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C&O Canal Receives Funding from Great American Outdoors Act

By News
A project at Dam 5 along the C&O Canal  is one of 165 projects that will benefit from the recently-passed Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The GAOA is providing up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. This money will fund deferred maintenance projects in National Parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation  areas, and American Indian schools.   Read More

C&O Canal Sweet and Savory Trail

By Content

After your hike or bike ride along the C&O Canal, venture into the Canal Towns that line the towpath to enjoy a savory meal and sweet treat with our C&O Canal Sweet and Savory Trail! Thirsty? We also have a C&O Canal Libations Trail. These trails were developed in partnership with the Canal Towns Partnership.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD

White’s Ferry Store and Grill

24801 Whites Ferry Rd., Dickerson, MD 20842
0.1 mile walk/ride from the C&O Canal

Savory: White’s Ferry Burger: Burger with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and a fried egg, with the addition of onion rings.
Release Date: Available now

FREDERICK COUNTY, MD

Beans in the Belfry

122 W. Potomac St., Brunswick, MD 21716
0.3 mile walk/ride from the C&O Canal

Savory: C&O Canal Sandwich: Juicy gyro slices of lamb and beef, fresh feta cheese and the sun-drenched goodness of chopped olives, fire-roasted red peppers, onions, spinach and artichoke hearts served on fragrant flat bread.
Release Date: June 15

Potomac Street Grill

31 E. Potomac St., Brunswick, MD 21716
0.2 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: Eel Town Dundee: A twist on a classic chicken salad sandwich on rye bread with a special sauce and your choice of side.
Release Date: Available now

Rocky Point Creamery

4323 Tuscarora Rd, Tuscarora, MD 21790
1.5 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Mule Food Ice Cream: Sweet cream ice cream with oatmeal cookies and chocolate flakes mixed in, this is an ode to the towpath and the mules that worked along it.
Release Date: Available now

Stroker’s BBQ

Food truck – see their schedule

Savory: Canal Barge: Pulled pork/pulled chicken, your choice of sauce, lettuce & thick cut bacon, served with sampling of all three side dishes
Release Date: Available now

Hive Bake Shop

318 Petersville Rd, Brunswick, MD 21716
0.4 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: C&O Canal Chocolate Mega Macaron: 4-inch giant macaron filled with decadent chocolate buttercream
Release Date: April 21- July 21 in store only. Limited quantities available daily until sold out. Not eligible for custom or pre order.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, WV

Almost Heaven Pub and Grill

177 Potomac St., Harpers Ferry, WV, 25425
0.3 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: C&O Burger: 1/2 pound hand-patted burger, bacon, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and a crispy onion ring, served on a brioche bun, with a side of hand cut french fries for $14.95.
Release Date: Available now

Battle Grounds Bakery & Coffee

180 High Street, Harpers Ferry, WV, 25425
0.2 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: John Brown: Roast beef, mushrooms, onions, provolone, and BBQ sauce.
Release Date: Available now

Sweet: Salty Dog Tavern: Salted caramel
Release Date: Available now

Sweetshop Bakery

100 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV 25443
0.7 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Sweet Shop Canal Boat: Éclair with Strawberry Mouse and fresh strawberries. It can have a topping of either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, customer’s choice.
Release Date: July 1

The Rabbit Hole Gastro Pub

186 High St., Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
0.4 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: The Canal Chicken Sandwich: Grilled chicken topped with Swiss cheese, avocado and fire-roasted sweet peppers. Served on brioche with lettuce, tomato, and red onion, with a pickle spear and a side of fries.
Release Date: Available now

WASHINGTON COUNTY, MD

Burkholder’s Baked Goods

106 W. High St., Sharpsburg, MD 21782
3.6 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Apple fritter doughnut
Release Date: Available now

Desert Rose Cafe

2 E. Potomac St., Williamsport, MD 21795
0.4 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Muddy Mile Marker 100: Chocolate or Vanilla milkshake with M&M’s and Chocolate Cake
Release Date: Available now

Savory: Boatman’s Bean Soup, based on a recipe from lock tenders. Includes beans, potatoes, onion, tomato, and ham.
Release Date: Available now

Tony’s Pizzeria Restaurant & Grill

10 E. Salisbury St., Williamsport, MD 21795
0.3 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: Cushwa Reuben: Classic reuben sandwich with pastrami, sour kraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese.
Release Date: Available now

Potomac River Grill

4 Blue Hill, Hancock, MD 21750
0.6 mile walk/bike from the canal

Savory: Mile 125 Angus Burger: An 8 oz. patty, BBQ glaze, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and an onion ring.
Release Date: Available now

Buddy Lou’s Eats & Antiques

11 E Main St, Hancock, MD 21750
0.1 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Dirty Canal Boat: Banana Split with choice of alcohol
Release Date: TBD

Fractured Banana

101 W Main St, Hancock, MD 21750
0.2 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Canal Barge: “Boat Shape Dish” to represent the canal barge and choice of Peach Ice Cream with diced peaches and scoop of vanilla or Deep Dish Apple Ice Cream with spiced apple topping over it and a scoop of vanilla, sprinkled with cinnamon. The apples and peaches representing our orchard history, and ice cream piled like a mountain with the split between two to represent the Sideling Hill Cut in the mountain.
Release Date: Available now

ALLEGANY COUNTY, MD

Queen City Creamery

108 W. Harrison St, Cumberland, MD 21502
0.2 mile walk/bike from the canal

Sweet: Queen City Cookie Custard: A creamy vanilla custard blended with chunks of Oreo cookies…an oldie but a goodie
Release Date: Available now

This trail was developed in partnership with the Canal Towns Partnership.

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Canal Story #16: Vinod Thomas

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Vinod Thomas, Frequent Visitor and Photographer of the Canal

C&O Canal Trust: What is your history/relationship with the canal?
Vinod: Both Leila and I have lived in the DC-MD area since the mid-70s, and our introduction to the C&O Canal started at Georgetown, which we both frequented when we resided, studied, and worked nearby. We learned about the canal as tourists, and the longer we stayed here, the more family and friends we took there to enjoy it with us. Nowadays, we consider the easy access to the canal one of the blessings of living in Bethesda, from where we have ventured on the towpath that offers many delightful sights and sounds of nature, including fantastic views of the Potomac River. 

