We visited Washington, DC over Easter weekend 2004 and used the Metro for everything we wanted to do. Therefore this account of our visit to Fort Reno is based on using the Metro.
The Metro goes everywhere and almost anything you want to do in DC, Arlington or Alexandria is accessible by this method. The stations are large, modern, well lit and manned by at least one person employed by the Metro. The fares are reasonable; for our one full day in the area we purchased a day pass for $6 that allowed unlimited travel over the entire Metro system.
Fort Reno (elev 429 ft) is accessible via the Tenleytown station on the Red Line. We exited East Side, Wisconsin Av. Exiting the West Side only means you have to cross Wisconsin Av. We walked north (toward the radio towers) on Wisconsin Av about 2 blocks to Brandywine St. We turned right (east) on Brandywine and walked one block to 40th St. At the 40th St intersection you can see the highpoint. We turned left (north) on 40th St and walked one block to Chesapeake St which borders Fort Reno Park on the south. We crossed the street, walked across the grass and up to the fence. The concrete cap over the reservoir is the highest point. There is a low stone monument just to the east in the lawn describing Fort Reno.
We followed the fence to the east and around to the north where we came to the access road to the reservoir complex. The road was gated with 2 security vehicles parked across the road beyond the gate and 2 security guards. We chatted with the guards and the one pointed to the south cap over the reservoir as the highest point and also indicated it was slightly higher than the caps to the north (the 39th & Fessenden area). He said that with heightened security he couldn?t lets us through the gate although there were people coming through the next day (Easter) and maybe we could get access. Our plans prevented us from coming back Sunday but at least we know the gate is open at times.
Postings on the Highpointers Forum have described the 39th & Fessenden approach. This approach is fine; all you have to do is drive around the Park and park on 40th or Chesapeake and walk across the lawn to the fence.
Another description of a visit to Fort Reno, including it?s history as a Civil War fort, is at americasroof.com/dc
Detailed maps of the areas around each Metro station are available at the Metro?s website, metroopensdoors.com.
Well, I wouldn't exactly call this a trip report but I did have a short and sweet visit to the lofty 429-foot highpoint of Washington DC right around dusk on 10/19/06. Based on its own highpointing merits, Fort Reno ain't so bad ... at least it probably rates better than Ebright Azimuth or Britton Hill. The highpoint at 39th and Fessenden is an actual unmistakable little mound of ground that could even be classified as a hill if one was in a generous mood. The problem is that they dropped it right in the middle of the massive traffic jam known as Washington DC and built a perimeter fence at the top of the slope so that the best you can do is find the highest point along the edge of the "summit" plateau.
Originally, I had planned on visiting Fort Reno during a February trip to DC but I was sent there unexpectedly for work for 3 days and just couldn't resist the urge to bag another highpoint after I'd taken care of business. OK, not an actual state highpoint but extra credit nonetheless. Like I said, by the time I got there it was late and my visit was brief. Probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes as I wanted to get on the road to drive home to NY. I may visit again in February to explore around a little more thoroughly. Or maybe not. We'll see, I guess.