Rock Creek Park Superintendent Compendium



Designations, closures, permit requirements and other restrictions imposed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent.

This Compendium for Rock Creek Park lists the various restrictions, conditions, public use limitations, closures and other designations that are allowed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent. The Superintendent’s discretionary authority is based on certain National Park Service (NPS) general regulations in the U.S. Code – 36 CFR – Parks, Forest and Public Property. 36 CFR Parts 1-6 as well as the park’s special regulation at 36 CFR 7.96, apply to the National Capital Region. The Compendium is separate and apart from the NPS general regulations at 36 CFR parts 1-6, the NPS Management Policies, and Rock Creek Park’s special regulation at 36 CFR 7.96, which may be found on the NPS’s website at and at the Government Printing Office’s website at

Julia Washburn, Superintendent Date



(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:

Unless otherwise designated, all park land is open between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

The Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium:

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm

Closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days.

The Old Stone House:

Open year-round on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum section of the house (beyond the park store) may close earlier or not be available to the public for safety reasons at times (evenings, very cloudy days) due to very limited lighting in the historic house.

Closes at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

Closed on Christmas Day.

The Peirce Barn/Peirce Mill complex buildings are open:

March 1 - October 31 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

November 1 – February 28/29 on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Advanced reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.

Peirce Mill and Peirce Barn are closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Carter Barron Amphitheatre is currently closed for repairs.


Public Use Limits:

Picnic areas 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 and 24 require a reservation permit from May through November 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 and 29 operate as first- come, first-served, and are limited to no more than 25 people.

Picnicking is prohibited at Fort Stevens and Battleground National Cemetery.

Large group picnics of 25 or more people are not allowed outside of numbered picnic areas unless the Superintendent provides an exception in writing.

Informal picnics of fewer than 25 people are allowed in all other lawn areas except for the park areas listed above.

Coolers, scooters, rollerblades, bicycles, glass containers, picnic baskets, pets and cans are prohibited inside Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium.

Service animals for the disabled are allowed inside Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium when officially assisting a disabled person.

Photography and audio and video recording of events at Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium is prohibited except as authorized under a Special Use Permit.

Old Stone House visitor limit is 25 people.

The Peirce Mill visitor limit in the basement and first floor is 25 persons on each level. All other areas and floors are restricted, and may only be accessed when authorized by the Superintendent.

Parking is allowed only in designated parking areas.

Weddings are allowed at Meridian Hill Park, Montrose Park, the garden at the Old Stone House, and at Georgetown Waterfront Park. Weddings in areas administered by Rock Creek Park require a Special Use Permit. There is a limit of 50 people; no chairs, balloons or decorations are allowed. Receptions are not allowed. Weddings at the Old Stone House are limited to one per day.

Washing vehicles within Rock Creek Park is prohibited.

Moon bounces, carnival rides, dunk tanks, photo booths, livestock/petting zoos, or similar specialized equipment and activities are prohibited.

Hanging hammocks on park vegetation and on buildings or other structures is prohibited. Hammocks may only be used with a self-supporting frame.

Repair or maintenance of vehicles (other than short-term emergency repairs) by private individuals or commercial businesses within Rock Creek Park is prohibited



Unless otherwise designated, all park land is closed between the hours of sunset and sunrise except for vehicular traffic on park roads. Buses, commercial vehicles, and trucks over ½ ton are prohibited on park roads unless given specific permission in writing by the Superintendent.

The parks along 16th Street NW, including Meridian Hill Park, are closed midnight to 5:00 am from May through October, and 9:00 pm to 5:00 am November through April.

Sections of Beach Drive, Bingham Drive, and Sherrill Drive NW are closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekends and federal holidays. Sherrill, Bingham, Ross and Morrow Drives NW are closed to motor vehicle traffic when snow or ice is present.

Carter Barron Amphitheatre parking lot is closed from midnight until 5 am.

For additional information on closures within the park visit our Management page or the Alerts page


Area designations for specific use or Activities

The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

Docking or Mooring Areas:

Mooring of boats at the dock at Washington Harbour on the Georgetown Waterfront is prohibited between midnight and 6 am, as determined by the Superintendent, Rock Creek Park, dated January 30, 2002, 36 CFR 1.5, consistent with the determination by the Superintendent, C&O Canal NHP, dated June 22, 1998, and the Regional Director's memorandum dated November 20, 1997.