Vinod’s keener pursuit of photography after his retirement from the World Bank has made it possible for him to visit certain spots more frequently, whether it is to watch the Blue Heron at Fletchers Cove, wait for Painted Bunting appearances at Great Falls, or catch some interesting sights at the Monocacy River bridge and viaduct. About five years ago, we lost our youngest child, who had significant experiences biking and jogging along the towpath nearest us, and we began to deeply appreciate the canal for that reason; we always find peace and solitude there. We have come to know of friends, old and new, who also consider it the national treasure that it is. They visit or volunteer to keep it appreciated, safe, and beautiful, and we are grateful for their devotion.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite thing to do on the canal?
Vinod: It is always a delight for both of us to walk along the towpath and take in all the marvels natural beauty has to offer on any given day, be it a flock of ducks foraging for food in the water, a cardinal calling from a tree or a bush, or butterflies flitting among wildflowers.  C&O Canal symbolizes harmony with nature and conservation of flora and fauna, which the world so desperately needs today. When a picture of the Blue Heron that Vinod took at Fletcher Cove was featured on C&O Canal membership pass a couple of years ago, we were happy for the chance to show everyone in that way one of the many regulars to be found along the canal.  

C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite spot on the canal? Why is it your favorite?
Vinod: Our special place on the canal is a bench that was installed in memory of our son. We like to pause there as we walk on the towpath, reflect on the wonders of nature we feel he has led us to, and then stand awhile by the closest riverbank to reflect some more and pray. The area seems to be the habitat of several bird species and butterflies. 

C&O Canal Trust: Can you share your favorite canal memory?
Vinod: One of many favorites is a chat we had with a couple who happened to be renting the cabin at Lock 6. They said they were teachers and had come from Chicago with a few of their students. We thought it was simply wonderful of them to share the experience with young people who need to learn and appreciate the history of the C&O Canal while discovering the treats that nature brings to all the senses.  We spent time talking with them and taking photographs to remember this special meeting.

C&O Canal Trust: What does the C&O Canal mean to you?
Vinod: The C&O Canal is a beautiful way of experiencing history and nature near where we live. The Canal has a rich history and heritage, it brings people and nature together and represents the best of conserving nature and preserving history. It is a reminder of the American can-do spirit, as well as the importance of preserving the past while protecting nature for the benefit of future generations.

Interview with Marea Petrelles, Volunteer Canal Steward

By Blog, Content
  1.  How long have you been a Canal Steward in the Park?

Marea: I have been a Canal Steward for two years, since December 11, 2018.

  1. Why do you volunteer as a canal steward?

Marea: I volunteer because I love being outdoors.  It feels right to me to look after and care for our natural resources.  It gives me pleasure to be of some help in taking care of an area so others can enjoy the area!  Now more than ever I think this is important!

  1. What is your favorite thing about being a Canal Steward?

Marea: One of my favorite things about being a Canal Steward is seeing people enjoy using the park.  Whether it’s a smile from a walker, hiker, jogger or someone taking their boat (kayak, canoe) on the river, it brings simple quiet joy to see my fellow human beings get close to nature!

  1. Finally, what is your favorite spot in the Park?

Marea: One of my favorite spots in the Park is Mather Gorge at Bear Island.  Many fond memories as a child with my siblings and family hiking on our day trips.  The Billy Goat Trail is another favorite and challenging trail as well as the portion of towpath along Mile 19 and 20 near Pennyfield Lock.

  1. Why do you think people should become Canal Stewards?

Marea: Becoming a Canal Steward can bring you a sense of simple purpose.  Serving your local community in this way can have a positive impact on you and the people who visit the Park.  The rewards of maintaining the area in the Park are countless.  Your involvement helps the existing wildlife remain in their habitat by keeping it natural and encourages us human visitors of nature to enjoy the environment and respecting its natural state.

Canal Story #15: Tina Cappetta

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Tina Cappetta, Current Superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park

C&O Canal Trust: You’ve just passed your one year anniversary as Superintendent of the C&O Canal, and it has been an extraordinary year. What have you learned about the C&O Canal community during that time?
Tina: ​The Canal community is broad and committed with varying interests – and very passionate. Whether I am talking to historians, anglers, birders, cyclists, neighbors, educators, partners, you name it – the common theme is how much people care about the long-term protection of the park and the role it plays in our larger communities.

C&O Canal Trust: You served as the C&O Canal’s Chief of Resources from 2002-2004. What are the major changes you have noticed since you were last on staff here?
Tina: ​I see a partnership program that has grown and flourished in those nearly 20 years, and while I still see excellence in the park staff, I see a significant decline in the number of that staff.

C&O Canal Trust: What are your goals for the Canal in the next few years?
Tina: ​I am focused on trying to make sure we grow our staffing capacity and that employees have what they need to do their jobs safely. There are some important “back to basics” things we want to accomplish in caring for our visitors and resources, in addition to capitalizing on some of the big funding opportunities that may present themselves through the Great American Outdoors Act and other funding streams.

C&O Canal Trust: On a personal level, what is your favorite thing to do on the canal? Do you have a favorite spot?
Tina: ​This is not a political answer, but I don’t know the canal well enough yet to say I have a favorite spot. Every time I am in the park I see something new, which is in part why I like it so much – the variety of resources and things to see, do, and learn.

C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?
Tina: ​That’s an interesting question. It is obviously an engineering marvel and a monument to vision and perseverance. As a relatively new neighbor to the canal, I have discovered it is my oasis when I am stressed (ironically often about work), and it brings joy to my doorstep with a diversity in birds that we had not known before. I carried babies in front and back packs when I was here before, and now I walk with them as young adults, enjoying the time together that the towpath offers.
Round Top Cement Mill by Paul Graunke

Hidden Gems Along the C&O Canal

By Blog

Round Top Cement Mill. Photo by Paul Graunke.

With more historic structures than any other unit in the National Park Service, the C&O Canal National Historical Park documents and preserves over 200 years of America’s history. The major sites, like Great Falls Tavern and the Paw Paw Tunnel, get most of the attention from visitors. However, many structures in the Park have a hidden history that is not apparent at first glance. Go hunting for these gems!

