Swains Lockhouse Now Open!


Park After Dark: Saturday, September 14


Stay inside a lockhouse and discover what it was like to live and work along the canal.


Download the C&O Canal Explorer Mobile App and Explore Your Canal!


Welcome to the C&O Canal Trust

The official nonprofit partner of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Funding Priorities

Towpath Forever

Ensuring that the towpath and its resources are here forever.

Canal Classrooms

Exposing thousands of students to outdoor education programs along the Canal.


Canal Quarters

Step back in time as you spend the night in one of six historic lockhouses.


Canal Discoveries

Learn about the C&O Canal with these Virtual Ranger programs.

Canal Pride Days

Canal Pride Days

Volunteer your time to help conserve the C&O Canal.


Canal Towns

Visit these nine unique destinations that border the Canal.


Conococheague Aqueduct Restoration Ribbon Cutting & Headquarters Groundbreaking

Officials take the first boat ride across the newly restored aqueduct. (Image: C&O Canal Trust)

On Thursday, August 8, the first boat traveled across the newly-restored Conococheague Aqueduct in Williamsport, MD.

The C&O Canal National Historical Park hosted Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Chris Van Hollen, among other elected officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Attendees heard from Park Superintendent Kevin Brandt, Williamsport Mayor Bill Green, Hogan, Cardin, Van Hollen, Washington County officials, and the deputy director of the National Park Service, P. Daniel Smith. Afterwards, the VIPs took an inaugural boat ride across the aqueduct, cutting the ribbon with the prow of the boat as it entered the aqueduct. In addition to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Park headquarters and visitor center that will be located adjacent to the Park in Williamsport.

After the ceremony, members of the public also had the opportunity to cross the aqueduct in an 1890s replica launch boat. The Trolley Barn, Lockhouse 44, and the Visitor Center were also open to the public for hands-on activities and discovery.

The restoration began in 2017, but dedicated town and Park staff had been working for many years to secure the $10.2 million needed to make this project possible. The project was funded by the National Park fee program, the Maryland State Transportation Alterative Program, and the Maryland Bikeways Program.

This is the first operational aqueduct on the C&O Canal since 1924. The aqueduct also holds Civil War history. Confederate soldiers damaged the aqueduct in an attempt to stop the Union’s transportation of coal, but it was repaired four days later. During construction, a Civil War artillery shell was found underground near the aqueduct. The shell is believed to be a result of the war damage.

The Williamsport Visitor Center is now offering free one-hour boat tours Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays through September. Williamsport visitors can also see an operational lift lock, a refurbished lockhouse, a railroad lift bridge, a canal turning basin, and warehouse all in one location.


Additional Resources:



Superintendent Kevin Brandt Reflects on Career, Retirement

After 23 years at the C&O Canal National Historical Park — 13 as its Superintendent — Kevin Brandt is retiring on September 14, 2019. The C&O Canal Trust sat down with him as he reflected on his long National Park Service career. (more…)

Park Updates: August 2019

Towpath Resurfacing

Towpath near Shepherdstown by Alma Rebekah Hanna

Sections of the towpath resurfaced so far include Edwards Ferry (Mile 30.8) to White Ferry Mile 35.5) and from Brunswick Family Campground (Mile 54) to Dargan Bend (Mile 64.9). The Park anticipates completing rehabilitation of the towpath all the way to Packhorse Ford near the Shepherdstown Bridge this year. Horseback riders are asked to stay off the newly-resurfaced sections for about three weeks to give the new stone dust surface time to harden.

Locks 3 & 4 Project (Georgetown)

Canal near in Georgetown

The canal has been re-watered from Fletchers Cove to Georgetown! A small section of the canal will remain dry to facilitate replacement of the 31st Street bridge by the District of Columbia. Water is being channeled through the dry area via a pipe.

Locks 5-22

Violette’s Lock

Work is close to complete on the water management structures between Lock 5 (Fletchers Cove) to Lock 22 (Violettes Lock/Inlet Lock 2). The Park has re-watered the canal from Pennyfield to Violettes Lock, and will re-watering from Great Falls to Pennyfield once work is finished on Lock 19 in July, at which time the Charles F. Mercer boat operation will resume.

Paw Paw Tunnel Rock Scaling Project

Outside of the Paw Paw Tunnel

Rock scaling of the cliff above the towpath on the upriver end of the tunnel will begin as soon as the final engineering design is complete. Hikers and bikers will be able to continue to use the tunnel once the work begins, with flaggers controlling tunnel traffic when necessary.

Conococheague Aqueduct

Conococheague Aqueduc

Construction on the rehabilitated aqueduct is complete! The Park has removed the Cushwa Basin to allow water to flow into the aqueduct to test if there are any leaks. Pedestrians and cyclists will be permitted to walk across the aqueduct following the ribbon-cutting on August 8.

With this change, many have wondered how it effects access to the towpath and if parking has changed. See below for information on these topics.

Alternate Parking for Towpath Access near Williamsport

1. Williamsport Visitor Center (mm 99.7) parking is still available, Visitors may cross the Railroad Lift Bridge (adjacent to Rt. 11).

2. River Bottom Park (mm 99.6), across the Bollman Bridge, is a good parking area for wheelchair, stroller, and bike trailer access to the towpath.
– Exit the parking lot and head straight up the hill (Rt.11)
Turn right onto N Vermont St
At the first intersection, turn right onto Salisbury St.

3. Lockhouse 44 (mm 99.3), this is also an ADA and stroller accessible parking area.
– Exit the parking lot and head straight up the hill (Rt.11)
Turn right onto N Vermont St
Continue straight onto Canal St
Turn left onto Main St

Conococheague Aqueduct Ribbon Cutting on August 8
August 8 will be a big day for the Park with the ribbon-cutting for the newly-restored Conococheague Aqueduct and the ground-breaking for the new Park headquarters in Williamsport, Maryland. Please join us to celebrate these two landmark occasions!


Thank You to Our Canal Towns!
A big thank you to all of our Canal Towns partners who stepped up to fund a daily shuttle around the towpath breach at Culvert 82 (Mile 52.5). Following the flash flood in May 2018 took out that section of the towpath there was no safe way for hikers and bikers to go around the breach.

CFC# 98180.
EIN: 30-0401642.

C&O Canal Explorer
Mobile App

Trust Logo EPS Explorer OUT rounded smallDownload our new mobile app to your Android or Apple phone and explore the C&O Canal in a whole new way. Get the app!

Stay The Night at a Lockhouse

historic-lockhouse-lodgingCanal Quarters lockhouses offer a historic, recreational, and educational experience like no other. Book your stay today!

Enter our Monthly Photo Contest

The C&O Canal Trust sponsors a monthly photo contest highlighting the best photos you have taken of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Find out how to enter here!

Park News

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