Bicycle Use Areas/Routes:

36 CFR 4.30 prohibits the use of bicycles except on park roads, in parking areas, and on paved routes designated for bicycle use. In addition:

  • Operating a bicycle abreast of another bicycle is prohibited except on sections of roads closed to motor vehicles to allow for recreational use.
  • All unpaved trails, and all off-trail or off-road areas are closed to bicycle use.
  • Bicycles must be operated at speeds reasonable for existing conditions. Speed should not exceed 15 mph on paved multi-use recreation trails or 25 mph on paved roadways.
  • Bicyclists must adhere to protective equipment requirements and regulations set by the District of Columbia.
Electric bikes or “e-bikes” – defined as a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p) -- are allowed in areas administered by Rock Creek Park where traditional bicycles are allowed. This includes all park roads, parking areas, and paved trails, specifically:
  • Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW
  • Piney Branch Parkway NW
  • Blagden Avenue NW
  • Morrow Drive NW
  • Beach Drive NW
  • Glover Road NW
  • Ross Drive NW
  • Grant Road NW
  • Ridge Road NW
  • Sherrill Drive NW
  • Bingham Drive NW
  • Waterside Drive NW
  • West Beach Drive NW
  • Shoreham Drive NW
  • Cathedral Avenue NW
  • Horse Stable Road NW
  • Lovers Lane NW
  • Edgewater Stables parking lot and access road
  • All picnic grove parking lots
  • Thompson Boat Center parking lots and access road
  • Maintenance Yard parking lot and access road
  • Nature Center parking lot and access road
  • Klingle Mansion parking lot and access road
  • Center for Urban Ecology access road
  • Battery Kemble parking lot and access road
  • Brightwood Recreation Area parking lot and paved paths
  • Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail network
  • Capital Crescent Trail
  • Blagden Avenue Trail
  • Fort Reno Trail
  • Barnard Hill access road
  • Fort Totten access road
  • Civil War Defenses of Washington Hiker-Biker Trail
E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited, including all unpaved horse and pedestrian trails.
  • A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(h)(2)-(5).
  • Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within Rock Creek Park is governed by District of Columbia law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of District of Columbia law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.

Allowing electric bicycles on those roads, parking areas and paved trails noted previously will create new opportunities for recreation and access within the park, and provide additional benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, stress relief, reduction in body fat, and improved strength/flexibility. The NPS expects the following impacts on park visitors, resources or values – minor elevated noise levels, minimal air quality impacts (from electrical power generation for bike batteries), minimal disturbance of wildlife, potential safety issues from speeding, and improved access to natural and recreational resources. This action is covered by categorical exclusion A.8, specifically, “Modifications or revisions to existing regulations, or the promulgation of new regulations for NPS-administered areas, provided the modifications, revisions or new regulations do not: a) Increase public use to the extent of compromising the nature and character of the area or causing physical damage to it, b) Introduce noncompatible uses which might compromise the nature and characteristics of the area, or cause physical damage to it, c) Conflict with adjacent ownerships or land uses, or d) Cause a nuisance to adjacent owners or occupants.” This categorical exclusion is found in 3.3.A.8 in the NPS NEPA Handbook, page 34.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

  • Dogs must be on leash within park areas, and park visitors must comply with District of Columbia leash laws. Dogs are prohibited from tennis courts and playgrounds.
  • Camping is prohibited within all park areas.
  • All park areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with an artificial light.
  • All park areas are closed to swimming, wading and bathing by people or household pets. Archery target practice is prohibited.
  • Canopies, tents or shade structures anchored to the ground, awnings or portable pavilions are prohibited except where written permission is obtained from the Superintendent.
  • Fishing is permitted in Rock Creek between the Potomac River and Porter Street, NW. District of Columbia fishing laws apply, including the requirement to possess a fishing license.
  • Removing or damaging natural or cultural resources is prohibited.
  • No unauthorized vehicles (including golf carts, carts, trucks, bicycles) are allowed to drive or park on park turf.
  • Parasailing, windboarding, and gliding are prohibited in the park. The practice of groundhandling techniques for parasailing may be authorized under a permit for designated areas of the park.

Unmanned Aircraft

The term "unmanned aircraft" means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce. Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Rock Creek Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the Superintendent.

Justification: Rock Creek Park (United States Reservation 339) was founded in 1890 by the U.S. Congress as "a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States." The founding legislation also noted that the management of Rock Creek Park, which transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, "shall provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, animals, or curiosities within said park, and their retention in their natural condition, as nearly as possible." Under NPS Management Policies, the impact of the use of unmanned aircraft over Rock Creek Park on soundscapes, vistas, cultural landscapes, migratory birds, critical migratory bird habitat and other features of the park that must remain in the condition mandated by Congress must be assessed before the park can contemplate their use.

