Three people with backpacks hike the towpath.
184.5 miles of towpath creates one of the longest biking trails in the continental US.

Jim Kerby


Several park areas have interpretive trails and other hiking opportunities. Aside from the towpath, there are many great hiking trails in the Park: the Tunnel Hill Trail near the Paw Paw Tunnel, the Ferry Hill Trail near Sharpsburg, as well as 14 miles of trail near Great Falls (including the Billy Goat Trail).

View hiking maps and walking guides.

Hiking Tips:

· Bring water and food
· Wear sturdy footwear
· Be prepared for changing weather conditions
· Know your location
· Share the towpath with other users
· Pack out all trash. Trash bags are provided at dispensers located throughout the park.

Connecting Trails

The C&O Canal NHP also connects to the Potomac Heritage Trail, the Appalachain National Scenic Trail, and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.


Multiple-Day Trips


Hiker-Biker and Drive-in campsites are located from Swains Lock to Cumberland.

Drinking Water

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.

Overnight Parking

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.

Hiker at Great Falls
Hiker near Great Falls.

John Gensor


Last updated: February 12, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport , MD 21795



Contact Us

Stay Connected