You can also copy this itinerary into our C&O Canal Itinerary Builder here.

Read More

Canal Story #14: Michael Marmer

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Michael Marmer, Lifetime C&O Canal Visitor

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us about your history with the C&O Canal.
Mike: I was born in 1955 and grew up in Wheaton, Maryland. I didn’t know of the C&O Canal until I joined a Boy Scout Troop in June of 1967. The scout master, Mr. Augustine, decided that summer that the troop would hike the C&O Canal on weekends.

On a snowy day, January 10, 1970, we finally completed section hiking the entire canal. It took us two years, four months, and two weeks. One time, we got lost on the canal near Paw Paw Tunnel and didn’t get home until 4 a.m.! But overall, it was a great experience, and it’s something that stayed with me after I left scouting, the memories of the outdoors.

C&O Canal Trust: What memories do you have of the canal?
Mike: One memory I have of the canal is from doing the hikes with the Boy Scouts in Big Pool, the big body of water along the towpath in Western Maryland. During my senior year of high school in 1973, I would take my mother’s 1970 Ford Maverick to go to Big Pool to go fishing. I would get up at 5 a.m. and get on the road by 5:30. It was about a two hour drive, so I was probably there by 7:30 A.M. 

As I looked for a fishing spot along the towpath, I saw a mile marker along the towpath. When we were hiking with the scouts, we called out “Mile Marker” every time we saw this welcoming sight. There it was, surrounded by eroding soil and tree roots, with the familiar color of green paint on it. Yes, today, they have brown paint on them, but there was a time when they were painted green! The lines on the marker remind me of smiles, simply happy to see you, says the mile marker. And then you go on to the next mile marker. And to this day, when my wife Linda and I are either biking or hiking on the C&O Canal, I still call out “Mile Marker!” as this thing appears in the distance. 

C&O Canal Trust: How do you use the towpath today?
Mike: My wife Linda and I do a lot biking on the C&O Canal. In fact, my second date with Linda, in April of 1981, was biking on the C&O Canal at Point of Rocks. It was a very muddy day.

We have included the C&O Canal Trust in our will, along with the C&O Canal Association.

Canal Story #13: Ashley Duncan

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Ashley Duncan, C&O Canal Trust VISTA

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the C&O Canal?
Ashley: I currently work for the C&O Canal Trust as their VISTA intern. I have learned so much dealing with the non-profit and has opened my eyes up to different opportunities.
C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite part about being a C&O Canal VISTA?
Ashley: My favorite part about being a VISTA is that there are so many opportunities and training available for you. Depending on the direction you are going in your career, you are allowed to choose certain training to help develop your skills.
C&O Canal Trust: What drew you to the C&O Canal’s VISTA program?
Ashley: I was drawn to the C&O Canal Trust because it was a non-profit. I have always been immersed in the field or part of the private sector. I thought it would be a great way to enter through this avenue since it is a pathway program that offers guidance and support.
C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite memory of the Park?
Ashley: My favorite memory is partaking in our Canal Community Day events since keeping the environment clean is one of my driving forces.
C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite place or section of the Park?
Ashley: Great Falls is one of my favorite places in the park. The scenery is breathtaking and the trails definitely build character.

TowpathGO 2022 Registration

By Uncategorized

 

Questions?

Please contact Ellen Kinzer, Development Associate, at 240-202-2625, x 106 or kinzer@canaltrust.org.

 

Canal Community Days Registration– May 8, 2021 at Nolands Ferry

By Canal Pride

Important Information

Sign up below and important event information will be emailed to you prior to the event. Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) and Media Release forms are required for every individual participating in Canal Community Days. Please note that these forms have been updated for 2021. Download them here (https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/community-days-registration-forms/) and bring the signed form with you the day of the event. Digital signatures cannot be accepted.  

In addition to the regular expectations for safety and well-being for all volunteers, we have included a list of COVID-related precautions and expectations for all staff and volunteers:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is highly encouraged for all staff and volunteers while volunteering in the Park.
  • Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet is required for participants not living in the same household.
  • Masks are required on federal lands when social distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • Anyone not feeling well should not enter the Park or participate in any Park-related programs.
  • Participants are recommended to supply their own gloves (we will have gloves available), close-toed shoes, water bottles and water*, snacks/food (as needed). Tools such as garbage bags, rakes, shovels, etc. will be provided by the C&O Canal Trust.

* Please note: Due to the increased risk of spreading infection, we will not be providing any water or other drinks during Canal Community Days 2021. Please be sure to bring enough liquids for everyone in your group, at least one quart per person. 

Questions: volunteer@canaltrust.org

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This location is full. Please sign up for one of our other locations.

Canal Community Days Registration– May 8, 2021 at Williamsport

By Canal Pride

Important Information

Sign up below and important event information will be emailed to you prior to the event. Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) and Media Release forms are required for every individual participating in Canal Community Days. Please note that these forms have been updated for 2021. Download them here (https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/community-days-registration-forms/) and bring the signed form with you the day of the event. Digital signatures cannot be accepted.  

In addition to the regular expectations for safety and well-being for all volunteers, we have included a list of COVID-related precautions and expectations for all staff and volunteers:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is highly encouraged for all staff and volunteers while volunteering in the Park.
  • Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet is required for participants not living in the same household.
  • Masks are required on federal lands when social distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • Anyone not feeling well should not enter the Park or participate in any Park-related programs.
  • Participants are recommended to supply their own gloves (we will have gloves available), close-toed shoes, water bottles and water*, snacks/food (as needed). Tools such as garbage bags, rakes, shovels, etc. will be provided by the C&O Canal Trust.

* Please note: Due to the increased risk of spreading infection, we will not be providing any water or other drinks during Canal Community Days 2021. Please be sure to bring enough liquids for everyone in your group, at least one quart per person. 

Questions: volunteer@canaltrust.org

—-

This location is full. Please sign up for one of our other locations.