Rock Creek Park currently administers over 3,000 acres in 99 federal reservations stretching across the northwest and northeast quadrants of Washington, DC. Unmanned aircraft use throughout these reservations is prohibited until NPS can make a determination of the security concerns and possible impacts from an unmanned aircraft launched from within Rock Creek Park on areas adjacent to or surrounded by National Park Service land. These include the Federal Aviation Administration's Prohibited Area P-56B, adjacent to Dumbarton Oaks Park, Whitehaven Parkway, Normanstone Parkway, and sections of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway; the 41 foreign missions that border these reservations along Reservation 339, Civil War Defenses of Washington, Whitehaven Parkway, Normanstone Parkway, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Klingle Valley, Melvin Hazen Park, and Glover Archbold Park, among other reservations; the United States Department of Homeland Security Headquarters, which borders Glover Archbold Park and the Civil War Defenses of Washington; Federal Aviation Administration communications facilities, located on Civil War Defenses of Washington land; United States Army Corps of Engineers drinking water processing facilities and reservoirs adjacent to Potomac Palisades; and DC Water reservoir and drinking water processing facilities bounded by Civil War Defenses of Washington land.

The preservation of the reverential and contemplative atmosphere of Battleground National Cemetery, at which 41 Union veterans of the Civil War Battle of Fort Stevens are interred, must also be considered in the assessment of this new use.

Given the requirement under NPS management Policies 2006 that any new use must be assessed for appropriateness and possible impacts, less restrictive measures that would allow any use of an unmanned aircraft will not suffice.


Mask Requirement

Regardless of vaccination status or local community transmission levels, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in all common areas and shared workspaces in federally owned buildings administered by the National Park Service and in office space leased by the National Park Service.

Federally owned buildings administered by the National Park Service include, but are not limited to, visitor centers, administrative offices, maintenance facilities, and shared government quarters; buildings assigned to concessioners or other park partners; and buildings leased for commercial purposes to individuals or entities other than the National Park Service.

All individuals over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status or local community transmission levels, must wear masks in the following outdoor areas when others are present, except when actively eating or drinking, where the superintendent has determined that physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained:

  • Parking lots and outdoor areas adjacent to the following locations:

    • Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, 5200 Glover Road NW
    • Peirce Mill, Tilden Street at Shoemaker Street NW
    • Rock Creek Tennis Center, 16th Street and Colorado Avenue NW
    • Thompson Boat Center, 2900 Virginia Avenue NW
    • Key Bridge Boathouse, 3500 Water Street NW
    • Rock Creek Park Horse Center, 5100 Glover Road NW
    • Rock Creek Park Golf Course, 6100 16th Street NW
  • Parking lots and common pavilion, bathrooms, playgrounds, lawn and other areas in picnic groves to include:

    • Picnic Grove 1 (US Reservation 339 at Shoemaker Street NW south of Tilden Street NW)
    • Picnic Grove 2 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW between Tilden Street NW and Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 3 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, ¼ mile north of Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 4 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, west of Boulder Bridge)
    • Picnic Grove 5 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, northwest of US Park Police D3 Station)
    • Picnic Grove 6 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, north of Military Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 7 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, south of Bingham Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 8 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, south of Sherrill Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 9 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, north of Sherrill Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 10 (US Reservation 339 at Beach Drive NW, south of Riley Spring Bridge)
    • Picnic Grove 11 (US Reservation 339 at Bingham Drive NW, approximately halfway between Oregon Avenue NW and Beach Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 12 (US Reservation 339 at Bingham Drive NW, east of Oregon Avenue NW)
    • Picnic Grove 13 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW south of Military Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 14 (US Reservation 339 between Ridge Road NW and Glover Road NW, south of Military Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 15 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW and Grant Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 16 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, southwest of the Rock Creek Park Maintenance Yard)
    • Picnic Grove 17 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, northwest of Ross Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 18 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, northwest of Ross Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 19 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW and Ross Drive NW)
    • Picnic Grove 20 (US Reservation 339 at Ross Drive NW, east of Ridge Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 21 (US Reservation 339 at Ross Drive NW, 1/3 mile south of Joyce Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 22 (US Reservation 339 at Ross Drive NW, south of Joyce Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 23 (US Reservation 339 at Stage Road NW, south of the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center)
    • Picnic Grove 24 (US Reservation 339 at Stage Road NW, west of the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center)
    • Picnic Grove 25 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, north of Equitation Field)
    • Picnic Grove 26 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, south o)
    • Picnic Grove 27 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, (at Ridge Road NW, 1/3 mile north of Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 28 (US Reservation 339 at Ridge Road NW, north of Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Picnic Grove 29 (US Reservation 339 at Piney Branch Parkway, west of the Sixteenth Street Bridge)
    • Picnic shelter at Galloway Street NE (US Reservation 451, east of 8th Street, NE)
    • Picnic shelter at Fort Slocum Park (US Reservation 435, northeast of Kansas Avenue NW and Madison Street NW)
  • Crowded park areas, trails, viewpoints, and other areas of interest:

