Here’s an oasis of green you don’t see often in the middle of a city: Fort Slocum Park, where a cool urban forest abuts the row houses of Northwest DC.
Nestled in northern Petworth, you’ll first notice Fort Slocum by the green hill you see on Kansas Avenue NW, the only remnant of the Civil War earthworks that defended Washington DC from Confederate General Jubal A. Early’s attack in June 1864.
When the Confederates demonstrated against Fort Stevens, to the west, Fort Slocum had the honor of opening the engagement by firing its long range guns. During the battle, some 1,500 employees of the Army Quartermaster office, led by General Montgomery Meigs, assisted the fort’s garrison.
Juxtaposed to that history is a modern escape for all manner of Washingtonians, as I found on a recent exploration of its central woods..
I got more daring than most and explored the back corners of the woods, figuring that this level of seclusion would be attractive to the neighbourhood kids. It seems that a few enjoy Milwaukee’s Best parties as well as making out on lover’s logs. Other fallen trees were more benign, like this water log.
Back in the open fields, there is a covered picnic shelter with four picnic tables. You don’t need a reservation and it’s often open for use. A perfect spot for a relaxed family BBQ. Adults and young kids can be in the open, teenagers, with hormones and defiance can wander off into the woods.
When I talked with the local kids, they said that the park was safe too. Since it abuts a school, its monitored by both the police and other dog walkers like me. Personally, I see Taxi and becoming Fort Slocum Park regulars.
Fort Slocum Park
5700 Kansas Avenue NW
Summer View Map