Canal Community Days Registration– May 8, 2021 at Weverton

By Canal Pride

Important Information

Sign up below and important event information will be emailed to you prior to the event. Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) and Media Release forms are required for every individual participating in Canal Community Days. Please note that these forms have been updated for 2021. Download them here (https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/community-days-registration-forms/) and bring the signed form with you the day of the event. Digital signatures cannot be accepted.  

In addition to the regular expectations for safety and well-being for all volunteers, we have included a list of COVID-related precautions and expectations for all staff and volunteers:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is highly encouraged for all staff and volunteers while volunteering in the Park.
  • Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet is required for participants not living in the same household.
  • Masks are required on federal lands when social distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • Anyone not feeling well should not enter the Park or participate in any Park-related programs.
  • Participants are recommended to supply their own gloves (we will have gloves available), close-toed shoes, water bottles and water*, snacks/food (as needed). Tools such as garbage bags, rakes, shovels, etc. will be provided by the C&O Canal Trust.

* Please note: Due to the increased risk of spreading infection, we will not be providing any water or other drinks during Canal Community Days 2021. Please be sure to bring enough liquids for everyone in your group, at least one quart per person. 

Questions: volunteer@canaltrust.org

 

SSL hours are available

Canal Community Days Registration– May 8, 2021 at Antietam Creek Campground

By Canal Pride

Important Information

Sign up below and important event information will be emailed to you prior to the event. Volunteer Service Agreement (VSA) and Media Release forms are required for every individual participating in Canal Community Days. Please note that these forms have been updated for 2021. Download them here (https://www.canaltrust.org/programs/community-days-registration-forms/) and bring the signed form with you the day of the event. Digital signatures cannot be accepted.  

In addition to the regular expectations for safety and well-being for all volunteers, we have included a list of COVID-related precautions and expectations for all staff and volunteers:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is highly encouraged for all staff and volunteers while volunteering in the Park.
  • Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet is required for participants not living in the same household.
  • Masks are required on federal lands when social distancing cannot be maintained. 
  • Anyone not feeling well should not enter the Park or participate in any Park-related programs.
  • Participants are recommended to supply their own gloves (we will have gloves available), close-toed shoes, water bottles and water*, snacks/food (as needed). Tools such as garbage bags, rakes, shovels, etc. will be provided by the C&O Canal Trust.

* Please note: Due to the increased risk of spreading infection, we will not be providing any water or other drinks during Canal Community Days 2021. Please be sure to bring enough liquids for everyone in your group, at least one quart per person. 

Questions: volunteer@canaltrust.org

 

SSL hours are available

C&O Canal Trust Supports Survey of Rare Plants In Billy Goat Trail System

By News
Halberd-leaf rosemallow (Hibiscus laevis). Credit: NPS/Renzi.  
The C&O Canal National Historical Park has a new Botany Fellow, partially funded by the C&O Canal Trust. Clara Thiel is completing her Master of Science in Applied Ecology and Conservation at Frostburg State University, and for the next year, she will focus on surveying rare, threatened, and endangered plant species in and around the Billy Goat Trail System of the C&O Canal NHP.  Read More

5 Ways to Celebrate Maryland Day!

By Blog

Four Locks (MM 109) near Clear Springs, Maryland by Nicholas Clements

1. Plan Your Stay With Canal Quarters

Spring is here, and what better way to celebrate Maryland Day than to plan your stay with Canal Quarters! Not only do you support the C&O Canal Trust, but you are immersed in the nature and history of one of the most popular places to visit in the state of Maryland, the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Visit our page here to plan your stay today.

2. Bike, Hike, or Ride on the C&O Canal Towpath

It is a beautiful day to hit the towpath! Why not enjoy the budding of spring on Maryland Day by biking or hiking the towpath? Visit Great Falls this weekend and revel in one of the most beautiful, local places in Maryland. Need help planning your visit? Download our Explorer Mobile app here!

3. Visit and Support Local Canal Towns

If you ever have the desire to do something a little different, take a road trip and visit your local canal towns! Maryland is home to many picturesque small towns with plenty of activities to do with family and friends. Plan your visit at these Canal Towns today.

4. Participate in Maryland Day Activities

Maryland Day can be every day! This weekend, the celebrations continue. You can participate in various Maryland Day festivities by visiting Maryland Tourism here.

5. Show Off Your Maryland Pride By Wearing C&O Canal Trust Apparel

What better way to celebrate Maryland and the Park than by wearing towpath apparel? Get your Route One and C&O Canal Trust sponsored merchandise by visiting the link here.

Canal Story #12: Linda & Thomas Perry

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Linda & Thomas Perry

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us your canal story!

Linda Perry: Is there is a national treasure in my backyard?  Yes.   “The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal has been described as one of this country’s loveliest failures,” writes Elizabeth Kyle in her book, “Home on the Canal.”  The canal began building in 1828 and 184.5 miles were completed until the money ran out.  It parallels the Potomac River.  But, alas, the canal was never able to surpass the railroad; the canal was expensive costing $14 million in 22 years.  It resulted in misery, hardship, the death of thousands of the immigrants who built the canal with its exquisite stonework of aqueducts, tunnels, bridges, locks and the canal.

The C&O Canal is lovely.  I enjoy its peacefulness when I look at the pastoral serenity of sycamores, oaks, maples, and birch, walnut and poplar trees.  I meditate when I look at the beautiful wildflowers with their vivid colors and varieties.  This picture is as picturesque as any portrait of the most skilled painter.  

The canal is filled with living animal life:  squirrel, groundhog, white-tailed deer and it is a bird’s paradise with its Baltimore Oriole, robin, cardinal, scarlet, woodpeckers, flinches, and thrushes.  It even has owls.  The shining blue-grey luster of the Potomac River with the sounds of water hitting the shoreline is a treat to hear and see.  To me, it is relaxing to delight in the C&O Canal’s beautiful scenery and quietness.  

I have biked the entire canal several times and walked parts.  In 2004 I participated in the five year walk by the C&O Canal Association.  For years one project I had with my husband was keeping Lock House #76 open for visitors.  I was able to tell visitors who were hiking or biking the history of the canal. 

