Lotuses & Water Lilies: A Bike Guide

Ever seen a leaf four feet wide? You can at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens just off the Anacostia River Trail! It is probably THE bike ride for July and the Trail Ranger team is here to help you out.

Where are these lotuses?

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is home to a lot of lotuses though some can also be found at other sites around the region. The aquatic gardens is the only National Park Service site dedicated to aquatic plants and home to many unusual varietals.

1550 Anacostia Ave SE
Washington, DC 20019

Google Maps screenshot of Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. Image Courtesy of Google Maps.

How do I get there?

The park has limited car parking and public transportation could use some investment (the closest Metro station is across a highway – quite walkable via an overpass). So biking is a great option!

From the Anacostia River Trail:

Note: Our Trail Ranger Matthew may not be there as pictured. (But the beautiful chalking will be!)

From the South: Go along the trail until 40th St and Anacostia Ave. It looks like:

But with more leaves and the grass is greener now! Ride along Anacostia Ave until you arrive at the parking lot for the park. Once in the gates, walk your bike to the first pond and take a right to find the bike parking.

Note: if you want a longer ride in the shade, keep going on the trail instead of Anacostia Ave and connect with the park via the north trail entrance described below.

From the North: Go along the trail past Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Ride until the trail dips under the Amtrak tracks and New York Ave. Just after the trail will arrive on land again and you’ll see:

You’ve arrived at the trailside park entrance!

Signal, stop and walk your bike (this helps protect the turtles and water chemistry of the surrounding wetlands) on the gravel path for a few hundred feet. You’ll come upon the bike parking just as you arrive at the main portion of the park.

From the neighborhoods if you’re east of 295: The best ways to cross the freeway are Deanwood Metro underpass to Polk St NE to the overpass to Douglass St NE, or on the sidewalk on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave, right on Kenilworth and left on 42nd Ave NE.

When to go?

If you want to visit when its less crowded: weekdays! The lotuses are still kind of a hidden gem but less so every year. If you want the trail and park to not be crowded, visit during the weekday.

If you want programming: there will be lots of things happening in the park during the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival July 21st to July 22nd. All of the details can be found here.

The WABA Trail Ranger team will be there all July 21st – stop by our table and say hi!

If you want to go for a bike ride:

Join us and DPR for a trail ride on Monday July 23rd! Registration required here.

Join us and NPS for a guided ride of park history and ecology on July 29th! Registration required here.