Fort Frederick State Park to Hancock
This section of the canal is dominated by two large lakes, Big Pool and Little Pool. The first was formed by taking advantage of a natural ridge to create a lake. Instead of having to dig a trench, all engineers had to do was cut through the ridge and let the river flood the low area behind it. Little Pool was formed by routing the towpath onto an island. Both these areas are excellent locations for birding and other wildlife.
Beyond Big Pool the canal is lined with cornfields. Watch for deer in the evenings here. Just past Big Pool Ernstville Road is crossed in the community of Ernstville. A sign here directs hikers to the Western Maryland Rail Trail 100 yards to the north. That trail will parallel the C&O Canal all the way to Hancock with a direct connection at the east end of Little Pool. Further on, Licking Creek Aqueduct is crossed providing the backdrop for a campsite by the same name. Just beyond, the 255 mile long Tuscarora Trail joins from the north. The two routes coincide to Hancock. Just before town the woods end and houses are passed on the berm. The trail crosses another aqueduct at Tonoloway Creek This segment ends at a footbridge just off the main street of Hancock, MD.
Start: Fort Frederick State Park
Explore the PHT
Western Maryland Rail Trail
Last updated: April 10, 2015