Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park map and information
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Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Parallels 185 mi of Potomac River from Georgetown, in Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland
This waterway, built between 1828 and 1850 and used until 1924, preserves the history of the C&O Canal and its related structures. The river system s 74 lift locks raise the boats from near sea level to an elevation of 605 feet, providing quiet waters for several short and widely separated stretches perfect for canoeists, kayakers, and anglers. Its towpath offers a nearly level byway for hikers and bicyclists. The canal was established as a national historical park on January 8, 1971.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Biking (rentals in Cumberland, MD, Harpers Ferry, and Washington, DC), boating and canoeing (rentals in Cumberland, Harpers Ferry, and Washington, DC), hiking, picnicking, viewing falls in Potomac, MD. Facilities: 6 visitor centers with interpretive displays: Georgetown (Washington, DC), Brunswick, Great Falls Tavern, Williamsport, Hancock, and Cumberland, MD; outdoor interpretive exhibits. Covered picnic tables. Programs & Events: Ranger walks and talks. Replica canal boats at Georgetown (late Apr-early Nov.). C&O CanalFest in Cumberland, MD (July or Aug.), C&O Canal Days in Williamsport, MD (3rd weekend, Aug.), Canal-Apple Days in Hancock, MD (mid-Sept.), Brunswick Railroad Days (early Oct.). Tips & Hints: Avoid towpath after heavy rains. Busiest June-Aug., least crowded Jan. and Feb.
FOOD & LODGING
Camping: 6 campgrounds ($10; pit toilets) in the park: Antietam Creek (mile 69; 20 sites), Fifteen Mile Creek (mile 140.9; 10 sites), McCoys Ferry (mile 110.4; 14 sites), Paw Paw (mile 156.1; 8 sites), Spring Gap (mile 173.3; 21 sites), Marsden Tract (mile 11.5; group campsite; $20; permit required). 30 primitive campsites (free) located along the canal approximately every 5-7 mi from Swains Lock (mile 16.6) to Evitts Creek (mile 180.1). In Flintstone: Rocky Gap State Park (12500 Pleasant Valley Rd. NE, tel. 888/432-2267 reservations; 301/777-2138 campground; 278 sites; $23-$28; flush toilets, showers, hook-ups). Hotels: None in park. In Cumberland: Holiday Inn (100 S. George St., tel. 301/724-8800; 130 rooms; $109-$159). X Restaurants: In the park: snack bar at Great Falls, MD. In Cumberland: Kramers Deli (13 Canal St., tel. 301/722-8003; $7-$9; closed Sun.).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $5 per car (Great Falls only), $3 for bicyclists and hikers. Canal boat (tel. 202/653-5190): $8 adults, $6 ages 62 and over, $5 ages 4-14, free ages 3 and under. Reservations available for Carderock picnic pavilion. Maryland or Washington, DC, fishing license required. No gas-powered boats in park. Electric motors allowed in Rig Pool, Little Pool, and canal waters from Lock 68 to Town Creek. No motorized vehicles, mopeds, or trail bikes on towpath. Rike riding on towpaths only. Leashed pets only. No hunting. Towpath open daily dawn-dusk. Georgetown Visitor Center open June-Aug., Wed.-Sun. 9:30-5. Great Falls Visitor Center open daily 9-4:45. Rrunswick Visitor Center open Thurs.-Fri. 10-2, Sat. 10-4, Sun. 1-4. Williamsport Visitor Center open Wed.-Sun. 9-4:30. Hancock Visitor Center open Fri.-Tues. 9-4:30. Cumberland Visitor Center open daily 9-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Cumberland: 1-68 to Hancock, then 1-70 to Frederick, then I-270 to Capital Reltway (1-495). Take Exit 41, Clara Rarton Pkwy. west, then left to onto MacArthur Blvd. The visitor center is at the intersection with Falls Rd. (Rte. 189).
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (Headquarters: 1850 Dual Hwy., Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740, tel. 301/739-4200; 301/767-3731 for group camping at Marsden Tract and Carde-rock picnic pavilion. Georgetown (tel. 202/653-5190). Great Falls Tavern (tel. 301/767-3714). Brunswick and Williamsport (tel. 301/582-0813). Hancock (tel. 301/678-5463). Cumberland (tel. 310/72-8226).
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Basic information for visitors wanting to see the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park