Washington, DC: Fort Reno (409 feet)

Reno Summit***Dedication Ceremony will be on October 5, 2019: To register for the event, CLICK HERE.

We partnered with the National Park Service and the Highpointers Foundation to erect a sign for this highpoint! This elusive highpoint is now clearly marked!

One of the first long walks we ever took together was an attempt to visit DC’s highpoint.  One summer afternoon, we walked to Ft. Reno, stood on what looked to be the highest spot and were happy.  We had a lot to learn.  A couple of years later we began thinking about things like highpoint lists and USGS markers seriously and went back.  We still couldn’t find the marker.  Once again we went to what looked like the highest point, and this time, since we were serious highpointers, we took a picture and posted it on Facebook.  Still, it bothered us that we couldn’t find that marker.

By our third trip to Ft. Reno, we were serious.  We googled the location to death, got directions from the internet, and even asked several strangers.  The element of danger arose as one stranger warned us to watch out for some creepy guy lurking around the bushes.  Luckily, we never saw the guy, but we were on guard.

Despite all of the local inquiries, including the grounds crew who mow that lawn and should know where it is, we still couldn’t find the USGS marker.  We circled the fenced area of Fort Reno twice.  No luck.  In our defense, the ground was covered with leaves and at the time there was nothing raised above the ground to draw attention to it.  Not to mention, the Fort itself is on higher ground, but it’s not a natural elevation.  We must have spent an hour looking, but we couldn’t find it, so we gave google one last try.  The Highpointers Club website gave us one last clue: the marker was 19 paces due north of the old oak.  This was starting to feel like a treasure hunt.  We set out for one more try.

On a cool day at the end of December, we made our attempt.  We walked faster than normal to Ft. Reno, climbed the hill, and counted 19 paces past the old oak.  There was no marker.  Swears might have been said.  We searched the now leaf-free ground for a few minutes, wondering about how previous summiters of our nation’s capitol defined a pace.  O’ the joy!  We finally found the marker, right there on the ground and we wondered why we had never seen it before.

It was at this point we decided the area needed a sign. Future highpointers rejoice: you will not experience this same struggle. We have marked the land for your visiting pleasure.

Thing to Know:

1)   Ft. Reno is close to the Tenleytown metro stop on the Red Line.

2)   To get to the highpoint, climb the hill at the corner of Chesapeake and Nebraska.  Look for the biggest oak tree in the open field near the school.   Do not be confused by the higher land in the background that’s fenced in.  This is man-made and, therefore, NOT the highest natural point.  From the oak tree, take 19 paces past the tree (a pace = a giant step).

3)  The USGS marker is much easier to find in Spring or Summer, when there are no leaves, tall grass, or snow to cover it.  Even knowing where it is, snow cover makes it nearly impossible to find.

4)  If you drive, metered parking is available on Chesapeake, adjacent to Fort Reno Park.  However, we recommend taking metro as parking in DC can be scarce.

5)  Summit Chicks spent five years working with the National Park Service and the Highpointers Foundation to erect a sign.  As of May 2019, the sign is up! We have two signs actually – one along the walkway and one near the marker. We hope you will join us for the dedication ceremony on October 5, 2019.

6) Fun Fact: The picture of the USGS marker in the footer of the newly installed signs is courtesy of Summit Chicks!

DIRECTIONS FROM METRO:

Fort Reno is a 5-10 minute walk from the metro, depending on your pace.

For a few extra steps and a view of quaint original houses, you can also take a side trip down Historic Grant Street (accessible when you turn onto NE) and pop back out near the park (take a left at the end of the road).

  • From Tenleytown metro, take the East exit (Left).
  • Continue straight on Albemarle (Sears and Whole Foods will be on your left) toward 40th street.
  • Turn left onto Nebraska.
  • The Fort Reno Park will be on your left a few blocks down at the intersection of Chesapeake and Nebraska.
  • The orientation of the diagonal “Fort Reno Park” sign is how you want to proceed into the park.  Look for the tall oak tree, heading toward the fenced tower.
  • Walk 19 paces (giant steps) from the tree toward Nebraska in the direction of the school (see pictures below).
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Continue to the tree as though you’ve walked through this sign

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20 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the useful information. Need to add your blog to bookmarks.

  2. David says:

    Looking forward to trying to find this HP. Sounds like a good challenge

  3. David says:

    Thanks for taking me out on the walk Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing the marker once the snow melts

    • Raina says:

      It was a valiant effort to be sure. Digging around in the snow for 40 minutes, I’m certain we were standing on top of it. Until we can see the ground again, you can enjoy our photo at the top of this post! 🙂

  4. David says:

    Glad you found it again. Look forward to revisiting the HP

  5. David says:

    I revisited the DC HP determined to find the marker and thanks to your excellent directions I used the 19 paces and found the marker. Thanks

  6. Whiteman says:

    I am glad to see your interest in Fort Reno and enjoyed your article in Apex to Zenith. I helped to set the monument and then went back for the dedication of it but have not been back since. I hope to meet you at the konvention next month.

    Keep Klimbin

    • Raina says:

      Glad you enjoyed our article! Always nice to be connected to others with a shared passion. Neither of us will be at the Konvention this year. Looking at possibly 2016.

  7. Floyd says:

    Great guide, really impressed with what you’ve got going here. I’m heading to DC for the first time this weekend for a wedding – not sure if I’ll have time to seek out the high point or not, but if I do I’ll certainly use your directions.. Cheers!

  8. MORGAN says:

    Fort Reno is now maintained by the National Park Service , and includes a baseball field, several tennis courts, and large grass field areas. However the reservoir itself including the sandstone castle are off-limits to the public.

  9. Scott Jones says:

    Found this very easily yesterday, even in the tall and uncut grass. 🙂

  10. Bob Walko says:

    As an enthusiastic highpointer, I went to Fort Reno about 15 years ago, although it was to the “higher fenced off area” and not to the specific point described here. However, I just now spent some time scrutinizing a USGS topo map, and I think I have found a higher place in DC. Please check out the location (38.9037N, 77.1580W). This is the intersection of N Rockingham St.and N Pokomoke St. The topo map shows a closed contour line at 460 feet just southeast of that location. Although the street and adjacent residences have obviously be graded, their natural elevations presumably were still higher than in Fort Reno. This location is also indicated on the USGS map to be inside the DC boundary.

  11. Bo says:

    We were visiting our friends who live about a block east of the park and I checked out the HP. Unfortunately someone has vandalized the sign closest to the marker with spray paint, so make sure it’s cleaned up before the ceremony. BTW, did WV, MD and PA the day before. Fun day trip.

    • Raina says:

      Thanks for letting me know. I’ve alerted NPS who is seeing what they can do about clean up. Breaks my heart that someone would vandalize it.

      Glad you had a great highpointing trip in the area! Hope to see you at the ceremony!

  1. December 18, 2016

    […] ANYWAY, I arrived at the Tenleytown metro station and met Jill.  It was a pleasant walk to Fort Reno Park but I would have NEVER found the highpoint without her!!  I felt like a pirate looking for buried treasure – we literally went over to this giant tree and then walked like 19 paces away from it – TA DA!!  Buried in the grass was the USGS marker!  Scratch another highpoint off my list – ok, it wasn’t a STATE highpoint, but it’s there just the same!  🙂  It was a fun hunt, but I think the Summit Chicks are working on getting a sign put up in the area to make it easier to find – to read their report click HERE! […]

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