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Rock Creek Park Washington, D.C.

This urban park is a virtual stone's throw from many of Washington's treasured monuments and memorials, making it quickly accessible to downtown visitors.

The park has winding streams laden with jutting rocks, beautiful foliage, a profusion of flowers, pastoral landscapes, well-defined hiking, biking and horse riding trails; several historic forts and homes, numerous sports-playing fields, at least 30 picnic sites, and an 18-hole golf course that is open daily, except Christmas Day. The golf course can be reached from 16th and Rittenhouse Streets, N.W.

Rock Creek also boasts three sets of tennis courts: at Montrose Park (a satellite) near the northern tip of Georgetown; at Pierce Mill, just off Park Road, and at 16th and Kennedy Streets, N.W. Fitness buffs can work out on a 1.5-mile exercise course that begins near Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue, N.W. There is another 3.1-mile hiking trail in Glover Archbold Park, a 183-acre forested area that runs from the corner of Van Ness Street and Wisconsin Avenue, N.W to the C&O Canal.

A bicycle route runs from the Lincoln Memorial through the park and into Maryland, and you can rent the bikes for an excursion from Thompson's Boat House, which is off Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway at Virginia Avenue, N.W. Thompson's also rents canoes and rowboats, in case you want to test the waters of the Potomac.

Rock Creek's historic monuments include the Dumbarton Oak Estate at Dumbarton Oaks Park near Georgetown, and the Old Stone House at 3051 M Street, N.W, which offers programs about Colonial life and furnishings. The forts in Rock Creek Park date to the Civil War and are certain to intrigue history buffs. Fort DeRussy is off the bike path at Oregon Avenue and Military Road; Fort Reno is at Belt Road and Chesapeake Street, and Fort Bayard is on River Road at Western Avenue, N.W. Armchair visitors to Rock Creek may just want to pack a lunch, head to a picnic site and enjoy the fall scenery.

Information provided by National Park Service nps.gov