Sharpen up your crampons and ice axe and get ready to climb—the last national high point has finally been identified and located in Washington D.C., the nation’s capital. Oh right, forget the crampons and axe, it’s just the top of Reno Hill, a rounded hillock rising 409 feet (125 meters) above sea level in Fort Reno Park and the highest natural point in the District of Columbia. The point is the second lowest state high point, with Florida’s 345-foot Briton Hill the lowest. Interestingly, Reno Hill is not the highest point in D.C. That honor goes to the pointy summit of the Washington Monument, which rises a modest 555 feet above sea level.
High Point Dedicated in 2008
On Saturday, April 19, 2008, the Washington D.C. official high point, designated by a flat brass marker placed in 2007, was dedicated after five years of wrangling paperwork and red tape in a ceremony hosted by the Tenleytown Historical Society and the National Park Service, which manages the site in Rock Creek Park. High point enthusiasts, hikers who try to reach the highest natural points of the 50 states and D.C., congregated with maps, GPS units, and cameras to document their latest ascent of America’s newest high point.
Located on Site of Old Fort Reno
Reno Hill, located in Tenleytown, one of Washington D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods, was the site of Fort Reno, the highest and largest fort that protected the capital during the Civil War with a dozen heavy guns and 3,000 soldiers. A reservoir and water system was built on the hill in the early 1900s.
How to Climb Reno Hill
If you want to visit the high point, set your GPS unit to these coordinates—18 320094 E / 4313484 N; WGS 84UTM—and start hiking. Just off Nebraska Avenue, up above the Whole Foods Market, you’ll find a grassy knoll. Once you identify a large conspicuous oak, step 19 paces north to the highpoint of Washington D.C. Good luck…and don’t forget your ice axe!