Swains Lockhouse Now Open!


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.


E-Bikes on the Towpath

You may have heard that e-bikes are now legal to ride in National Parks and on other public lands. Whether you’re delighted to be able to take your e-bike on the towpath, or worried about how this will impact your experience in the Park, please read on.


On August 29, 2019 the US Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3376 called for the National Park Service to exempt all e-bikes from the definition of motor vehicles and revise rules to be consistent with the order, which states that E-bikes are “allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed and prohibited where other type of bicycles are prohibited.” The National Park Service adopted this order on August 30 in Policy Memorandum 19-01.


E-bike is defined as a “two or three wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts.”

C&O Canal National Historical Park Rules

The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) has implemented the rule that e-bikes are allowed where traditional bicycles are allowed, and prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Additionally, e-bike users must pedal at all times while in the Park. Using an e-bike motor without pedaling is prohibited in the Park.

It’s important for all cyclists to respect the rules of the towpath, regardless of the type of bike that they are riding:

  • Respect the 15 MPH maximum speed limit on the towpath.
  • Dismount and walk across aqueducts and footbridges.
  • Dismount in congested areas such as Great Falls.
  • Yield right of way to all pedestrians, horses and mules.
  • When approaching others sound a bell or announce yourself loudly within 100 feet. Be respectful of those who may be hard of hearing or need a little more time to move out of your way.

Learn more about hiking and biking on the C&O Canal National Historical Park website.

Sign demonstrates trail etiquette courtesy of the USDA Forest Service

Bike Your Park Day 2019

The last Saturday in September is Bike Your Park Day, an initiative created by the Adventure Cycling Association to promote biking in national parks, state parks, and other public lands. Lowell Markey, longtime volunteer with the C&O Canal National Historical Park, led an interpretive bike ride on September 28 to celebrate this year’s Bike Your Park Day. Visitors got to experience the new towpath surface near Shepherdstown and discover the history of this part of the park.

Beginning at Lock 38 in Shepherdstown, Markey painted this section of the towpath as previously being a happening place with many operational mills, stores, and inns.

Volunteer Markey introducing the ride.


Downstream at the Antietam Creek Aqueduct, the group met up with Antietam Battlefield Ambassador Joe Morgan. America’s 12-hour deadliest battle was one of the first battles to be photographed and the first time many Americans saw the realities of war. Morgan outlined the timeline of the battle in relation to the towpath and spoke about the importance of these photos, which are available on Antietam Battlefield’s website.

Volunteer Morgan speaking to the group on the Antietam Creek Aqueduct.


The group continued on to Dargan’s Bend, passing many other cyclists enjoying the park, before heading back to Shepherdstown to complete this 16 mile trip. Markey is guiding similar biking and walking events on October 12, 19, and 26. Visit https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/calendar.htm to learn more.

Shepherdstown is part of the Canal Towns Partnership. Keep up with canal town events on Facebook and Instagram.

Becky Curtis departs after 8 years with Trust
In September, the C&O Canal Trust said goodbye to long-time Director of Programs and Partnerships Becky Curtis, who has moved with her husband to Santa Barbara, CA. Becky joined the Trust in 2011 and has played an integral role in the organization’s growth over the past eight years.

Jump into Fall with Canal Towns

Join the Canal Towns as they kick off October with a festival and a marathon!


Park After Dark 2019: A Night to Remember


Thank you to everyone who made Park After Dark 2019 such a success – our sponsors, our silent auction donors, our volunteers and, most of all, our guests whose bonhomie and generosity truly made it a night to remember. (more…)

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

Click here for information on Park projects, closures, and alerts.


Stay In Touch

Be the first to know about C&O news, projects, and events!

Sign Up Now