• 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, Huckleberry Hill, 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.

Support Your Park

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park encourages visitors to help preserve, protect, and enjoy the resources of the park. Various volunteer programs are available for the public to be very involved in park living history, maintenance, or ranger programs.

Bookstores are operated by our cooperating association Eastern National. Please click the bookstore link for more information.

Many outside organizations throughout the area work to support the park.

C&O Canal Trust

NPS Partner

The C&O Canal Trust was founded in 2007 as the official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. As the Park's official “Friends Group,” the C&O Canal Trust is committed to raising funds and resources to provide a margin of excellence for the Park and to enhance the visitor experience. We provide opportunities for real and meaningful engagement to people of all ages, means, and abilities through philanthropy, volunteer opportunities, interpretive and education programs, and advocacy. We also play a leadership and supportive role in connecting the Park with its neighboring communities and other organizations throughout the region. Contact: info@canaltrust.org

COCA logo new (1)

NPS Partner

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association was founded in 1954 by the conservationists and supporters who participated in the hike that year led by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. In the early years, the Association took the lead in the campaign that lead to the creation of the C&O Canal National Historical Park in 1971.

Today, we remain an independent, all-volunteer organization of citizens concerned with the continued viability of the Park and all of its natural and historic resources. To help preserve and protect these resources, we readily assist the Park Service with both manpower and money. Additionally, we monitor conditions (both regulatory and physical) that could adversely affect the Park. We work to bring attention to these conditions and openly advocate on behalf of the Park.

We lead and/or sponsor hikes, bike trips, paddle trips in the canal and river and nature walks to investigate trees, flowers, birds, insects and geology in an effort to educate participants and bring attention to the Park.

Membership in the C&O Canal Association is open anyone with an interest in the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Contact: president@candocanal.org


NPS Partner

The Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization founded in 1973. Its primary mission is to support the National Park Service at the C & O Canal National Historical Park in maintaining and preserving the Historic Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and its surrounding area. In addition, the Friends support ongoing preservation efforts of the C & O Canal and numerous historic structures along its entire length. This support is provided through both volunteer time and financial resources.

The Friends also hold social events to foster camaraderie and sharing of knowledge about the Historic Great Falls Tavern and the C&O Canal. These activities include an annual trip to a Canal-related historical location, a summer picnic with the C&O Canal Association, British-style pub quizzes, and an annual dinner with a presentation on some aspect of the Canal or local history. Contact: donh811@verizon.net
CTP Logo

NPS Partner

The Canal Towns Partnership is a collaboration of eight communities along the C & O Canal NHP that is working together to ensure a world class experience for visitors. Through a concentrated business development effort, the towns work to attract sustainable new businesses and expand existing ones to meet visitor expectations and needs. It is regional program creating walkable and bikeable communities that connect to the C & O Canal, thereby encouraging an active lifestyle for residents and visitors alike.

Visit http://www.canaltowns.org for more information.

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.