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 Huckleberry Hill Hiker Biker Campsites 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.
Wildflowers are members of an active, dynamic natural system. Each interacts with other flora and fauna, contributing to the health of the system as a whole. Humans have also benefited from ancient and continuing associations with wildflowers. For instance, the mayapple contains a chemical that is used in the treatment of skin cancer. C&O Canal NHP boasts over 600 species of wildflowers, some of which are listed as threatened or endangered within the state of Maryland.
You help protect one of the park's greatest assets - its natural heritage - simply by showing appreciation and respect for all that lives here. We encourage you to take home a greater understanding of the park and fond memories. Plants need their flowers to reproduce, so please don't pick them; allow others the same opportunity to enjoy these small beauties.
The C and O Canal Association has published a guide to flowers along the canal. To view click here.
Nine Native Spring Wildflowers
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
These flowers are pollinated by small black flies and the seeds dispersed mainly by ants. The plant provides food for the larvae of pipe-vine swallowtails.
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Trout lily (Erythronium americanum)
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
Blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Native Americans made tea with phlox leaves. It was consumed for stomach discomforts.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Violets (Viola papilionacea and other V. spp.)
Recommended Field Guides
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Little, Brown & Co. 1977.
Did You Know?
Most freight boats on the C&O Canal were approximately 95 feet long and 14.5 feet wide while most locks were 100 feet long and 15 feet wide. This left boat captains little margin for error as they steered their boats into the locks, trying to avoid the $5.00 fine for damaging lock masonry.