The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. Based on guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, access to the park is as follows:
Masks - Required, in certain areas when physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and parking lots.
Reservation Only (Drive-in) Campgrounds - open. Campsites must be reserved through www.recreation.gov. See note below on restooms and water availability.
Hiker-biker Campsites - open. See note below on restooms and water availability.
Restrooms, Vault Toilets, and Portable Toilets - open at campgrounds, boat ramps, and day use areas. Restrooms will be cleaned twice weekly. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper as these items have been the subject of theft.
Water Fountains and Wells - water sources have been turned off for the winter.
Fee collection at Great Falls has resumed. Credit, debit, or contactless payment (such as Apple Pay or Google Pay) ONLY. No cash or checks accepted. Digital passes are available via www.recreation.gov.
C&O Canal NHP will cancel permits and reservations and will not accept applications for demonstrations, special events, or park site reservations until further notice.
While the listed areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased, and services may be limited. When recreating, please follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities.
Including Poolesville, MD; Whites Ferry, MD; Dickerson, MD; Point of Rocks, MD
Edwards Ferry (MP 30.8)
Towpath Detour, through the end of April 2021, Edwards Ferry Vehicle Bridge. The Federal Highway Administration is performing drilling to identify conditions below the surface at the bridge. During this time, the bridge will remain open to vehicle access. A temporary, local detour on the towpath will be in place to guide pedestrians around the drill rig. Visitors are asked to dismount bicycles when using the detour.
Monocacy Area (MP 42.2)
Open, Boat ramp
Nolands Ferry (MP 44.6)
Open, Boat ramp
Point of Rocks (MP 48.2)
Open, Boat ramp
Lander (MP 50.8)
Open, Boat ramp
Including Brunswick, MD; Harpers Ferry, WV; Shepherdstown, WV
Culvert 82 (MP 52.5)
Towpath Detour. Cyclist are encouraged to dismount bicycles and take caution crossing the low water crossing bridge. High water events will put the bridge underwater.
The following vendors have indicated their availability for shuttle services around this area:
River & Trail Outfitters: 301-834-9950 or email at email@example.com (contact directly for pricing and to make your arrangements)
Towpath Detour, through the end of April 2021, Dargan Bend Vehicle Bridge. The Federal Highway Administration is performing drilling to identify conditions below the surface at the bridge. During this time, the bridge will remain open to vehicle access. A temporary, local detour on the towpath will be in place to guide pedestrians around the drill rig. Visitors are asked to dismount bicycles when using the detour.
Towpath Below Dargan Bend Boat Ramp (MP 64)
Towpath Detour. Due to a washout half a mile below the boat ramp, the pedestrian footbridge has been relocated 100 feet upstream from its original location along the towpath. Follow a designated pathway from the towpath, across the footbridge and stream, and back onto the towpath.
Towpath Detour, through the end of April 2021, Fifteen Mile Creek Vehicle Bridge. The Federal Highway Administration is performing drilling to identify conditions below the surface at the bridge. During this time, the bridge will remain open to vehicle access. A temporary, local detour on the towpath will be in place to guide pedestrians around the drill rig. Visitors are asked to dismount bicycles when using the detour.
Including Paw Paw, WV; Oldtown, MD; Cumberland, MD
Drinking water is generally available from mid-April (around the 15th) to mid-November (around the 15th) at Hiker/Biker and Drive-In Campsite locations, approximately every 5 to 7 miles. Water quality tests are performed frequently by park staff to ensure drinkable water. Water availability is subject to change. Always bring plenty of water with you when camping as a backup option. Please plan your trip accordingly.
Off Lock 5 (MM 5)
Off Lock 10 (MM 8.8)
Off Carderock Recreation Area (MM 10.5)
Off Marsden Tract (MM 11.5)
Off Anglers Access (MM 12.2)
Off Great Falls Tavern Restrooms (MM 14.3)
Off Swains Lockhouse (MM 16.64)
Off Swains Campground (MM 16.7)
Off Seneca Creek/Rileys (MM 22)
Off Horsepen Branch Campsite (MM 26)
Off Chisel Branch Campsite (MM 30.5)
Off Turtle Run Campsite (MM 34.4)
Off Marble Quarrry Campsite (MM 38.2)
Off Indian Flats (MM 42.4)
Off Calico Rocks Campsite (MM 47.7)
Off Bald Eagle Island Campsite (MM 50.3)
Off Lock 34 (MM 61.5)
Off Huckleberry Hill Campsite (MM 62.9)
Off Antietam Creek Campground (MM 69.6)
Off Killiansburg Cave Campsite (MM 75.4)
Off Horseshoe Bend Campsite (MM 79.7)
Off Big Woods Campsite (MM 82.4)
Off Opequon Junction Campsite (MM 90.8)
Off Cumberland Valley Campsite (MM 95.2)
Off Cushwa Basin Restrooms (MM 99.7)
Off Jordan Junction Campsite (MM 101.2)
Off Four Locks Picnic Area (MM 108.9)
Off North Mountain Campsite (MM 109.2)
Off McCoys Ferry (MM 110)
Off Licking Creek Campsite (MM 116)
Off Little Pool Campsite (MM 120.7)
Off White Rock Campsite (MM 126.5)
Off Leopards Mill (MM 129.9)
Off Cacapon Junction (MM 133.6)
Off Indigo Neck (MM 139)
Off Fifteen Mile Creek Campground (MM 140.9)
Off Devils Alley (MM 144.5)
Off Stickpile Hill Campsite (MM 149.3)
Off Sorrel Ridge Campsite (MM 154.1)
Off Arbaugh (MM 155)
Off Paw Paw (MM 156)
Off Purslane Run Campsite (MM 157.4)
Off Town Creek (MM 162)
Off Potomac Forks (MM 165)
Off Pigmans Ferry (MM 169)
Off Spring Gap (MM 173)
Off Irons Mountain Campsite (MM 175.4)
Off Evitts Creek Campsite (MM 180)
Off Cumberland Visitor Center (MM 184.5)
Water Levels in Lower Sections of the Canal
Due to construction projects, maintenance activities, and weather, water levels in the lower portions of the canal are likely to vary throughout the year. This can affect a variety of activities throughout these areas.
The park currently actively manages water levels within two main sections of the lower portions of the canal: between Lock 4 (MP 0.54) and Lock 5/Inlet Lock 1 (MP 5.02) and between Lock 17 (MP 13.99) and Lock 23/Inlet Lock 2 (22.12). The water levels are primarily managed through the opening and closing of paddle gates on inlet lock gates, which control water entering the canal from the Potomac River, and waste weirs, which help establish the water level in the canal by draining excess water back into the river.
Open*is when the inlet lock paddle gates are open, allowing water to flow into the canal. When open, it can be assumed the water level can support boating in the canal. Closed*is when the inlet lock paddle gates are closed, blocking off water flow from entering into the canal. When closed, it can be assumed the water level will not support boating in the canal. *Water levels can change unexpectedly.
Last Update: 03/01/2021 (Low water levels at some of the locks, due to ongoing construction)
Current Status Locks 4-5:Closed
Current Status Locks 17-18:Closed
Current Status Locks 19-20:Closed
Current Status Locks 20-21: Closed
Current Status Locks 21-23: Closed, due to high water event
Section A of the Billy Goat Trail often closes due to flooding. Under normal conditions, the trail is closed when the gauge at Little Falls reaches 5 feet and reopens when the gauge falls to 4.8 feet. However, under certain circumstances, the trail may be closed at lower levels. Please call the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center at 301-767-3714 during regular business hours for the latest information on trail closures.