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.
Hancock Visitor Center
CLOSED for 2014 SEASON!
Nestled along the towpath at milepost 123 in Hancock, Maryland, the charming Bowles House has seen its share of American history.
Originally built as a one-story structure on a hill overlooking the Potomac River, the 220-year old home is illustrative of life on the canal and an era long ago. The Bowles House has witnessed early settlement on undeveloped land, a race west between rail and canal, and a period of transition as advancements in transportation eased the country into the twentieth century, making life along the towpath obsolete.
Arguably as intriguing as the structure, which offers a beautiful example of early 18th century architecture, is the Bowles' rich history. First traced to Lord Baltimore of England, the parcel of land known as "Sarah's Fancy", was transferred to the Yates family around 1775. William Yates developed the land and built the original one-story home in 1785. The Yates family resided there during construction of the C&O Canal which passed through Hancock in 1839. In 1875, during the peak of C&O Canal operations, the Bowles family acquired the property and remained occupants for nearly four decades. In 1905 the house and surrounding property were purchased by the Little family who resided in the home until the 1980's.
Address: 439 East Main Street, Hancock, MD 21750
From the East: Take I-70 W to Hagerstown/Hancock and exit to left off interstate exit 3 (MD-144 to Hancock). After the ramp bear right on E Main St. and make the first left hand turn. Park in the C&O Canal parking lot. The Hancock Visitor Center in the Historic Bowles House is to the right of the parking lot as you are driving in on the access road (note that the Hancock Maintenance yard at the opposite end of the parking lot is only accessible for official business).
From the West: From the National Freeway take the I-70 E exit 82AB to Hagerstown/Hancock/Winchester. Continue on I-70 and exit off interstate exit 3 (MD-144 to Hancock). After the ramp bear right on E Main St. and make the first left hand turn. Park in the C&O Canal parking lot. The Hancock Visitor Center in the Historic Bowles House is to the right of the parking lot as you are driving in on the access road (note that the Hancock Maintenance yard at the opposite end of the parking lot is only accessible for official business).
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.