Historic Hydrants in Washington, D.C.

A Dog Walker's Guide to The Capital

Given the canine disposition for investigating those water-main valves commonly called fire hydrants that punctuate the Washington cityscape almost every 500 feet, a day trip around the most scenic hydrant locations in downtown D.C. makes a fun walking tour. This way, as you stroll with the pup, pausing now and then to look over the historic site or take in the postcard-perfect view, your pooch can leisurely sniff the nearby fire hydrant to his heart's content, and even give that obligatory one-legged salute before moving on.

It's A Hike

Beautiful as the tour is, we must warn you it is also long. Without adding the distance of the optional Watergate loop, the tour is about 4.5 miles long. With a good stride, but still letting the dog sniff his stuff, the main loop alone takes about three hoursdepending on which of you wins the leash-tugging contests. Because the main course is an elongated loop that stretches from one end of the National Mall to the other, taking a short cut directly across the Mall at any time you or the pooch gets weary is not only permitted, it's advised and even required.

What You Need To Know

The tour requires fitness of both you and your dog. One of you should wear comfortable shoes. One of you should bring along a plastic baggy in case the other poops. Drinking water is plentiful along the route, so you needn't carry that. The photo opportunities are stunning, so do carry your camera. If you park your car, look for a space in the northeast and southeast neighborhood streets a block or two behind the United States Capitol, off East Capitol Street, for instance, or on either of the A Streets (NE or SE) back there. Be informed: Your dog needs to stay on leash the entire tour, per D.C. law.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »