Winter Activities

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Snowshoeing on the towpath
During the winter months, visitors may enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing, and hiking at the C&O Canal.

NPS Photo

Ice skating

Ice skating on the canal is at your own risk. Park staff do not monitor ice conditions. In most watered areas of the park, the canal ranges in depth from 6 feet to 15 feet and the canal maintains a constant flow of water beneath the ice. Ice skating on the widewater (river) portions of the canal is prohibited. Please use extreme caution.

Sledding

Sledding is permitted and at your own risk. Sledding in the widewater (river) portions of the canal is prohibited.

Ice Fishing

Review ice fishing regulations before heading out:

  • A person may fish through the ice in any non-tidal waters of the State during the lawful open season if an angler's license first is obtained. MD Code §4-604(b)
  • A person may not cut a hole through the ice measuring more than 10 inches in any direction for the purpose of ice fishing. MD Code § 4-602 08.02.11.04C(2)
  • All tip ups and rods used by a person engaged in ice fishing shall be under the immediate control of the person. MD Code § 4-602 08.02.11.04C(4)
  • No more than 2 hooks or 2 hook units per line. MD Code § 4- 617(a)
  • When ice fishing, no more than 5 tip ups or rods may be used. MD Code §4-602 08.02.11.04C(3)
  • It is illegal to operate portable engines or Power Augers. 36 CFR §2.12(a)(3)
  • It is illegal to build fires along the shoreline or on the ice. 36 CFR §2.13(a)(1)
 
Photo of cross-country skiers on towpath at lock 19.
The towpath can be an excellent place to cross-country ski and enjoy winter at the canal.

NPS Photo

Cross-country skiing

Although it is not groomed for cross-country skiing, the towpath offers a beautiful winter landscape for hikers and cross-country skiers. Snow is more likely to accumulate on the western portions of the towpath where elevations are slightly higher and temperatures are slightly lower.
 

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740

Phone:

301-739-4200

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