Personally, I have fed and slept riders of the canal.  My most memorable incident was one in which it had been a cold, rainy week with a potential tornado.  I had taken off work to have a root canal fixed, so I was not available for my husband’s frantic phone calls.  He brought six dirty, drenched adults who were riding the canal to spend the night at our house.  I was astounded to see our house filled with six wet strangers.  I was in no shape for fix supper, so one of the men treated our entire group at Tony’s, our local pizza joint.  Fortunately, I had enough towels and sheets to provide for these unexpected bikers.  Miraculously, the hot water heater co-operated so everyone got hot showers/baths.

Additionally, a friend and I walked the towpath almost every day for exercise until the virus.  I rejoice that we live three blocks from the canal.  It is a favorite.   To me, the C&O National Historical Park may have been a dismal failure financially, but its loveliness is a national treasure that I treasure.    

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us your canal story!

Tom Perry: Many years ago, or so it seems, I was able to combine my love of biking with my service as a Lutheran minister as I led the youths of Mar Lu Ridge Summer camp on the l84.5 miles of the C&O Canal National Park. We enjoyed camping out in nature and learning about our history together. One of our favorite stops was, of course, Williamsport. The long-retired keeper of the lift lock there was Harvey Brant who enjoyed telling about what it was like living in the lock house and across the street after the canal closed in 1924.  Another welcomer was Sue Ann Sullivan, whose house was adjacent to Byron Memorial Park and who would ask what she could do to help us.  Year after year I would seek her out and enjoy her company.

Thirty Five years ago in retirement my dear wife, Linda, and I were ready to find our own house somewhere in Western Maryland, and you know what place came to mind, so every Friday we took off and looked.  In 1984 we moved onto Conococheague Street in Williamsport very happy. I looked up Sue Ann Sullivan, who said to me: “Well, isn’t it about time you joined?”  “Joined what” said I. “The Canal Association of course”. She was right and I became a member. I have served  as a Level Walker, president, and the chair of a committee whose purpose it was to push for the repair of the Big Slackwater section east of Williamsport.  It was in such bad repair that bikers had a five mile dangerous detour. We were successful and rejoiced when the whole towpath once again was useable.

Now as we celebrate 50 years of our canal being a National Park I am rejoicing in what a treasure we have in “our back yard”  I am still encouraging people, old and young to get out there with me.  I just gave a free membership to a younger biking buddy!

Canal Story #11: Holly Lambert

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Holly Lambert, Physical Education Teacher

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us your canal story!

Holly: What started out as an idea to connect kids to nature through physical activity turned into an annual school hike on the C&O Canal for our Physical Education students. Over the last 17 years with the help of various C&O Rangers and Canal Corps Teachers, I estimate that we have hiked the Canal Towpath with over 3000 students in grades 2-5. With a focus on lifetime physical activities and an exploration of local resources, students research Canal history, biology and geography as they participate in a pre-hike jogging/walking program

at school. Students “travel” the C&O map as they log their miles. The program culminates with a 3 mile hike along a stretch of the towpath where C&O Rangers and Canal Corps Teachers help students explore the trail. I am thankful to all the C&O Rangers, Educational Coordinators and Canal Corps Teachers over the years who have helped make this possible for our kids!

In the spirit of Justice Douglas…”I wish PHYSICAL EDUCATION STUDENTS…would take time off and come with me. We would go with packs on our backs and hike the 3.1 miles to Antietam Creek.”

Canal Story #10: Béla Demeter

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Béla Demeter, Canal Steward

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us your canal story!

Béla Demeter: I’ve been a Canal Steward since July 2018. I’ve hiked the Canal and the Billy Goat Trail for nearly 50 years (when I came to Washington). I often had a plastic bag with me and rarely came out without some bottles and trash. It felt good to do my small part in cleaning up our shared landscape, especially when it involved so little effort. Signing on to the Canal Steward Program seemed like the next logical step.

In my 35 years as reptile keeper and Biologist at the National Zoo, I was the liaison between the department and our keeper aides and interpretive volunteers. I came to appreciate how incredibly important these folks were to the enhanced functioning of our operation. We simply couldn’t have reached out to the public as efficiently without their help. Upon retirement, I felt it was time to pay back some of that energy (my initial volunteer gig was at the National Gallery of Art as a docent, leading tours of the collection). As essential as government agencies are to the operation of parks and museums, staff are often limited by budgets and resources. Tapping into the immense pool of retirees and other people with time on their hands is an excellent way to enhance the benefits that these institutions offer. I also feel that it’s beneficial in so many ways when the public takes a proprietary interest in these areas.  

I think recruiting more volunteers (especially young ones) is money well spent. It always makes my day when young people comment on what I’m doing and remark that they have either done that themselves or are now inspired to do so in the future. I can spend every day on the canal, but it takes everybody pitching in to keep it pristine.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite spot in the Park — sorta like choosing your favorite child. Two spots on Billy Goat B come to mind, however. From an artistic point of view, there is a fallen tree about a quarter mile from the West trailhead. I call it the “Ent” (from Lord of the Rings). It’s incredibly expressive, and I always stop to gaze at it. It changes with moisture and is even more dramatic after a rain.

My other favorite area is about a half mile from the West trailhead. I call it “Skink Rock” due the numerous Five-lined Skinks that make this spot their refuge. It’s fun to find the little guys hiding in the crevices in the summer. This area also has a fair population of Pine Swifts as well as Black Racers on the upper portion of the trail.

Canal Story #9: Michael Mitchell

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Michael Mitchell, Former Board Chair of the C&O Canal Trust

C&O Canal Trust: What is your history with the C&O Canal?
Mike Mitchell: I first visited the C&O Canal Park in 1975 when I moved to the Washington area for graduate school, running and cycling on the towpath when I had time away from studies.  I visited the Park with greater frequency beginning in 1992 when I became an adult leader in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs in the River Falls neighborhood in Potomac, with dozens of camping, cycling, and hiking events in the Park with the Scouts over the years.  In 1999 I began long distance cycling trips with friends on the towpath, and in the ensuing years have cycled on the towpath from Cumberland to DC five times and from Pittsburgh to DC twice.  In 2012 I was invited to join the Board of the C&O Canal Trust and for several years chaired the Program Committee of the Trust.  From 2014 through 2018 I chaired the Board of Directors of the Trust.  I am an avid photographer and six of my ten exhibits to date have featured images from the Park.  The Park continues to be my “go to” place for time in nature, peace and reflection, and I am in the Park on average three times a week.

