This is a place of contrast. Once this land was covered with virgin forest, then it was farmland, and then a proposed housing development. Now it is an alluring refuge within an ever-growing sea of development. Here you can find wilderness, wildlife, and solitude—only twelve miles from downtown Washington.
In 1875, this land was denuded; farmhouses, fencelines, and dirt paths crisscrossed the landscape. Tobacco, corn, and grain grew where now maples and elms tower. A few hints of that era survive, but this is now a land dominated by nature. The trees, underbrush, and wildlife here collectively tell the story of nature's recovery. They repeatedly tell us: when left alone, nature will heal itself.
The 174-site campground is open year-round. It is the closest campground to downtown Washington.
Greenbelt Park has become an urban oasis. Over the past 60 years, the population of the surrounding land has grown from about 3,000 to more than 20,000.
The park is a refuge for both people and wildlife. Park staff and volunteers work at reforestation, wildlife management, improving water quality, and bringing greater awareness to visitors.
The park includes a campground, three picnic areas, and nature and bridle trails. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway links the park with downtown Washington, twelve miles south.
Dedicated in 1954, the parkway (a unit of the National Park Service) is the historic gateway to the Nation's Capital for visitors arriving from the eastern seaboard.
[Map of Greenbelt Park and the surrounding roadways]