• Historic Shot of Canal Boat on the Canal

    Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

    National Historical Park DC,MD,WV

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Towpath Reroute!

    6/14/14- Towpath breach at MM 106, just below Dam #5. Towpath Detour in place (this detour does not leave park property). Please be aware of possible towpath hazards due to heavy rains.

  • Water Pump Handles Temporarily Removed

    Purslane Run, Stickpile, Evitts Creek Hiker-Biker Campgrounds and Paw Paw Campground water pump handles have been removed due to bad water samples. Handles will be installed when good water samples are received.

  • 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.

  • Boat Rides at Great Falls

    Regularly scheduled tour times for the mule-drawn canal boat at Great Falls have changed. In July and August 2014 tours will be offered Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00, 1:30 and 3:00. Please call the Visitor Center for more info: 301-767-3714. More »

Great Falls Field Trips

Programs offered Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. To schedule programs at Great Falls, call (301) 767-3714.

You will need an Educational Fee Waiver to get through the entrance gate. The address for the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center is 11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, Maryland 20854.

Ride the Mercer (grades K-12): A trip on the Charles F. Mercer is an experience to remember. The Mercer is a mule-drawn boat ride. Park rangers in period costumes will talk with students about the history and operation of the C&O Canal as they ride through a lock, head down the canal. Period games and music may be part of the program. The program lasts approximately one hour. Cost: $5 per person. Please note that boat rides are dependent on weather, water, and staffing.

Meet the Mule (grades K-12): What is a mule? Why do they pull the Mercer? Find out the advantages of this hybrid animal in a special request program. The program lasts 30 minutes.

Did You Know?

Photo Potowmack Company canal lock at Great Falls Virginia.

George Washington's dream of connecting the eastern states with the western frontier led to the creation of the Patowmack Company. Canals were built around unnavigable parts of the Potomac River for improved commerce. The C&O Canal inherited the right of way after the Patowmack Company's demise. More...