More than 51,000 acres within the National Capital Region (NCR) are administered by the National Park Service (NPS). These parks consist of parkways, trails, statues, monuments, memorials, historic sites, scenic areas, theatres, parks for performing arts, and Civil War battlefields. Although largely established for historical and cultural resources, each park is situated on a landscape that is influenced by bedrock and surficial geology of the central Appalachian mid-Atlantic region. Geologic mapping and field studies conducted for over 130 years are summarized here to provide the earliest history of the parklands. The age, type, names, and the interpreted origin of the rocks, as well as the processes active in the formation of surficial deposits and the landscape are discussed. These data are intended for educational and interpretative programs for visitors as well as the management of natural resources.