• 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, Jordan Junction and Big Woods 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.


Swains Hiker Biker Campsite

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

NPS Photo

Camping is allowed only in designated sites. If you are planning on leaving a parked car at a C&O Canal Parking lot, visitors must register their vehicle through the new online registration system. Visit the registration form here. Print your reciept and place on your dashboard. If unable to print, please visit the nearest visitor center.

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.

The C&O Canal is a Trash Free Park. Please plan to take all trash with you.

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 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...