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 for unvaccinated individuals 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 -openfor the season. See "Drinking Water Conditions" below for detailed water availability.
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 may cancel permits and reservations and may 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.
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.
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.
On Fletcher's Cove (MM 3.21)
On Lock 5 (MM 5) On Lock 10 (MM 8.8) On Carderock Recreation Area (MM 10.5)
Off Marsden Tract (MM 11.5) On 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) On Seneca Creek/Rileys (MM 22) On Horsepen Branch Campsite (MM 26)
On Chisel Branch Campsite (MM 30.5)
On Turtle Run Campsite (MM 34.4)
On Marble Quarrry Campsite (MM 38.2)
On Indian Flats (MM 42.4)
On Calico Rocks Campsite (MM 47.7)
On Bald Eagle Island Campsite (MM 50.3)
On Lock 34 (MM 61.5)
On Huckleberry Hill Campsite (MM 62.9)
On Antietam Creek Campground (MM 69.6)
On Killiansburg Cave Campsite (MM 75.4)
On Horseshoe Bend Campsite (MM 79.7)
On Big Woods Campsite (MM 82.4)
On Opequon Junction Campsite (MM 90.8)
On Cumberland Valley Campsite (MM 95.2)
On Cushwa Basin Restrooms (MM 99.7)
On Jordan Junction Campsite (MM 101.2)
On Four Locks Picnic Area (MM 108.9)
On North Mountain Campsite (MM 109.2)
On McCoys Ferry (MM 110)
On Licking Creek Campsite (MM 116)
Off Little Pool Campsite (MM 120.7) On White Rock Campsite (MM 126.5)
On Leopards Mill (MM 129.9)
On Cacapon Junction (MM 133.6)
On Indigo Neck (MM 139)
On Fifteen Mile Creek Campground (MM 140.9)
On Devils Alley (MM 144.5)
On Stickpile Hill Campsite (MM 149.3)
Off Sorrel Ridge Campsite (MM 154.1) On Arbaugh (MM 155)
On Paw Paw (MM 156)
On Purslane Run Campsite (MM 157.4)
On Town Creek (MM 162)
On Potomac Forks (MM 165)
On Pigmans Ferry (MM 169) On Spring Gap (MM 173) On Irons Mountain Campsite (MM 175.4)
On Evitts Creek Campsite (MM 180) On 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: 06/11/2021
Current Status Locks 4-5: Open
Current Status Locks 17-18:Open
Current Status Locks 19-20:Open
Current Status Locks 20-21: Open
Current Status Locks 21-23:Open
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.