Located in Greenbelt, Maryland, the forested park lies approximately 12 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., and is situated just within the Capital Beltway (which bounds the park to the northeast).
The park land was originally intended to form part of the green belt surrounding the city of Greenbelt. The southern portion was assigned to the National Park Service, thus forming the park, while another section became part of the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC).
The park is open from dawn to dusk each day of the year.
The Sweetgum unreserved Picnic Area gate is open by 8:00 a.m. and closes at dusk.
The Greenbelt Ranger Station near the campground is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
The America the Beautiful passes (Annual, Senior and Access) are available are the Park Headquarters Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
General entrance to the park is free. Our camground fee is $20 per site.
Recreational facilities include a 5.3 mile hiking trail, several shorter nature trails, numerous campsites, and three picnic areas. The park received its National Park designation in 1950, and was acquired along with the land that would form the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
The campground has designated accessible campsites: Sites 69, 70 in the B Loop. These campsites are equipped with accessible grills.
The Battle of Bladensburg during the War of 1812 happened only six miles from here on August 24, 1814.
People living is this area would have heard the sounds of the battle. Later that day, they would have seen the glow of Washington, DC, burning.
The Americans torched the Washington Navy Yard to keep it out of enemy hands, and the British burned the city’s federal buildings, including the US Capitol.
The sight of the fire struck fear in communities near Washington. Americans assumed Baltimore would be next, and bedraggled troops made their way north.
But the British returned to their ships and waited three weeks before attacking Baltimore.