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© Lorenzo Tlacaelel/Flickr
© Lorenzo Tlacaelel/Flickr

A Guide To Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek Park

Picture of Kate McMahon
Updated: 21 September 2016
D.C.’s largest national park spans 4.4 square miles across the northwestern quadrant. Established in 1890 by Congress, Rock Creek is one of the biggest and oldest urban forests in the nation; there’s a wealth of hiking trails, horse stables, unique species of migratory birds and a planetarium. Here is everything you need to know about Rock Creek Park before you dive right in to it!

About the Park

Rock Creek Park was the nation’s third national park, emerging from an act of Congress and approval by President Benjamin Harrison. The Congressional act called 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.’ The National Zoo was established the previous year, and lawmakers sought to protect the expansive forests and lands around the zoo (which technically spans into the park).

The impressive urban forest is an oasis within the nation’s capital. Here, you can be fully emerged in the woods with murmurs of songbirds a mere three miles from The White House. Plenty of isolated parks that dot across the District are considered part of the larger Rock Creek.

Map Of DC