Hiking and Biking

Photo of bikers on the Berma Road adjacent to the C&O Canal.
184.5 miles of towpath creates one of the largest biking trails in the continental US.

NPS Photo

Hiking and biking along the towpath are excellent ways to see the park. Hiker-Biker Campsites are located from Swains Lock to Cumberland. Several park areas have interpretive trails and other hiking opportunities.

If you plan on leaving a vehicle overnight at a Canal Parking Area, you must register your car through the online parking registration system. If you are unable to print the permit, you must visit a visitor center for a pass to put on your dashboard.

View hiking maps and walking guides.

Bike rental information.

Bicycle riding is permitted only on the towpath. The surface of the towpath is for the most part an even hard-packed dirt trail. The towpath can be very muddy following heavy rain. Bicyclists should carry tools for repairs. All hikers and bikers must yield the right of way to horses and mules.

Please follow these basic biking regulations:

  • 15 MPH maximum speed limit on towpath
  • Ride single file
  • Stay to the right except when passing
  • Yield right of way to all pedestrians, horses and mules
  • Walk bikes over aqueducts
  • Sound devices (bell, horn, etc.) are recommended and should be sounded within 100' of approaching others

Helmets required in accordance with county ordinances. Children under the age of 16 required to wear helmets. Please note: Potable water may not be available at each hiker/biker campsite. Please plan to bring water purification tablets with you.

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.

Travel the Canal

Last updated: May 20, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740


(301) 739-4200

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