• Historic Shot of Canal Boat on the Canal

    Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

    National Historical Park DC,MD,WV

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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.


There are many places to picnic along the C&O Canal. Picnic tables are located at many of the visitor centers and boat launch areas throughout the park. Please check the Recreation Guide by Milepost for locations

Carderock pavillion_ picnic area

Picnic tables and Pavillion at Carderock

NPS Photo

Carderock Picnic Area

A permit is required April to October to rent the facilities. To obtain a permit call 301-767-3731.

Friday-Sunday, and Holidays is $250
Monday-Thursday is $150


The picnic pavilion at the Carderock Recreation Area is a large covered pavilion, open on three sides, that accommodates a maximum of 200 people.

Convenient and ample parking is available for all attending your event.

There are 30 picnic tables in or around the pavilion and electricity, in the form of 4 110-volt outlets, is available for your use. There are 2 large grills outside the pavilion and a large fireplace within the pavilion. Water and comfort stations are located nearby.

There is backstop for softball/baseball and volleyball poles on site Visitors need to bring their own sports equipment i.e. volleyball nets, bases etc.


The permit allows use of the pavilion between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and sunset only. The park closes at dark, which is one half-hour after sunset.

  • Alcohol is PROHIBITED in the Carderock Recreation Area; this includes the picnic pavilion. Pavilion users are only permitted to possess alcohol if their permit designates an alcohol waiver and ONLY beer and/or wine are to be served.
  • Permission is required to have catering or special entertainment at the pavilion and caterers MUST have a valid Commercial Use Authorization.
  • Permission is required to post signs or banners at the pavilion or on the roadways.
  • The park is a Trash Free Park and trashcans are not provided. Trash must be picked up and the area left in a clean condition before departure.
  • Fires may be built in established or portable grills only. ALL fires must be extinguished before leaving the park. Do not bring firewood into the park.
  • Parking or driving on the grass is not permitted and parking at the pavilion is prohibited. Parking is restricted to designated parking lots and parking may not be reserved. Car pooling and/or charted buses should be considered for groups of 100 or more.
  • No live bands, disc jockeys, etc. are permitted. Any volume amplification must be at a sound level that does not carry beyond the pavilion or interfere with the use of the area by other park visitors.
  • No vending, gambling, raffles or collection of fees of any kind are allowed on park property.
  • No amusement type rides and/or generators are permitted. (i.e. Moon Bounce, pony rides, dunk tanks, etc.)

Payment MUST be received at the time the reservation is made. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards are accepted. Holding dates without payment is not permitted. Once payment has been received, cancellations and refunds must be requested in writing at least 10 days prior to the event. NO RAIN DATES or PARTIAL REFUNDS are given.

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.