C&O Canal Trust: During your time volunteering with the Trust, what is your favorite project you have been a part of?
Mike Mitchell: While it was not a “project” per se, my four years as Board Chairman of the Canal Trust provided me my fondest memories and sense of accomplishment in regard to the Park.  That experience afforded me a great opportunity to spend extensive time in the Park, attain a familiarity with the entire 184.5 miles of the Park, and to have a sense of legacy impact on my community adjacent to the Park as well as the entire span of the Park.  It also gave me the opportunity to develop a range of new friendships with fellow Board members, the incredibly dedicated Canal Trust staff, and the National Park Service leadership and staff of the C&O.  If I were to pick one favorite specific project on which I was a participant it would be the acquisition and installation of the new Marsden Bridge seen in the photography below.

C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite canal memory?
Mike Mitchell: It would be impossible to select a single favorite canal memory.  I have a kaleidoscope of fond memories including cycling the length of the towpath multiple times with the Four Amigo friends from my days in the aerospace industry; hiking the entire length of the Park last September with a neighbor and current Canal Trust Board member in support of the Canal Trust mission; endless hours of photography in the Park in all seasons and all times of day; walks in the Park with fellow Canal Trust Board members; hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing in the Park; staying on overnights in the Canal Quarters lock houses with friends and family; and the sense of mission and achievement in working with the Canal Trust Board and staff, and the National Park Service staff in support of the Park.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal?
Mike Mitchell: My favorite spot on the canal is wherever I happen to be on the canal at that moment.  Then entire 184.5 miles of the Park is a celebration of nature.

C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?
Mike Mitchell: I like to tell people that I have three sanctuaries in my life, Bethesda United Methodist Church, Washington Nationals Park, and the C&O Canal National Historical Park.  BUMC services are on YouTube and no fans in Nats Stadium now because of the pandemic, leaving the C&O Canal Park an ever more important place to spend time with friends, enjoy nature, to reflect and to recharge.  The C&O Canal Park is a place for adventure and discovery, but it also is a deeply spiritual place for me.    

C&O Canal Trust Announces Creation of Apparel Line in Partnership with Maryland-Based Route One Apparel

By News
March 1, 2021 – The C&O Canal Trust today announced the launch of a new C&O Canal-themed apparel line in partnership with Maryland-based company Route One Apparel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal National Historical Park joining the National Park Service.

The initial collection features a short-sleeved t-shirt with a rendering of the scenic C&O Canal towpath on the back. The shirts will retail for $24.99, and a portion of the sale of each shirt will support the C&O Canal Trust’s mission to preserve and protect the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The Trust is the official nonprofit partner of the Park.

Read More

Meet Béla Demeter, Canal Steward

By Blog, Content, Volunteer

I’ve been a Canal Steward since July 2018. I’ve hiked the Canal and the Billy Goat Trail for nearly 50 years (when I came to Washington). I often had a plastic bag with me and rarely came out without some bottles and trash. It felt good to do my small part in cleaning up our shared landscape, especially when it involved so little effort. Signing on to the Canal Steward Program seemed like the next logical step.

In my 35 years as reptile keeper and Biologist at the National Zoo, I was the liaison between the department and our keeper aides and interpretive volunteers. I came to appreciate how incredibly important these folks were to the enhanced functioning of our operation. We simply couldn’t have reached out to the public as efficiently without their help. Upon retirement, I felt it was time to pay back some of that energy (my initial volunteer gig was at the National Gallery of Art as a docent, leading tours of the collection). As essential as government agencies are to the operation of parks and museums, staff are often limited by budgets and resources. Tapping into the immense pool of retirees and other people with time on their hands is an excellent way to enhance the benefits that these institutions offer. I also feel that it’s beneficial in so many ways when the public takes a proprietary interest in these areas.  

I think recruiting more volunteers (especially young ones) is money well spent. It always makes my day when young people comment on what I’m doing and remark that they have either done that themselves or are now inspired to do so in the future. I can spend every day on the canal, but it takes everybody pitching in to keep it pristine.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite spot in the Park — sorta like choosing your favorite child. Two spots on Billy Goat B come to mind, however. From an artistic point of view, there is a fallen tree about a quarter mile from the West trailhead. I call it the “Ent” (from Lord of the Rings). It’s incredibly expressive, and I always stop to gaze at it. It changes with moisture and is even more dramatic after a rain.

My other favorite area is about a half mile from the West trailhead. I call it “Skink Rock” due the numerous Five-lined Skinks that make this spot their refuge. It’s fun to find the little guys hiding in the crevices in the summer. This area also has a fair population of Pine Swifts as well as Black Racers on the upper portion of the trail.

Join Béla in becoming a Canal Steward this year! Sign up here.

Canal Story #8: Kari Cannistraro

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Kari Cannistraro, Avid Canal Bike Rider & Vlogger

C&O Canal Trust: Tell us your canal story!

Kari: During the quarantine, I longed for some release. I craved the freedom to discover something new, explore hidden treasures, connect with nature, and engage in some fun exercise. Bike riding on the C&O Canal Towpath was the answer. I started planning each bike adventure as a tour with points of interest. Each tour would be about 20 miles to complete. As a videographer, I included my GoPro camera on these excursions. Thus began my new adventure creating videos to inspire more people to get out there and ride the C&O Canal Towpath Trail. Over time the bike touring made a profound change in my life.

