• Historic Shot of Canal Boat on the Canal

    Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

    National Historical Park DC,MD,WV

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  • 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 »

Camping

Photo of campers in park.

Camping allows you to enjoy the tranquility of the C&O Canal at night.

NPS Photo

Camping is allowed only in designated sites.

Marsden Tract Camping is the only camping area that requires a reservation. All other campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis and do not require reservations.

A maximum of 2 tents and 8 people per site except for group campsites.

Group Campsites are located at McCoy's Ferry, Fifteen Mile Creek, Paw Paw Tunnel, and Spring Gap. They are $20 per site, per night with a maximum of 35 people. NO reservations required - first come first serve basis.

Quiet hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Pets must be on a leash or under other physical control at all times.

Fires are restricted to the grills and fire rings provided or to portable grills positioned off the ground. Coals must be extinguished and removed from the park.

Firewood may be collected from dead material on the ground but for use in campgrounds only. Do not remove wood from the campground.

Firewood cannot be brought into the park.

For the protection of drinking water, campers may not wash dishes, bathe, or clean fish near wells.

Draining or dumping refuse or body wastes from trailers or other vehicles is prohibited.

Hiker-Biker Campsites

  • No fee charged.
  • 30 hiker-biker campgrounds located every 6 to 8 miles along the canal.
  • Stay is limited to one night per site, per trip.
  • All sites have a chemical toilet, water, a picnic table, and grill. Please Note: Potable water may not be available at each campsite. Water is treated with iodine. Please plan to have water purification tablets with you. Water is turned off from November 15 to April 15 each year.

Mile 16.6 Swains Lock (water is unavailable until further notice)
Mile 26.1 Horsepen Branch
Mile 30.5 Chisel Branch
Mile 34.4 Turtle run
Mile 38.2 Marble Quarry
Mile 42.5 Indian Flats
Mile 47.6 Calico Rocks
Mile 50.3 Bald eagle Island
Mile 62.9 Huckleberry Hill
Mile 75.2 Killiansburg Cave
Mile 79.2 Horseshoe Bend
Mile 82.7 Big Woods
Mile 90.9 Opequon Junction
Mile 95.2 Cumberland Valley
Mile 101.2 Jordan Junction
Mile 110 North Mountain
Mile 116 Licking Creek
Mile 120.6 Little Pool
Mile 129.9 Leopards Mill
Mile 133.6 Cacapon Junction
Mile 139.2 Indigo Neck
Mile 144.5 Devils Alley
Mile 149.4 Stickpile Hill
Mile 154.1 Sorrel Ridge
Mile 157.4 Purslane Run
Mile 162.1 Town Creek
Mile 164.8 Potomac Forks
Mile 169.1 Pigmans Ferry
Mile 175.3 Irons Mountain
Mile 180.1 Evitts Creek

 
Paw Paw campsite

Paw Paw campsites

NPs photo

Drive-in Campgrounds

  • Trailer length may not exceed 20 feet
  • $10 per site per night (Senior Pass pass holders are entitled to a 50% discount)
  • No RV Hookups
  • Drive-in campsites are equipped with grills, chemical toilets, and water.
  • Antietam Creek and Paw Paw have adjacent parking, but visitors cannot park at the actual campsite.
  • Recreational vehicles are allowed only at McCoys Ferry, Fifteen Mile Creek, and Spring Gap campgrounds.
  • Stay is limited to 14 days between May 1 and October 1. Stay is limited to a total of 30 days for the entire calendar year. There is a limit of eight people per site.
  • Groups with more than eight people need to use the group campsites or register for more than one site in the campground.

Mile 69.7 Antietam Creek
Mile 110.4 McCoys Ferry
Mile 140.9 Fifteenmile Creek
Mile 156.1 Paw Paw
Mile 173.3 Spring Gap

Group Campsites

  • $20 per site per nite
  • Groups of 35 people or fewer.

Marsden Tract is located at Mile 11 and is reserved for civic and scout organizations. An advance permit is required. A permit can be obtained by calling the Great Falls Fee Office at (301) 767-3731. There is no parking available at Marsden Tract and overnight parking is permitted ONLY at Great Falls (entrance fee charged), Angler's Inn or Carderock Recreation Area.

Fifteenmile Creek group campsite is located at Mile 141 and is adjacent to the Fifteenmile Creek Drive-in campground. The group campsite is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Two youth hostels located near the canal provide outdoor travelers with dormitory accommodations and cooking facilities for inexpensive overnight lodging: Mile 0 Washington International Youth Hostel, 250 beds (202)737-2333. Mile 59 Harpers Ferry Youth Hostel, 40 beds (301)834-7652.

Did You Know?

Photo Maryland Gold Mine.

There are several gold mines in the Great Falls area. The largest of these is the Maryland Mine located at the intersection of Falls Road and MacArthur Boulevard near Potomac, Maryland. Gold was first discovered here by a Union soldier from Pennsylvania during the Civil War.