    • All areas of Meridian Hill Park (US Reservation 327, 16th Street NW between 15th Street NW, W and Euclid Streets NW)
    • All areas of Rabaut Park (US Reservation 309C, Mt. Pleasant Street NW between Harvard Street NW and Columbia Road NW)
    • All trail, picnic grove and turf areas, Piney Branch Parkway (US Reservation 339, between Beach Drive NW and Arkansas Avenue NW)
    • All areas of Georgetown Waterfront Park (US Reservation 404, Water Street NW between 30th and 34th Streets NW)
    • Paved trail at Fort Reno Park (US Reservation 470 and 515 between Chesapeake Street NW and Fort Drive NW)
    • All paved, lawn, restroom, tennis court, and playground areas of Montrose Park to include the Summer House (3052 R Street NW)
    • All trail and turf areas of Dumbarton Oaks Park (US Reservation 342, R Street NW, between 31st Street and Avon Place NW)
    • Lovers Lane NW (US Reservation 324, between R Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW)
    • All trails within Normanstone Parkway (US Reservations 338 and 514, east of Massachusetts Avenue NW between 34th Street and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway)
    • All areas of Battery Kemble Park (US Reservation 521, Old Chain Bridge Road NW)
    • All areas of Old Stone House Garden (US Reservation 693, 3051 M Street NW)
    • All areas of Bryce Park (US Reservation 700, Wisconsin Avenue NW, between Garfield Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW)
    • Trail areas in Glover Archbold Park (US Reservations 351A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K; US Reservations 450, 450A, 450B; US Reservation 357, between Foxhall Road NW and Van Ness Street NW)
    • Playground area and athletic field, Fort Bayard Park (US Reservation 359, River Road NW between Western Avenue NW, 46th and 47th Streets NW and Fessenden Street NW)
    • Trail, lawn and parking areas in Palisades Park (US Reservation 530, Old Chain Bridge Road NW south of MacArthur Blvd NW to Foxhall Road NW)
    • Trail areas in Whitehaven Parkway (US Reservation 357 between Glover Archbold Park to east of Wisconsin Avenue NW)
    • Trail areas in Wesley Heights Park (US Reservation 529, between 44th and 49th Streets NW, between Edmunds and Fulton Street NW)
    • All paved and turf areas, Kalorama Circle parks (US Reservations 303A, B and D; Connecticut Avenue at Ashmead Place NW and Kalorama Road NW)
    • All areas of US Reservation 691 (commonly known as “Meigs Park”, between Pennsylvania Avenue and M Street NW)
    • All lawn and trail areas of Rose Park (US Reservation 360, between M Street NW and P Street NW, east of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway)
    • All trails within Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway (US Reservation 360, between Virginia Avenue NW and Beach Drive NW)
    • All trails and exercise equipment stations adjacent to Shoreham Drive NW (US Reservation 360, south of Calvert Street NW)
    • Paved trail area, Walter Pierce Park (US Reservation 360, north of Calvert Street NW at the Calvert Street Bridge)
    • Woodley Park Playground and adjacent trail (US Reservation 635, north of Cortland Place NW)
    • All trails, Melvin Hazen Park (US Reservation 630, Reno Road NW to Rock Creek Park, north of Rodman Street NW and Quebec Street NW)
    • All trails, Soapstone Valley Park (US Reservation 402, south of Audubon Terrace NW and Albermarle Street NW)
    • All paved and turf areas, Chevy Chase Circle NW (US Reservation 335A, Connecticut Avenue NW at Western Avenue NW)
    • All trails, Pinehurst Parkway (US Reservation 545, between Western Avenue and Oregon Avenue NW, south of Beech Street NW)
    • All trails, Little Forest Park (US Reservation 668, Military Road NW between 28th and 30th Streets NW)
    • All turf areas, US Reservation 330B (Nebraska Avenue NW, between Van Ness Street NW and 41st Street NW)
    • Whittier Trail (US Reservation 339, connecting 16th Street NW to the Valley Trail, just across Rock Creek from Picnic Grove 8)
    • Black Horse Trail (US Reservation 339, from Cross Trail 1 at the Maryland boundary, along the Valley Trail, then following Rock Creek, crossing at Riley Spring Bridge, then
    • Rolling Meadow Bridge, the Milkhouse Ford, then along the western side of Rock Creek to Broad Branch Road NW)
