THING TO DO

Explore the Outdoors at Rock Creek Park

Come explore Rock Creek Park! A natural oasis in our nation's capital, this 1,754-acre city park was officially authorized in 1890, making it the 3rd national park to be designated by the federal government. It offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city and find a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history.
Details
  • It is park policy for all pets to be kept on leashes at all times. This is for the safety of your pet, our visitors, and the park itself.
  • 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.
  • Rules apply to all of the Rock Creek Park sites including Battery Kemble Park, Montrose Park, Glover Archbold Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, and Meridian Hill Park.

General Admission

Park entrance and programs are free!

Other Fee Information

For information about permits and fees, please visit the Permits page. (This includes picnic groves, athletic fields that require reservations, weddings, research and special park use.)

If you require additional information, please contact Rock Creek Park Permits at 202-895-6013 or via e-mail.

Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium 

5200 Glover Road NW, Washington, DC 20015. Near the intersection of Military Road and Glover Road.

Peirce Mill and Barn
2401 Tilden Street NW, Washington DC 20015. Near the intersection Of Tilden St and Beach Dr.

Old Stone House

3051 M Street NW, Washington DC 20015. Located in the Georgetown neighborhood.

Carter Barron Amphitheatre
4850 Colorado Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20011, near the intersection 16th Street and Colorado Avenue.

Meridian Hill Park

 

Directions to the Nature Center and Planetarium:

Via Route 66:

Take Route 66 across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge. Get in the right lane on the bridge, and take the ramp for Independence Avenue. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp (heading towards the Kennedy Center along the river; this is Ohio Drive, but it's not marked as such). After passing the Kennedy Center (under its terrace) and Watergate, continue straight onto Rock Creek Parkway. When the parkway ends (near Connecticut and Calvert), continue north on Beach Drive. You will pass the zoo and Pierce Mill. Continue on Beach Drive until you see a sign for the Nature Center; bear left here (onto Glover Road), as the sign instructs. (*On weekends there will be a gate across Beach Drive, so you will be unable to go to the right!) Follow the signs to the Nature Center. Via the Beltway or Maryland: Take the Beltway north into Maryland; exit at Connecticut Ave. and proceed southbound toward Chevy Chase. About 7-8 blocks south of Chevy Chase Circle, turn left onto Military Road. Go a little over a mile, and you will see a big brown sign that says "ROCK CREEK PARK-NATURE CENTER..."etc. Take the next right (at the traffic light), as the sign instructs, and follow subsequent signs to the Nature Center.

Via the Chain Bridge (VA):

At the end of the bridge, turn right onto Canal Road. Make the first left (at the light) onto Arizona Avenue. Proceed on Arizona until you come to a "T" intersection; make a right turn onto Nebraska Ave. (The signs there may say "Loughboro Rd.," but it runs into Nebraska.) Precede on Nebraska Ave past American University, around Ward Circle, and across Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues. Get into the right lane and turn right onto Military Road; less than half mile after you cross Connecticut. After a little less than a mile, you will see a big brown sign that says "ROCK CREEK PARK-NATURE CENTER..."etc. Take the next right (at the traffic light), as the sign instructs, and follow subsequent signs to the Nature Center.

From Dupont Circle:

Proceed Northeast on New Hampshire Avenue for approximately half a mile when it will intersect 16th Street. Head north on 16th Street, towards the Maryland border. About 3 1/4 miles up the road, it will intersect Military Road, after Madison and Nicholson Streets. Take the right hand exit onto Military Road west (cloverleaf ramp). Cross Military Bridge and then it will turn into a small parkway. Get in the left-hand lane. Make a left at the first light that you come to, at Glover and Oregon Roads. You are now on Glover Road and can follow the signs to the Nature Center.

