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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Blockhouse Point Conservation Park – Trails / Blockhouse Point Conservation Park – History

Blockhouse Point Conservation Park – History

View of potomac river from Blockhouse Point Conservation Park

Hike a 150-year-old Trail

Within Blockhouse Point Conservation Park are numerous trails that are part of the Civil War complex for which the park is named. They were once used as a wartime transportation system for supplies. The park boasts unmatched views of the Potomac Valley, mature upland forests, and historic Civil War ruins.

Download the Blockhouse Point Conservation Park map to plan your next hike. (accessible map pdf)

Indigenous Relationships with Waterways

Montgomery County is bordered by the Potomac River to the west and the Patuxent to the east. Several stream valleys—Rock Creek, Sligo Creek, Northwest Branch, and Watts Branch among them—lace the country’s interior. For thousands of years, Indigenous groups lived along these river and stream banks and traveled their waters. Among these groups were the ancestors of the Piscataway, who are now primarily based in Southern Maryland.

The word “Piscataway” means “where the waters blend.” Many of the “official” names now assigned to local waterways and places derive from the Algonquin language group, of which the Piscataway are a part. When Captain John Smith, an English colonizer, sailed up the Potomac in 1608, he recorded some of those names.

Potomac River—Patawomeck

Anacostia River—named for the Nacotchtank or Anacostans  

Seneca Creek—”a place of many rocks” or possibly derived from the Tsenacommacah, “densely inhabited Land”

Want more history in the park?

Montgomery Parks has great offerings for history buffs. The historic sites explore the county’s rich African American heritage and what life was like in the early years of the county. Check out the available tours and attractions at our historic sites. Group tours are available at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. Oakley Cabin is a living history museum and tours and events delve into the deep history of Montgomery County.

Regularly scheduled guided hikes happen all year long. Go to our calendar to search and sign up.