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Visitor Information

Learn more about entrance and other visitor processes. 

USGS National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, Virginia 20192 

About the USGS National Center:

Map around USGS National Center including parking areas, woodland walk and rock garden walk

The John Wesley Powell Federal Building, the main building at the National Center, is named after the U.S. Geological Survey’s second Director. Powell led the first scientific expedition to explore the Colorado River and made extensive surveys of western lands from 1869 to 1878. The building was designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill of Chicago, whose architects collaborated with USGS scientists to create a space that would reflect the Survey’s mission. For example, the main tower was designed in the shape of an eight-pointed star to represent the cardinal points of the compass. Care was also taken to ensure that this structure would be in harmony with the natural wooded area of diverse native Virginia vegetation. The site (105 acres) provides habitat for many native and migratory birds, insects, and large and small mammals. 


Visitor Access Entrance:

Follow signs from the visitors parking. All visitors must enter at the visitors entrance and pass through a security screening process. All packages, briefcases, handbags, etc., will be scanned. Visitors must sign in and present a picture identification, such as a State driver's license. The guard will then issue a visitor's badge that must be worn at all times.


Please Note:

Children under the age of 16 accompanied by a parent or sponsor (such as a teacher or counselor) are not subject to sign-in procedures, however, their persons and their packages must still be screened by metal detection devices. Exceptions for large groups may be granted by contacting the physical security section at:

Visitors bringing laptop computers into the building are required to write the word "laptop" and the serial number on the sign-in beneath their printed name.

  • Directions
  • Geology and Hydrology of the Site
  • Woodland and Rock Garden Walks
  • Shuttle Schedule for USGS Employees (PDF)
  • USGS Cafeteria Menu



USGS General Information 1-888-392-8545

Reserve National Center Auditorium
Phone: 703-648-7208

USGS Library
Phone: 703-648-4301
Fax: 703-648-6373

GSA/DOI Credentialing Center
Phone: 703-648-4721
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:00pm ET (Break 12:30 - 1:00 PM)

Employment Information
Phone: 703-648-7405
Fax: 703-648-4113

Volunteers Opportunities
Phone: 703-648-7442