Bike the Towpath
Please follow these basic biking regulations:
The National Park Service partners with two concessioners in the downstream end of the canal in Washington, DC.
Camping: Hiker-Biker and Drive-In campsites are located from Swains Lock to Cumberland.
Canal Towns: Another great resource for learning more about what surrounding towns to the towpath have to offer is the Canal Towns Partnership website.
Potable water is generally available in Drive-In Campgrounds from mid-April (around the 15th) to mid-November (around the 15th). Non-potable water is available at Hiker-Biker Campsites year-round, approximately every 5 to 7 miles.
Drive-In Campgrounds: Well water within the drive-in campgrounds is potable and treated with iodine - do NOT drink if you have any iodine allergies or if you are on medication for an overactive thyroid. In general, well water is clean and able to be used without additional treatment. However, as a general precaution for wells located in a flood zone, you are advised to boil or treat the water before use for your own protection.
Hiker-Biker Campsites: Non-potable water is available in hiker-biker campsites. Please plan to filter, chemically treat, or boil the water before use for your own protection. The wells will remain in the hiker-biker campsites and, as long as visitors bring their own sanitization equipment, there will be a more reliable water source as handles will not be removed from these wells.
Water availability is subject to change. Always bring plenty of water with you as a backup option. Please plan your trip accordingly.
No overnight permits are required for vehicles in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal parking lots. The National Park Service is not responsible for cars or their contents; do not store valuables in cars.
This is a trash free park; take all trash away.
E-bikes are allowed in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited. The term e-bike means a two- or three- wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 horsepower).
E-bikes on the Western Maryland Rail Trail:
Only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, which is managed by the Maryland Department of Natual Resources. To learn more about e-bikes on the Western Maryland Rail Trail visit the WMRT webpage.
E-bikes on the Capital Crescent Trail:
Only Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on the section of the Capital Crescent Trail that is in Montgomery County, Maryland. To learn more about e-bikes in Montgomery Park's visit their e-bikes webpage.
Last updated: May 27, 2023