C&O Canal Hike 11

White's Ferry to Point of Rocks

As you travel upriver on the towpath, take note of the enormous sycamore trees. These are the ones with the peeling bark that look white in the winter. Woods Lock, just past milepost 39, sits in a beautiful remote setting. Being a locktender was an around-the-clock job. The canal company generally wanted men with families to tend the locks because they were on duty 24 hours a day. Once the railroad joins on the berm side, it is a frequent neighbor all the way to Cumberland. The segment ends at Point of Rocks, tucked under the towering cliffs of the Catoctin Mountains.

 

Trip Planner

Start: White's Ferry
End: Point of Rocks
Miles: 12.4
Points of Interest: White's Ferry, Dickerson, Monocacy Aqueduct, Point of Rocks
Parking: White's Ferry (0.0 mi.), Dickerson (3.9 mi.), Monocacy Aqueduct (6.4 mi.), Nolands Ferry (8.8 mi.), Point of Rocks (12.4 mi.)
Water: Marble Quarry campsite, Indian Flats campsite, Calico Rocks campsite, Point of Rocks (water at campsites normally turned off Nov-Apr.)
Restroom or Privy: White's Ferry, Marble Quarry campsite, Indian Flats campsite, Noland Ferry, Calico Rocks campsite
Provisions: White's Ferry (limited groceries and snackbar in season), Point of Rocks (limited groceries and deli)
Camping: Marble Quarry campsite, Indian Flats campsite, Calico Rocks campsite

 

Hike Data

Mile Navigation
0 White's Ferry - last operating ferry on the Potomac. Snackbar operates here April-October. Sodas available outside. Pedestrians 50 cents, bicycles $1.00.
2.4 Marble Quarry campsite.
3.6 Woods Lock.
3.9 Dickerson. The canal has been re-watered here and is a popular fish spot.
6.4 Monocacy Aqueduct - at 516 feet it is the longest aqueduct on the canal.
6.6 Indian Flats campsite.
8.8 Nolands Ferry. It is said that Martha Washington crossed here to visit George at Valley Forge.
11.8 Calico Rocks campsite.
12.4 Point of Rocks - small store and cafe located on the main street about 0.2 miles from canal. To reach, cross bridge at canal milepost 48.2, turn left, and follow around to right. The town is served by MARC commuter trains weekdays.
 

Explore the PHT

Monocacy Aqueduct
Aqueducts were structures that served as water bridges to carry the canal across rivers and creeks. There were 12 aqueducts on the C&O, 11 of built of stone and one of wood. Completed in 1833, the Monocacy Aqueduct is considered by many to be the most magnificent structure on the canal. It has been held up with a brace since being damaged in 1972 by Hurricane Agnes and restoration efforts are underway. Fishing and paddling are popular here.

Point of Rocks, MD
This area was the scene of a legal battle between the B&O Railroad and the canal company that delayed canal construction for years. Because of the protruding cliff here there was not thought to be room for both the canal and the B&O Railroad. In places, the railroad was built precariously on the edge of the canal. After losing the court battle, the B&O built a tunnel here in 1868. Point of Rocks features a railroad station built in 1871 that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, built in 1842, is also on the National Register. This is the first of three towns along the canal (along with Brunswick and Harpers Ferry) that are served by MARC commuter trains during the week. This creates many possibilities for segment hikes — you can hike out of town on the weekend and head back in for work on Monday morning.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage NST Office
P. O. Box B

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-4014

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