    • White Horse Trail (US Reservation 339, from Cross Trail 1, along the Western Ridge Trail, then east to Military Road NW, west to the Rock Creek Park Horse Center, south to Glover Road NW, past Equitation Field, then southwest to Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Fort DeRussy Trail (US Reservation 339, from Military Road NW/Beach Drive NW intersection, west to connect with Western Ridge/White Horse Trail)
    • Cross Trail 1 (US Reservation 339, connecting the Black Horse and White Horse trails near Boundary Bridge)
    • Cross Trail 2 (US Reservation 339, from Riley Spring Bridge at Black Horse Trail, to the White Horse/Western Ridge trails south of Wise Road NW)
    • Cross Trail 3 (US Reservation 339, from Pinehurst Trail just north of Beach Drive, west to the Western Ridge/White Horse trails)
    • Cross Trail 4 (US Reservation 339, from the midpoint of Cross Trail 3, south to Bingham Drive, following the US Park Police H-3 access road, to the White Horse Trail just east of Old Bingham Drive NW)
    • Cross Trail 5 (US Reservation 339, from Milkhouse Ford, heading west until it meets with White Horse Trail and Western Ridge Trail)
    • Cross Trail 6 (US Reservation 339, from the Black Horse Trail west of Beach Drive NW and east of the Ross Drive NW bridge, under Ross Drive NW to the Rock Creek Park Horse Center)
    • Cross Trail 7 (US Reservation 339, from Glover Road at the White Horse Trail and Picnic Grove 17, across Glover Road NW towards Ross Drive, to Cross Trail 6)
    • Cross Trail 8 (US Reservation 339, from Equitation Field at the White Horse Trail, northeast to and then over Glover Road NW, to meet the Black Horse Trail)
    • Cross Trial 9 (US Reservation 339, from Equitation Field at the White Horse Trail, southeast toward Glover Road NW, continuing southeast until it meets the Black Horse Trail at Foot Trail 17)
    • Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail through the Smithsonian National Zoological Park Tunnel (US Reservation 360, north of Beach Drive and Shoreham Drive NW)
    • Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail (US Reservations 360 and 339, north of Virginia Avenue NW to Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Blagden Avenue Multi-Use Trail (US Reservation 339, from south of Mathewson Place NW to Beach Drive NW)
    • Western Ridge Trail (US Reservation 339, between Bluff Bridge and Boundary Bridge, west of Beach Drive NW and Ridge Road NW, east of Oregon Avenue NW)
    • Valley Trail (US Reservation 339, east of Beach Drive NW between Boundary Bridge and north of Piney Branch Parkway NW)
    • Pine Trail (US Reservation 339, between 16th Street NW, south of Holly Street to east of Beach Drive NW)
    • Holly Trail (US Reservation 339, south of Pine Trail to Valley Trail, west of 16th Street NW)
    • Foot Trail 1 (US Reservation 339, east and west of the Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW)
    • Foot Trail 2 (US Reservation 339, Upshur Street NW to Valley Trail)
    • Foot Trail 3 (US Reservation 339, between Valley Trail and Theodore Roosevelt Trail to Beach Drive/Blagden Avenue intersection and Picnic Grove 2)
    • Foot Trail 4 (US Reservation 339, Colorado Avenue NW to Valley Trail just south of Pulpit Rock)
    • Foot Trail 5 (US Reservation 339, Beach Drive, northwest of Boulder Bridge, connecting to Valley Trail)
    • Foot Trail 6 (US Reservation 339, Picnic Grove 24 by Rock Creek Tennis Center to Valley Trail)
    • Foot Trail 7 (US Reservation 339, Klingle Mansion driveway to Rock Creek Multi-Use Trail, just south of Bluff Bridge)
    • Foot Trail 8 (US Reservation 339, Juniper Street cul-de-sac to Valley Trail southeast of Fenwick Branch
    • Foot Trail 9 (US Reservation 339, West of Beach Drive at Valley Trail, across West Beach Drive NW at Parkside Drive NW, then to Valley Trail west of Beach Drive NW)
    • Foot Trail 10 (US Reservation 339, Wise Road NW/Oregon Avenue NW, to connect with Western Ridge Trail/White Horse Trail)
    • Foot Trail 11 (US Reservation 339, three segments that tie into the Western Ridge/White Horse Trail to the Black Horse Trail in the center of the park, and between Riley Spring Bridge, Pinehurst Trail and Picnic Groves 8 and 9)
    • Foot Trail 12 (US Reservation 339, connecting the Pinehurst Trail to the Western Ridge Trail, just southwest of the crossing of Pinehurst Branch/Creek).