Knowing that there were once Indians habituating right in this area sharpens my experience. I ride along the Potomac River on one side and the canal on the other side. I envision the mules pulling the boats through along the waterway and stopping at the lock gates to pass through the lock. I yell “Heeeey, Lock!” That is what the canal boater would yell to the lock keeper to open up the gates so as to pass through. As I ride along, I watch the trees sway in the wind with leaves splashing on the trail, feeling a kinship with the tranquil and of the stirring of nature drawing me in. I often pause off the bike trail and listen to the sounds of nature around me. I continue to ride along the Potomac River with the wind blowing through my hair just being in the moment. I let my mind wander and breathe in the pure air. I am in a gothic cathedral of trees. It’s a drug. I pass a historic marker that has a description of a Civil War battle crossing and a desperate escape. It really happened right here! I have to stop and take a closer look. Filming while rolling along and stopping at points of interest has intensified my experiences and my feelings of well-being. There is gold in “them thar hills”…yes…gold mines. I fight the rough hilly terrain feeling the thrill of danger to conquer it. I pass one of the most picturesque railroad depots and then quarry ruins that look like Roman ruins, but this is Maryland. On another trip, I push my bike off the path towards an 18th-century old village. Even though only stonewall ruins remain, it gives me a sense of adventure and travel. I feel as if I am on vacation. I need more! My goal is to continue to film my bike adventures and post them on YouTube and cover all of the 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal Towpath. I am biking the trail in segments and have already posted many videos. Each video has a travel destination to stop, enjoy and learn about the history surrounding the C&O Canal Towpath. There are hidden gems out there that enhance the biking experience. Besides various historic ruins, waterfalls, charming towns, gold mines, horse farms, ghosts, eagles, there is the ever-pervasive nature and wildlife. So many stories of interest are nestled nearby and often hidden along the trail. The C&O Canal Towpath is a wonder waiting to be discovered.

As I say at the end of all my videos…. “Hope to see you riding!”

Below are some of the C&O Towpath videos shot during the bike rides.
1.Lock 18 to Lock 23- Great Falls to Seneca Mill and Quarry Ruins
https://youtu.be/nzri5KVbrcs
2.Cabin John, Maryland to Georgetown, DC Lock 10 to Lock 5
https://youtu.be/x563f3aoG9I
3.Point of Rocks, MD to Harpers Ferry, WVA Lock 29 to Lock 33
https://youtu.be/si8ZClfKcOo
4.Harpers Ferry, WVA to Shepherdstown, WVA Lock 33 to Lock 38
https://youtu.be/q4T2Q5VdLsI

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3og6FPSbicKUUhhnJmgLGw

Canal Story #7: Bruce Rosenblum

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Bruce Rosenblum, Frequent Canal Visitor

C&O  Canal Trust: Tell us your C&O Canal story!
Bruce: During the summer of 2020, I cleared my head and some got exercise by going for a brisk walk along the canal most mornings, as early as possible (usually starting by 6 a.m.) While I have travelled the canal by bike and foot for many years, being there regularly and at a time when there was not too much other “human activity,” I saw many things I had not noticed before–river otters building a den and traversing the space between canal and river; a great blue heron catching a frog for “breakfast”; two owls singing a “duet”. I wrote a song for my grandson (age 5) about the canal, and on a late August trip to visit him (my only sojourn away from the house in the last 10 months) had a chance to sing it with him and add a verse he wrote about his experiences with nature walking on Cape Cod. A version of the song is posted to You Tube, complete with photographic “illustrations” from some of my canal walks and you can view it here.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the C&O Canal?
Bruce: I have visited the canal for many years, either as part of my bike routes or on foot.  Walking, biking and watching the views/wildlife are my favorite things to do there.  

 C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite canal memory?
Bruce: I have many fond memories of being on the canal, but it has been extra special during the last 10 months to be able to access this natural beauty so close to home when travel is difficult to impossible.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal?
Bruce: My walks center on the segment between Swains Lock and Seneca Lock (Swains Lock is 4-5 miles from my house), which has beautiful views and a fair amount of wildlife.  I have been on the path from the start in Georgetown to Edwards Ferry, and there are a lot of beautiful and varied spots along that (circa 30 mile?) section–but that also means I haven’t even seen most of the canal yet!

Canal Story #6: Daofeng and Angela He

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Daofeng and Angela He, C&O Canal Trust Donors

Daofeng and Angela He, through their Daofeng and Angela Foundation, have sponsored 40 benches along the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s towpath, providing $185,000 to the C&O Canal Trust for park maintenance and beautification projects.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the C&O Canal?

Daofeng & Angela: We live very close to the Park and always use the towpath and trails to walk and ride bikes. We feel we need to feed back into nature and national parks. People take more from nature then we feed back into it. That is the biggest challenge we as humans have to face. 

C&O Canal Trust: Why did you decide to sponsor benches along the C&O Canal towpath?

Angela: For me, nature is very important. People need to take care of nature. At Great Falls, we saw the boat and the people enjoying the Park. Every Friday, I went to the Park to walk along the Billy Goat Trail. I would sit on a rock, and it was very peaceful. People use the Park to leave behind their stressful lives and feel peaceful. In nature, everything is peaceful. For this reason, nature and the environment is very important to everyone. It is the small things that are important. In the community and in our families, we take care of the small things and this helps us to take care of the big things.

Daofeng: Before I retired, I was involved in establishing a nonprofit in China. So I know about the nonprofit industry. Here in the U.S. I wanted to sponsor a local nonprofit that worked at the grassroots level. I wanted to make the funds from my foundation to flow to where it is really needed. A bench is a symbol of how we can reconstruct the relationship between humans and nature. It is important that the benches are made of reconstructed materials. Nothing is destroyed to manufacture them. We think of each bench and its location as a microclimate in the Park.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal?

Daofeng & Angela: We enjoy hiking the towpath between Bethesda and Great Falls.

A Day in Williamsport, Maryland – An Itinerary

By Blog, Explore Your Canal, Planning Your Visit, Things to Do, Towns and Communities

Park: You can get to the towpath from the town by bike or car when you head west on W. Potomac Street until you reach the Cushwa Basin parking lot. The towpath is located approximately 300 ft north west through the RailRoad Lift Bridge.    

River access: There are two entry points for boats along the Potomac River at River Bottom Park. The park can be accessed by bike or on foot from the towpath 0.9-miles. west of Lockhouse 44. For car access to the boat ramp, make a right onto N. Commerce St from W. Potomac St heading east out of the Cushwa Basin parking lot. Then make a right onto W. Salisbury Street to cross the Bollman Bridge. Follow this path down 0.1-miles to reach the boat access point. The second access point is located 600 ft to the right of the bridge overpass.

