• 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, Evitts Creek, and Iron Mtn. Hiker-Biker Campground and Arbaugh Camp 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.

Plan Your Visit

Two people walking along the towpath at Widewater.

C&O Canal Towpath

NPS Photo

Welcome to Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Over four million people visit the C&O Canal each year. From spectacular views of Mather Gorge and Great Falls, peaceful walks or bike rides through nature, tours of lock houses and other historic structures, special events, or boat rides on the watered sections of the canal, the C&O Canal offers something for everyone.

Hike the Towpath and surrounding trails

Biking The Canal

Visitor Centers and Lockhouses

Guided Programs

 
A lockhouse situated next to the towpath surrounded by trees.
The towpath covers 184.5 miles along the Potomac River. The canal included 74 lift locks and numerous lockhouses
NPS Photo

Did You Know?

Photo canal boat exiting lock 20.

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.