Rock Creek winds its way from suburban Maryland through northwest Washington on its way to the Potomac River. For much of its path through Washington, it has cut a gorge about 100 feet deep, which provides a natural setting completely removed from the adjacent urban areas. The land around the creek was set aside as a public park in the 19th century, which provides a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. On weekends and holidays, the road along the creek through the park is closed to motor vehicles for much of its length. That makes its quite popular with cyclists, roller bladers, joggers, and strollers. The very popular National Zoo, which does not charge for admission, is adjacent to the park and provides yet another attraction to park visitors.
Rock Creek was the location of several 19th Century mills. All but one are now gone, but historical markers show where they were. One, Pierce Mill, has been preserved by the National Park Service, and is open to visitors. Depending on the status of restoration work, some weekends have demonstrations of the mill in action grinding wheat into flour. The outside of the mill with its waterwheel is shown below. A nearby carriage house is the home of a small art gallery with changing exhibits.