    • Foot Trail 13 (US Reservation 339, Oregon Avenue NW/Beech Street NW intersection to the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Northern Section)
    • Foot Trail 14 (US Reservation 339, Oregon Avenue NW/Tennyson Street NW, across Rock Creek Park Multi Use-Trail Northern Section, to Western Ridge Trail and White Horse Trail.)
    • Foot Trail 15 (US Reservation 339, Beach Drive NW, north of Milkhouse Ford, north to the Black Horse Trail, then to the Valley Trail)
    • Foot Trail 16 (US Reservation 339, between Beach Drive NW and Broad Branch Road NW)
    • Foot Trail 17 (US Reservation 339, from Black Horse Trail just north of Cross Trail 9, towards Beach Drive NW just east of Boulder Bridge)
    • Foot Trail 18 (US Reservation 339, from Valley Trail on the east with the Black Horse Trail on the west, crossing Rock Creek over the Rapids Footbridge)
    • Meadowlink Trail (US Reservation 339, off Valley Trail just north of Park Road NW)
    • Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail Northern Section (US Reservation 339, from Wise Road NW east of Oregon Avenue to Military Road NW, east to Beach Drive NW, north to Bingham Drive NW, and west to Oregon Avenue NW)
    • Klingle Mansion Old Road Trace (US Reservation 339, from Klingle Road NW interchange ramp, east of Beach Drive NW, passing Klingle Mansion, to meet the Western Ridge Trail at the Melvin Hazen footbridge)
    • Theodore Roosevelt Trail (US Reservation 339, from Bladen Avenue/Beach Drive intersection to meet the Valley Trail at Pulpit Rock)
    • Boundary Trail (US Reservation 339, connecting Valley Trail/Black Horse Trail with Primrose Street NW to just southeast of Boundary Bridge)
    • All areas of Barnard Hill Park (US Reservation 528, bordered by Eastern Avenue NE, Randolph Street NE, and 24th Street NE)
    • All areas of Fort Bunker Hill Park (US Reservation 443, between Perry Street NE and Otis Street NE, and 13th Street and 14th Street NE)
    • All areas of Fort Totten Park west of the Fort Totten Metro Station (US Reservation 544 between Fort Totten Dr NE and Brookland Avenue NE; US Reservation 451 between 1st Place NE and Fort Totten Drive NE not including Briya or Bridges Public Charter School)
    • The trail east of the Fort Totten Metro Station connecting Galloway Street NE and Gallatin Street NE (US Reservation 451 west of South Dakota Avenue NE)
    • All areas of Fort Slocum Park (US Reservation 435, bordered by Kansas Avenue NW, Madison Street NW, 3rd Street NW, and Oglethorpe Street NW)
    • All areas of Grant Circle (US Reservation 312, encompassed by Grant Circle NW; as well as US Reservation 312A between 5th Street NW and Illinois Avenue NW; and US Reservation 312I between Illinois Avenue and 5th Street NW)
    • All areas of Sherman Circle (US Reservation 369 encompassed by Sherman Circle NW; as well as US Reservation 436 and US Reservation 447 south of Decatur Street NW between Illinois Avenue NW and Kansas Avenue NW; and US Reservation 438 and US Reservation 448 north of Buchanan Street NW between Kansas Avenue NW and Illinois Avenue NW)
    • All areas of Fort Stevens at 13th Street NW (between Rittenhouse Street NW and Quackenbos Street NW)
    • Blair Road Community Garden (US Reservation 497, south of Oglethorpe Street NE between Blair Road NW and New Hampshire Avenue NE)
    • Fort Reno Community Garden (US Reservation 470, at Belt Road NW, north of Chesapeake Street NW)
    • Fort Stevens Community Garden (US Reservation 499, north of Peabody Street NW between 13th Place NW and 13th Street NW)
    • Glover Archbold Community Garden (US Reservation 351A, at 42nd Street NW south of New Mexico Avenue NW)
    • Mamie D Lee Community Garden (US Reservation 451, at Gallatin Street NE east of Fort Totten Dr NW)
    • Melvin Hazen Community Garden (US Reservation 630, at Sedgwick Street NW west of Connecticut Avenue NW)
    • Peabody Community Garden (US Reservation 494, at Peabody Street NW and 9th Street NW)
    • Rock Creek Community Garden (US Reservation 339, at Oregon Avenue NW south of Horse Stable Road NW)
    • West End Community Garden (US Reservation 360, at N Street NW and 25th Street NW)
    • Whitehaven Community Garden (US Reservation 357, at W Street NW and 40th Street NW)
    • Francis Field tennis courts and basketball courts (US Reservation 360, at 23rd and N Street NW)
  • Memorials and open-air pavilions:

