Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

 

Contact Information:

C&O Canal NHP Headquarters
1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740-6620
(301) 739-4200

Additional Information:
Official Park Page
Park Maps

Need a place to stay?
Maryland Lodging

Books:
The C & O Canal Companion
Discovering the C & O Canal
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Images of America)
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal: A Guide to Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park


Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park The C&O Canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, MD. The canal operated from 1828-1924 as a transportation route, primarily hauling coal from western Maryland to the port of Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a transportation system during the Canal Era. In addition, the canal's towpath provides a nearly level, continuous trail through the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley.

Every year millions of visitors come to hike or bike the C&O Canal in order to enjoy the natural, cultural, and recreational opportunities available. Other activities include viewing the Great Falls of the Potomac from the overlook on Olmsted Island, near the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center in Potomac, MD. Viewing exhibits at any of the six visitor centers. Hiking or biking sections or all of the towpath. Joining a guided ranger program. Taking a mule-drawn canal boat ride at Georgetown or Great Falls. Canoeing a watered section of the canal.

Facilities

The park's six visitor centers operate on a seasonal schedule. Contact the visitor centers for current hours of operation.

Brunswick Visitor Center - Exhibit interprets canal and local history. Short films also present canal history. Ranger led programs offered on many weekends. 40 West Potomac Street Brunswick, MD 21716. (301) 834-7100.

Cumberland Visitor Center/Western Maryland Station - Displays interpret canal and local history and the geology of the Great Falls of the Potomac. Ranger led programs offered on many weekends and some weekdays. Room 304, 13 Canal St., Cumberland, MD 21502. (301)722-8226.

Georgetown Visitor Center - Displays interpret canal history. Ranger-led walks and talks and mule-drawn canal boat rides are available. 1057 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DC 20007. (202) 653-5190.

Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center - Displays and short films interpret canal and local history and the geology of the Great Falls of the Potomac. Ranger-led walks and talks and mule-drawn canal boat rides are offered. 11710 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854. (301) 767-3714.

Hancock Visitor Center - Displays and short films interpret canal and local history. Ranger led programs offered on many weekends. 326 E. Main St., Hancock, MD 21750. (301) 678-5463.

Williamsport Visitor Center - Displays and short films interpret canal and local history and the geology of the Great Falls of the Potomac. Ranger led programs offered on many weekends and some weekdays. 205 W. Potomac St., Williamsport, MD 21795. (301) 582-0813.

Fees:
3-Day Pass: Private Vehicle - $5
On foot/Bicycle - $3 per person (16 years of age or older)
Great Falls Park, Virginia/C&O Canal NHP, Maryland Annual Park Pass - $20

Getting There:
Various sections of the canal can be reached via Routes I-495, I-70, and I-68. Please see park maps or contact a visitor center for specific directions.