I swim, wade, bathe in Rock Creek?
All Rock Creek Park areas are closed to swimming, bathing and wading by people and pets.
16. How do I schedule a program?
17. Can I hold a special event in Rock Creek Park?
18. Whom do I call for special use permits?
Call our Special Park Use Permits Office at 202-895-6013.
You may be directed to call the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715 to submit an application.
20. What is the maximum number of people we can have in a picnic area?
Picnic areas numbered 1, 6,7,8,9,10,13,23,and 24 require a reservation permit and are limited to no more than 75 people.
Picnic areas 2,3,4,5,11,12,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 operate as first-come, first-served, and limited to no more than 25 people.
Large group picnics of 25 or more people are not allowed outside of numbered picnic areas unless the superintendent provides an exception in writing.
21.) What is not allowed at our picnic?
The following items are not allowed in Rock Creek Park picnic groves:
22. Can I pick plants, berries, mushrooms, take animals home or remove historical items I find in the park?
No, no one may take anything out of the park, unless he or she is a professor or a professional (USGS, Smithsonian, etc.) with a permit (for plants or rocks) and he or she is using the specimen for an educational purpose. Visitors may be fined by Park Police if they are caught. If you see someone with a metal detector at places like Fort DeRussy or hunting for morels, please report these crimes to Park Police immediately!
23. How many deer, raccoons, foxes, coyote or bears are there in the park?
Rock Creek Park has the largest density of raccoons in the United States. We have red and gray fox in the park, but less of the gray fox. Visitors often think that foxes look like large cats or small dogs. Park employees believe that there are six to eight fox dens scattered throughout the park.
Coyote sightings have been reported since May 2004; they were confirmed by staff in September 2004. At least two animals have been seen in Rock Creek Park north of Military Road. See our coyote frequently asked questions page for more information. There are no bears in the park.
Visitors walking along Rock Creek may see signs of beavers (beaver chews on the trees) or on a lucky day, they may even see one!
24. Where Can I park my boat?
Motorized boats can be parked along the boardwalk at Washington Harbour between Thompson Boat Center and Georgetown Waterfront Park.
Last updated: June 20, 2023