    • All areas of Francis Asbury Memorial (US Reservation 309B, between 16th Street NW and Mt. Pleasant Street NW)
    • All paved and turf areas of US Reservation 309G (Gibbons Statue location, 16th Street NW, Park Road NW and Pine Road NW)
    • All paved and turf areas, Marconi Memorial (US Reservation 309A and 361, 16th and Lamont Streets NW
    • All paved and landscaped areas of Kahlil Gibran Memorial (US Reservation 514, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW)
    • All paved and landscaped areas of Robert Emmet Park (US Reservation 302, Massachusetts Avenue NW between S and 24th Streets NW)
    • All areas of Francis Scott Key Memorial Park (US Reservation 404, M Street NW between Key Bridge and 34th Street NW)
    • All paved and turf areas, Peter Muhlenberg Memorial (US Reservation 397, Connecticut Avenue NW between Ellicott, 36th and Everett Streets NW)
    • All areas of Battleground National Cemetery at Georgia Avenue NW (US Reservation 568 between Whittier Place NW and Van Buren Street NW)

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.

Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must comply with all orders regarding masks issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC prevention measures continue to apply to all travelers on public transit, regardless of vaccination status. Masks remain required on all forms of public transit that operate within parks, including busses, trains, and boats/ferries, and in transportation hubs



NOTE: The term "permit" covers a variety of instruments allowing us to manage activities within Rock Creek Park. The following definitions apply within areas

administered by Rock Creek Park:

Permits to reserve athletic fields within Rock Creek Park are obtained from the District of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department by calling 202-673-7646. The District of Columbia charges an administrative processing fee for these reservation permits.

Permits to reserve a picnic area are obtained on-line at, or by calling 1-877-822-6777. There are fees associated with picnic area reservations.

Permits for first amendment rights demonstrations, special events, or filming within any park area in the National Capitol Region (NCR) are required by 36 CFR to be processed through the NCR Park Programs Division. To obtain an application, contact 202-245- 4715.

Permits for construction, educational programs (not led by a park ranger) or to use or cross park land are obtained from the Environmental Protection Specialist for Rock Creek Park at 202-895-6000.

Information about permits for rights of way are obtained from the Environmental Protection Specialist for Rock Creek Park at 202-895-6000.

Permits for scientific research and collecting may be obtained online at: For information about these permits, contact the Rock Creek Park Natural Resources Management Office at 202-895-6074.

Special Park Use permits required for construction within park land, to stage equipment, to cross park land with cables or other utilities, or to use park land for access to an adjoining site. Contact the Environmental Protection Specialist at 202-895-6000.

The following is a compilation of those activities for which a Special Park Use permit is required:

§1.5(d) The following activities related to Public Use Limits:

  • Weddings are allowed only at Meridian Hill Park, Montrose Park, the Old Stone House garden, and Georgetown Waterfront Park. A permit is required and a fee charged. For more information, contact the Special Park Use Office at 202-895-6013. Weddings at the Old Stone House are limited to one per day.
  • Special events or First Amendment Rights demonstrations of more than 25 people require a permit from the NCR Park Programs Office, contact 202-245-4715.
  • Groups larger than 10 horses and riders must obtain a Special Use Permit from the Special Park Use office at 202-895-6013.
  • Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §7.96(g). Amplified sound is not allowed in picnic areas. Amplified sound as part of special events must operate within decibel limits specified in the permit conditions.

§7.96(k) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising is only allowed as part of a first amendment rights event, and must follow permit conditions.

§2.62(b) Memorialization (scattering ashes from human cremation) is not allowed within Rock Creek Park.

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business is not allowed within Rock Creek Park except under the provisions of a permit, contract, or written agreement with the National Park Service.

Filming Permit Requirements

The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:

  • Outdoor filming activities outside of areas managed as wilderness involving five persons or less and equipment that will be carried at all times, except for small tripods used to hold cameras.

The organizer of any other type of filming activity must provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 10 days prior to the start of the proposed activity. Based upon the information provided, the Superintendent may require the organizer to apply for and obtain a permit if necessary to:

  • maintain public health and safety;
  • protect environmental or scenic values;
  • protect natural or cultural resources;
  • allow for equitable allocation and use of facilities; or
  • avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

If the Superintendent determines that the terms and conditions of a permit could not mitigate the concerns identified above in an acceptable manner, the Superintendent may deny a filming request without issuing a permit. The Superintendent will provide the basis for denial in writing upon request.

The NPS will consider requests and process permit applications in a timely manner. Processing times will vary depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. If the organizer provides the required 10 day advance notice to the NPS and has not received a

written response from the NPS that a permit is required prior to the first day of production, the proposed filming activities may occur without a permit.

The following are prohibited:

  1. Engaging in a filming activity without providing advance notice to the Superintendent when required.
  2. Engaging in a filming activity without a permit if the activity takes place in areas managed as wilderness or if the Superintendent has notified the organizer in writing that a permit is required.
  3. Violating a term and condition of a permit issued under this action.

Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in the suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.




  • Standing dead wood or dead wood on the ground may not be collected for use as fuel for campfires or other uses.
  • No fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, mushrooms or cut greenery may be gathered or collected for personal or business use or consumption in Rock Creek Park.
  • No artifacts, portions of structures or architectural elements may be collected within the park.
  • Recreational activities that damage or harm natural, cultural, or archeological resources are prohibited.

2.1 (b) Hiking and pedestrian uses are restricted to designated foot, horse, and paved recreational trails in the park as shown on the map in the park brochure.


Hunting is not permitted on any park property. Trapping is not permitted on any park property.

Transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is not permitted.

All park areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light.

36 CFR 2.13 - FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is allowed only in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas: Fires are allowed within fire grates in established picnic areas. Receptacles Allowed: Individual grills are allowed in established picnic groves. Charcoal must be doused with water completely and disposed of in a trash receptacle.

Fires are prohibited if the Superintendent declares a high fire danger and public notice given that fires are banned within the park.


The use of government refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

Pets may not be left unattended tied to an object.

Visitors with pets must pick up all pet waste and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.


The use of horses or pack animals is permitted only on the following trails, routes or areas: Established horse trails within Rock Creek Park (see park map at Equitation Field

Free-trailing or loose-herding is not permitted on the Rock Creek Park trails or routes. Horse trailers and tow vehicles must be parked legally in designated parking spaces.

Groups larger than 10 horses and riders require permit from the Special Park Use office at 202- 895-6013.


(a) The following park roads and/or parking areas normally open to motor vehicle traffic may be used for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing, and similar winter activities under the conditions noted :

Sections of Beach Drive, Sherrill Drive, Ross Drive, Morrow Drive or Bingham Drive and portions of Glover Road are closed to motor vehicles. (Non-motorized winter activities are allowed in the closed sections.)

The towing of persons on skis, sled or other similar device by motor vehicle or snowmobile is not allowed.

Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing and similar winter activities are allowed throughout the park.


The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:

  • Paved multi-use trails
  • Roads closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekends or federal holidays.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

All buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking. Smokers in outside area must dispose of fully extinguished smoking materials in proper trash containers.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

Property is not allowed to be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours within Rock Creek Park, unless the property is part of an activity under a Special Park Use permit.


Recreation fees, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Entrance Fee Areas: Not applicable for Rock Creek Park.

Daily Site Use Fee Areas: Parking at Thompson's Boat House, fee charged through on- site collection system


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from all park areas administered by Rock Creek Park, except authorized concessions sales at Carter Barron Amphitheater, Rock Creek Park Golf Course clubhouse, and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium.

36 CFR §7.96 and Iskon v.Kennedy, 61F.3d949 (D.C. Cir. 1995)- NONCOMMERCIAL SOLICITING

The solicitation or demand for gifts, money, goods or services requires a permit under

§.96 and Iskon v.Kennedy, 61F.3d949 (D.C. Cir. 1995), and is subject to the terms and conditions specified therein.

NOTE: This section generally prohibits soliciting or demanding gifts, money goods or services except in accordance with a permit. The term "soliciting" includes asking, begging and non-verbal gestures, such as a hand out or palm up. [48 FR 30271, June 30, 1983]


Launching boats is prohibited within Rock Creek Park unless water levels are at least 2 feet deep. Boats are not allowed to go over Peirce Mill Dam under any conditions. Canoes, kayaks or other similar human powered boats are allowed. Vessels must be less than 20 feet in length, with no motors allowed, and the vessels must be launched only by hand.


All Rock Creek Park areas are closed to swimming, bathing and wading by people and pets. 36 CFR §4.10 - TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES

Park roads that open for travel by motor vehicle are indicated in the Rock Creek Park brochure and on line at Off-road vehicle travel is not allowed.

Motorized Personal Mobility Devices. Unless operated by a person with a disability, motorized personal mobility devices may only operate on sidewalks or multi-use (paved) trails. Users of motorized personal mobility devices must also adhere to the following operating standards, most of which are also required under District of Columbia regulations on safe use of electric personal assistive mobility device:

  • No person under 16 years of age may operate a motorized personal mobility device.
  • A person shall operate any motorized personal mobility device in a safe and non-hazardous manner so not to endanger oneself or any other person. The maximum speed of the motorized personal mobility device will not exceed more than 8 M.P.H.


Speed limit is 25 mph on all park roads unless otherwise posted

Last updated: September 27, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5200 Glover Rd, NW
Washington , DC 20015


202 895-6000
Rock Creek Park's main phone line.

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