• Historic Shot of Canal Boat on the Canal

    Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

    National Historical Park DC,MD,WV

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  • NEW Overnight parking system

    Before parking a vehicle overnight in any Canal Parking area, visitors must register their vehicle through the new online registration system. Print your reciept and place on your dashboard. If unable to print, please visit the nearest visitor center. More »

  • Water Pump Handles Temporarily Removed

    Water pump handles at Bald Eagle Island and Iron Mtn. Hiker-Biker Campsites and Paw Paw Campground have been removed due to bad water samples. Handles will be reinstalled when good water samples are received.

  • Boat Tours at Great Falls

    Due to low water levels in the Great Falls area, call the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (301-767-3714) in advance of your trip to confirm the mule-drawn boat tour schedule.

  • Parking Lot Closure

    CSX is now beginning a phase of their bridge project that requires the closure of the Lock 74 parking lot for approximatly 18 months. Access to visitor parking near Lock 75 is now re-opened with a gravel parking lot at the site.

Kids Canal Page

Jr. Ranger summer camp Hancock

Kids at a Jr. Ranger summer camp

NPS Photo

Hi Kids! Welcome to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal's kid page. A page designed to help you learn all about the C&OCanal!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a kid on the canal? Read this story!

"It's a Kids Canal Life"

Life on a canal boat in the 1870's is hard but fun. My day starts at 4:30am when the rooster at a nearby farm crows its morning greeting. This announces to my family that a new day has begun on the C&O Canal. After eating breakfast of biscuits, jam and fruit, my sister and I feed our four mules their morning hay. When they finish, we carefully check their legs and hooves to make sure they are ready for the day ahead of them. To start our day, the first mule team is led up a ramp from their stable and onto the towpath. They are harnessed and attached to the boat using a long rope called a "tow line." I am responsible for making sure the mules keep a steady pace on the towpath. At midday we eat dinner (lunch), usually dried meat and bread. We stop for a few extra minutes at one of the locks to catch up on news along the canal and to switch mule teams. This afternoon I hop up on one of our mules to rest my feet a while. I brought my harmonica today to practice a few new songs. Mom likes to sing along. As the sun sets, the boat is tied up for the night. The mules are brought into their stable at the front of the boat. We settle into our family cabin at the back of the boat for a supper of cooked fish caught by my dad that day. We all fall asleep listening to the peaceful night sounds of the canal.

For more information click under the small photos on the right to learn about plants, animals, and canal history. Have fun exploring the C&O Canal.

Historic photo of children diving off a cargo boat.

Did You Know?

Photo of former Georgetown Flour Mill.

The C&O Canal begins in Georgetown. The canal made extra money by selling water to numerous factories in Georgetown to power water driven machinery such as water wheels, etc. Many factories were located next to canal property. More...