|[ Print this page ]|
|Brief Description:||The C&O; Canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, DC 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, DC, Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a major Chesapeake transportation system during the Canal Era. The canal's towpath also 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.|
|Location / Directions:||
C&O; Canal National Historical Park stretches 184.5 miles between Cumberland MD and Washington DC. Various sections of the canal can be reached via Routes I-495, I-70, and I-68. Please see a park map or contact one of six visitor centers for specific directions. Once at the park, hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding (from mile 16.6 to mile 184.5) are the most popular ways to travel. There are many access points along the route.
Public transportation is available via Amtrak's Capital Limited services to the following points along the canal: Washington, DC, Harpers Ferry, WV, and Cumberland, MD.
|Address:||Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
1850 Duel Highway
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding (from mile 16.6 to mile 184.5) are the most popular ways to travel through the park. There are many access points to the park. Hiking and bicycling are available along the length of the towpath, which is very close to level. Interpretive trails are available in some areas. Trail guides are available at the Georgetown and Hancock visitors centers.
Canal boat rides: Rides in canal boats are available at Georgetown and Great Falls.
Camping: There are numerous camping sites along the canal. Most are on a first-come, first-served basis. More information is available at the park website.
Hostels: Two youth hostels are located near the canal: Harpers Ferry Youth Hostel (301-8334-7652) and Washington International Youth Hostel (202-737-2333).
Water-related activities: Several boat ramps are available along the canal. Canoeing should be undertaken by experience canoeists only. Swimming is not permitted in the canal. Fishing is permitted in the park subject to state fishing regulations. More information is available at the park website.
|Operating Hours:||The park is open all daylight hours. Some of the park's six visitor centers operate on a seasonal schedule. Contact one of the visitor centers for current hours of operation.|
|Fees:||An entrance fee is charged at the Great Falls area of C&O; Canal National Historical Park:
|Visitor Facilities:||C&O; Canal National Historical Park has six visitor centers:
BRUNSWICK VISITOR CENTER
CUMBERLAND VISITOR CENTER/WESTERN MARYLAND STATION
GEORGETOWN VISITOR CENTER
GREAT FALLS TAVERN VISITOR CENTER
HANCOCK VISITOR CENTER
WILLIAMSPORT VISITOR CENTER
|Accessibility:||Much of the park's 184.5 mile towpath and the Olmsted Island trail to the Great Falls of the Potomac are wheelchair accessible. Mule drawn canal boat rides in Georgetown are also wheelchair accessible. Please contact one of the park's visitor centers for more information.|