Plan Your Field Trip
Restrooms, bus parking, and picnic tables are provided at each location. Here are some tips to making your field trip enjoyable and safe.
What to Wear
Remind students to wear appropriate footwear for this extended outdoor experience. Flip flops, slip-on shoes, or sandals are not appropriate for the programs at the C&O Canal.
Long pants and layers are suggested for the programs. Encourage everyone to have proper outer wear such as a rain or warm coat. Pants are the best precaution against cool temperatures, bee stings, ticks, and poison ivy. Students may wear hats for sun protection and/or warmth.
It is extremely helpful to rangers leading the program for students to wear clearly labeled name tags with first names only.
It can get very hot on the towpath. Everyone should carry a reusable water bottle (remember to label bottles with names).
Planning for Lunch
Food services are not available. Bring lunches and drinking water. Each location has picnic tables in a shady near the parking lot.
The C&O Canal National Historical Park is trash free. Bring a trash bag or two and plan to take all garbage with you. Encourage students to pack lunches in reusable containers.
Remember: animals will help themselves to lunches left outside.
Most of our school program locations have excellent cell coverage. Coverage at the Paw Paw Tunnel is poor. For emergencies, call 911 or (866) 677-6677 (this is the National Park Service dispatch center).
If your bus will be late to arrive more than 10 minutes late, please call the park's educatoin line and let us know: (301) 491-1517.
There is plenty of room to park at Cumberland, Paw Paw Tunnel, Williamsport, and Great Falls. A ranger on site will direct your driver.
For Great Falls only, you need an educational fee waiver to get through the gate.
At minimum, please have at least one chaperone (teacher or other adult) for every 10 students. In order to keep programs manageable, do not exceed one chaperone for every five students.
Chaperones should be an active part of the lessons—keeping up with the group and actively listening. We may call on chaperones to assist (handing out materials, sub-dividing groups etc.).
During programs, refrain from holding conversations with students or other chaperones or using a cellular phone.
No smoking during the trip.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is a federally protected public use area. Please be good stewards during your visit. Do not pick the plants or take anything from the park.
The availability of the boat at Great Falls is dependent on water, weather, and staffing. If your class is scheduled to ride the boat, please prepare them for a possible change of plans.
Let us know if any of your students require accomodations.
Did You Know?
The Paw Paw Tunnel is 3,118 feet long and is lined with almost six million bricks. The 2/3 mile long tunnel saved the canal builders almost six miles of construction along the Paw Paw bends of the Potomac River. The project took twelve years to complete. The tunnel was only wide enough for single lane traffic.