Public Transportation: 

The Friendship Heights or Fort Totten Metro stations are the closest to the Nature Center. Take the E-2, E-3 bus (from either Metro stop) to the intersection of Glover & Military Rd. Get off, look to your left and follow the trail up to the Nature Center. The Van Ness Station is the closest metro stop to Peirce Mill, but it is still about a mile away. From Van Ness, walk south on Connecticut Avenue to Tilden Street and make a left. Follow Tilden to the bottom of the hill and the mill is on your left. Foggy Bottom is the closest metro stop to the Old Stone House, from there walk north to Washington Circle and take Pennsylvania Ave. west M street and continue west along M Street to the Old Stone House, about a 1/2 mile.

Reservations

All group activities of 25 or more people in Rock Creek must be registered under a special use permit. For more information call our Special Park Uses Ranger at (202) 895-6000 or e-mail us.

Picnic Permits

The following picnic groves require reservations for events between May 1 and October 31 : 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13 and 24.

Rock Creek Park picnic grove reservations are no longer being accepted by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. Reservations may be made online at www.recreation.gov or by phone at 1-877-444-6777 (10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. ET). 

Reservations are by the half day. A half day is from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (or dark whichever comes first). 

Keep in mind that g
roups that will be transported by bus may only reserve picnic groves 1 and 24, which are served by wider city streets that can accommodate oversized vehicles.

Review our picnic regulations [PDF].
 

Special Park Use Permits

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 or visit www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/permits.htm. For information on Rock Creek Park areas for these permits, contact the Special Park Uses office at 202-895-6000.

Permits for right of way uses, 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, 202-895-6000.

Weddings

Special Use Permits are issued for small wedding ceremonies ONLY and for three different locations in the Park:

  • Old Stone House (garden area only), Montrose Park and Meridian Hill.
  • The Old Stone House will be undergoing renovations in 2018. Therefore no wedding permits will be issued during that time.
  • The fee for a wedding permit is $200.00. The fee is non-refundable.
  • For more information, go to FAQs #23, or contact Special Park Uses Ranger at 202-895-6013 or e-mail us

Sports Field Permits

Reservation required sports fields are located at: Rock Creek Tennis Center - 16th & Kennedy Streets - 4 sports fields and Fort Reno - 2 sports fields.

Requests for athletic field reservations may be completed online through the DC Department of Park and Recreation Permit Office: http://dpr.dc.gov/node/496592 . Fees vary.

The DPR permit office is located at 1250 U St., NW, Washington, DC 20009.

  • The office hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Walk-Ins: Customers may drop off permit applications or submit payments any weekday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. For general concerns, questions, or comments, the office will provide walk-in hours from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
  • Customers who wish to discuss permit issues (Approval, Denial, Pending Request,) or general questions concerning a permit can schedule a meeting or conference call (202) 671-2597 or email: e-mail us.

Research Permits

Please see our web page at https://www.nps.gov/rocr/parkmgmt/researchpermits.htm for further information

Rock Creek Park itself is open all year round during daylight hours. The park is closed after dark. For information about Visitor Center hours please visit our Operating Hours page. 

 

Accessibility Information

Service Animals
Service animals are allowed in national parks. For a definition of a service animal, please see the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) definition.

Facilities
Nature Center and Planetarium: Fully wheelchair accessible. Persons with wheelchairs or with mobility concerns can use an outside accessible ramp to reach the planetarium or lower level of the Nature Center.

Peirce Mill: The lower two levels of are wheelchair accessible (separate entrances). The third and fourth floor are of Peirce Mill are only attainable by ascending steep stairs. Staff will provide a description of equipment found on the upper levels for any visitors unable to reach it.

Old Stone House: The first floor of the and a portion of the the garden are wheelchair accessible. The upper floors are reached by narrow winding stairs. Staff will provide a photo tour of the upper floors for any visitors unable to reach it.

Meridian Hill Park: The northern portion of is wheelchair accessible. Due to its historic architecture, the south end of Meridian hill park is not wheelchair accessible.

Trails
The Edge of the Woods Trail is located next to the Nature Center. This 1/4 mile paved loop is fully accessible. 

Programs
Assistive listening devices are available by request for Ranger led program with three days of advance noticeIf you would like to request an American Sign Language interpreter, please notify us two weeks in advance. 
Contact us.

Last updated: July 24, 2018