Current Park Conditions


Plan Like a Park Ranger

COVID-19 Update:

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:

  • Face Masks - In areas CDC identifies as high COVID-19 community level, masks are required for everyone in all NPS buildings, regardless of vaccination status. In most low and medium COVID-19 community level areas, masks are optional, but visitors should follow signs and instructions from park staff and volunteers. U.S. COVID-19 Community Levels by County.

    • Washington, DC - Optional. Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
    • Montgomery County, MD - Optional. Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
    • Frederick County, MD - Optional. Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
    • Washington County, MD - Optional. Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
    • Allegany County, MD - Optional. Visitors and employees are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.
  • Fee Collection at Great Falls - Credit, debit, or contactless payment (such as Apple Pay or Google Pay) ONLY. No cash or checks accepted. Digital passes are available via

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.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

All park lands remain open. Updates will be posted on this page and to the park's social media channels. For more information please visit the National Park Service Public Health Update page.

Updated 3/29/22


Towpath and Park Conditions

Milepost 1–25

Including Georgetown, Washington, DC; Bethesda, MD; Potomac, MD; Seneca, MD


Milepost 25–50

Including Poolesville, MD; Whites Ferry, MD; Dickerson, MD; Point of Rocks, MD
  • Edwards Ferry (MP 30.8)

    • Open, Boat ramp
  • 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

Milepost 50–75

Including Brunswick, MD; Harpers Ferry, WV; Shepherdstown, WV
  • Culvert 82 (MP 52.5)

    • Detour. Cyclist are encouraged to dismount bicycles and take caution crossing it as the low water crossing bridge repair is an interim fix. Crossing may be under water when the river is high.
  • The following vendors have indicated their availability for shuttle services around this area:
    • River & Trail Outfitters: 301-834-9950 or email at (contact directly for pricing and to make your arrangements)
  • Lock 34 (MP 61.5)

    • Reports of raccoons acting strangely around visitors on the towpath. Erratic behavior may be a sign of rabies. Visitors are advised to not approach or touch wildlife. If wildlife appears agitated, drools excessively (appearing to foam at the mouth), bites at imaginary and real objects, or shows no fear of humans/is unusually lethargic and allows human contact, call the park's 24-hour emergency Dispatch Center at 866-677-6677.
  • Towpath Below Dargan Bend Boat Ramp (MP 64.4)

    • 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.
  • Dargan Bend (MP 64.9)

  • Open, Boat ramp
  • Antietam Creek Area (MP 69.6)

  • Open, Campground, be cautious of rising water levels

Milepost 75–100

Including Downsville, MD; Williamsport, MD
  • Snyders Landing (MP 76.6)

    • Open, Boat ramp
  • Taylors Landing (MP 80.9)

    • Open, Boat ramp
  • Dam #4/Big Slackwater Area (MP 84.4)

    • Open. Pedestrian bridge at Dam 4 Winch House (mile marker 84.6)
  • McMahons Mill Area (MP 88.1)

  • Williamsport Area (MP 99.8)

  • Open, Parking lot.
  • Open, Restrooms.
  • Changed, towpath access. Access the towpath from Cushwa Basin requires navigating a steep set of stairs. Learn more about Alternate Parking and Towpath Access Points.
  • Open. Williamsport Visitor Center.
  • Closed. Launch boat rides. Closed for the season.

Milepost 100–150

Including Big Pool, MD; Hancock, MD; Little Orleans, MD
  • Four Locks (MP 109.0)

    • Open, Boat ramp
    • Open, Four Locks Road Tunnel
  • McCoys Ferry (MP 110.4)

    • Open, Campground and parking lot
    • Open, Boat ramp
    • Open, McCoys Ferry Road Tunnel
  • Little Tonoloway (MP 124.5)

    • Open, Boat ramp
  • Fifteenmile Creek (MP 140.9)

    • Open, Campground
    • Open, Parking Lot
    • Open, Boat ramp

Milepost 150–184.5

Including Paw Paw, WV; Oldtown, MD; Cumberland, MD
  • Paw Paw Area (MP 156.1)

    • The Paw Paw Tunnel is currently open. However, the towpath just downstream is closed. A shuttle service is in place along the Tunnel Hill Trail. Learn more
    • Open, Campground
    • Partially closed, Parking lot. A portion of the parking lot is closed off for Paw Paw Tunnel construction staging.
  • Spring Gap (MP 173.3)

    • Open, Campground and parking lot
    • Open, Boat ramp
  • Cumberland Area (MP 184.5)


Drinking Water Conditions

Faucet handles are turned OFF for the season.

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. Potable water may not be available at each hiker/biker campsite. Please plan to bring water purification tablets with you.

Well water within the park is 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, you are advised to boil or treat the water before use for your own protection.

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 3 (MM 0.49)
Off Fletcher's Cove - Lower Parking (MM 3.21)

Off Fletcher's Cove - Upper Parking (MM 3.21)
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)
On 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 156.9)
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

For more information about boating, visit our boating page.

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).

Below, the term “watered”* refers to the canal when it is holding water. The term, “de-watered”* refers to the canal when it is not holding water. When de-watered, it can be assumed the water level will not support boating in the canal. *Water levels can change unexpectedly.

Last Update: 3/20/2023

Current Status Between Locks 3-4: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 4-5: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 5-6: De-watered
Current Status at Widewater: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 17-19: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 19-20: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 20-21: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 21-22: De-watered
Current Status Between Locks 22-23: De-watered
Current Status Between Lock 44 - Conococheague Aqueduct: De-watered

A view of high water on the Potomac River at Olmsted Island Overlook.
Raging Potomac River well above flood stage at Great Falls Overlook, summer 2018

NPS Photo

River Conditions

The Park monitors Potomac River levels to determine when portions of the towpath, hiking trails or parking areas might be affected by rising river levels. By visiting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, you can see a timeline of expected river rises and crests to help plan your visit to the park.

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.

Park Ranger2

Last updated: March 22, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport, MD 21795



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