• 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, Huckleberry Hill, and Jordan Junction 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.

High Water Forces Closure of Many Park Areas

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Date: May 20, 2011


Areas of C&O Canal Closed due to High Water

The National Park Service has announced that some areas of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park are closed to the public due to high water conditions in the Potomac River. Billy Goat Trail Section A and the Olmsted Island bridges in the Great Falls area of the park are closed. The high water has covered the towpath areas near Whites Ferry and Edwards Ferry in Montgomery County, Harpers Ferry in Frederick and Washington Counties, and in the Dam 4 area in Washington County. Several park roads are covered with water and are closed. Spring Gap and Paw Paw campgrounds are closed. All of the Hiker Biker campsites and boat ramps are in low lying areas of the park, and should not be used. Visitors may encounter rough and muddy towpath conditions and downed branches and trees throughout the park.

"The Potomac can be a treacherous and unpredictable river, particularly during periods of high water" Kevin Brandt, C&O Canal park superintendent said. "Our visitors should keep their safety foremost in their minds. Respect the closures the park staff has put in place, they are for your safety. Keep an eye on the river and have an escape plan. The river will continue to rise today and is predicted to remain high through the weekend. Areas that are not under water now may be soon. The best advice is to watch the power of the river from a safe distance."

For information on river conditions visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site at http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lwx

For information on the effect of water levels on boat ramps visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/boating/pdfs/upperpotomac.pdf


Did You Know?

Photo upstream entrance Paw Paw Tunnel.

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. More...