At a Glance

Hours: Grounds open 8 am-sunset daily except holidays. Visitor Center and Historic Fort open daily 9am-4:30 pm. Historic Fort may be open later on some selected dates. Closed January 1, Thanksgiving, and December 25.

Cost: Free. As of fall 2019, Fort Washington no longer has an entrance fee. There is still a reservation fee for the Reserved Picnic Areas.

Tips: Bring a scope for waterfowl viewing.

Best Seasons: Winter, spring and fall. Winter views are best.

Local MOS Chapters: Patuxent Bird Club

Fort Washington (National) Park

13551 Fort Washington Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744
(301) 763-4600

Fort Washington was built to defend the river approach to Washington, DC more than 200 years ago. It was turned over to the Department of the Interior in 1946 and is now managed as a park by the National Park Service. The expansive grounds of the Park, with extensive hiking/bicycle paths and outstanding view of the Potomac River, offer a scenic venue for picnicking, fishing, and outdoor recreation. Historical re-enactments are held periodically at the Fort, and there is a small museum.  There is a three-mile trail that follows the perimeter of the park boundary, offering the opportunity for wildlife viewing. The quiet solitude of the park appeals to birders.


Over 180 species have been reported on eBird from Fort Washington. Waterfowl in winter can be well viewed on the Potomac from the parking lot for the lighthouse. Loons, grebes, and diving ducks are usually present in the winter and early spring.  This park can be a migrant trap in spring and fall, for birds migrating along the Potomac.


Two paved lots on site.

Special Features:

Fort Washington Park is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Patuxent Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.


From I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway) take Exit 3 for MD Route 210/Indian Head Highway Southbound. Travel south about 4 miles to Fort Washington Road and turn right (west). The park is located at the end of the road. ◾ From Waldorf, MD and vicinity: take MD Route 228 to MD Route 210/Indian Head Highway Northbound. Then turn left onto Old Fort Road. Continue to end of road, at the stop sign turn left onto Fort Washington Road, continue to park entrance.

Nearby Sites:

Fort Foote Park; Piscataway National Park; Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm.


Bottomland DeciduousHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ParkLawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Freshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & Streams


BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)FishingFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesLake, Pond, Bay, River, OceanParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families


Chesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkHistorical SitesNational Parks & MonumentsThe Rivers of the Western ShoreWater Trails