Stay: Depending on your preference, Williamsport offers a variety of lodging options. If you are interested in staying close to the towpath Bay farms, Bed and Breakfast is two blocks down W. Salisbury Street, totaling 0.5- mi. It offers an ideal stop for overnight travelers, hikers, or cyclists. Red Roof Inn is located a short distance, 1.1-mi from the towpath on E. Potomac Street, and provides affordable economy lodging choices. Another overnight stay option is Elmwood Farm Bed and Breakfast, which showcases cozy rooms and historic barn settings. Two miles up the towpath heading north is Jordan Junction Campground. An excellent place for hikers and bikers on the move; portable water, toilets, picnic tables, and grills are available for use. For extensive overnight camping Safari Campground and Yogi Bears, Jellystone Park Resort reside at the cross-section of Kendle and Lappans Rd. Cabin rentals, tent sites, and water amenities are available at the camp resort. 

Cushwa Basin by Mark Crilley

Williamsport Aqueduct by John Gensor

Don’t Miss: The RailRoad Lift Bridge & Conococheague Aqueduct.

The Conococheague Aqueduct is an exciting access point for canal boat riders interested in the full canal experience. Since the permanent lifting of the RailRoad Lift Bridge in 2016, pedestrians have been given access to cross the canal through the bridge. The restoration allowed for the expansion of the canal boat tour. The launch boat ride now explores the full length, from the Cushwa Basin to Lockhouse 44, with an informative historical tour of the canal. The tour also includes the newly restored Conococheague Aqueduct, which allows for boat operations to continue. This area is the, “Only place in North America where visitors can view, an operational lift lock, railroad lift bridge, lockhouse, turning basin and warehouse. (NPS, Conococheague Aqueduct 2020)”  

Eat: Dessert Rose Cafe 

Desert Rose Cafe is located a convenient two blocks from the towpath, heading east on W. Potomac for 0.3 miles. The restaurant provides a relaxed space for those eating in and hikers, bikers, and pedestrians on the go. Bike racks, outdoor seating, and amenities for trail users are available, such as bike pumps, inner tubes, first aid, and more. 

Chill: Byron Memorial Park

Byron Memorial Park is a brisk 0.8 miles from the towpath and leads into the center of town. This is a multiuse park that is located at the interaction of E Potomac St and Park Rd. Byron Memorial Park is known for its eventful celebrations encompassing car shows, concerts, and elaborate holiday celebrations such as Christmas lights and Fourth of July displays. Besides festivals, the park offers different facility rentals for those interested in using the Williamsport Community Building, pavilions, bandstand, gazebo rentals, and other rentals advertised on the Williamsport Town website.   

If you have time: Visit Lockhouse 44 

Located at mile marker 99.1 on the towpath, Lockhouse 44 stands along the canal. It was built in 1834 out of white and gray limestone; it now serves as a historical exhibit for requested tours. It is one of few surviving Lockhouse’s that initially maintained and operated the boat-locking system along the canal. 

Come back for: Springfield Farm

Springfield Farm is perfect for history fanatics interested in following the rich history of Williamsport. The Springfield farm is one of the largest barns in Maryland built by Otho Holland Williamsport himself in 1755. The estate contains a museum, two four bays, and a participant of the Living Legacy Project, an initiative dedicated to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and the fallen soldiers. Although the property is commemorated for its historical contributions, it is also available for reception, community events, fundraisers, banquets, and more. Questions can be directed to their email springfeildbarnweddings@gmail.com or phone number listed on the website.  

Events: Fourth of July Fireworks Display 

If fun and exciting celebrations are what you are looking for, join Williamsport in celebrating Independence day at Byron Memorial Park. It is a free venue that provides live local music performances, vendors, and a grand firework display.  

Along the Towpath in Williamsport by Ed Crawford

A Day in Poolesville, Maryland – An Itinerary

By Blog, Explore Your Canal, Planning Your Visit, Things to Do

Parking access: Poolesville is located about five miles from the C&O Canal National Historical Park. To get to the Park from the Old Town Bank Museum located on Fisher Avenue in Poolesville, head west on Fisher Avenue and make a left onto W. Willard Rd. Make a right onto Westerly Road in approximately 1.4 miles. You will then make a left onto Edwards Ferry’s Rd and continue until the end of the road. There is a small parking lot available for day and overnight parking located here. 

River access: Edward’s Ferry boat ramp access is located at the end of Edward’s Ferry Road, past Lockhouse 25. This is a historic Civil War site used by the Union Army for crossing the Potomac River. This area is known for smallmouth bass fishing.

Where to stay: Poolesville is home to Lockhouse 25. A blast from the past, this rustic lockhouse can be reserved through the Canal Quarters program. This historic structure was built in the 1830s and sits at mile marker 30.9 on the towpath. It is available for overnight stays by up to eight guests. 3.7 miles upstream from the towpath, is Turtle Run hiker/biker campsite. It includes a water pump, a portable toilet, and a picnic table & grill.

Sunflower Field located at Sycamore Landing Road (mile marker 27), Poolesville, Maryland. by Nicholas Clements

Civil War Reenactment at Lockhouse 25 by Jan Branscome

Don’t miss: The John Poole House

Originally built in 1793 as a log store, the John Poole House is the oldest building in Poolesville. It served as Poolesville’s first Post Office in the early nineteenth century and is now the Historic Medley District office. This historic building is located behind The Old Bank/ Old City Hall of Poolesville.

Where to eat: Poolesville Athletic Club & Cafe 107

Café 107 is located in the Poolesville Athletic Club and offers a wide selection of both hot and cold drinks, such as blended coffee drinks, smoothies, and food such as grilled chicken wraps, pizza, and even tasty breakfast dishes, which are available all day. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Where to chill: Whalen Commons

Whalen Commons, located in the town center, is a place to meet and greet new and old friends alike. Enjoy outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, and outdoor movie nights in the open grassy area, . You will also find restrooms, a bandshell and a walking trail here.

If you have time: White’s Ferry

White’s Ferry is the last one hundred cable ferries that used to operate on the Potomac River. Every day, cars, bikes, and pedestrians use the ferry to cross the river between Maryland and the Leesburg, Virginia area. It is located at 24801 Whitess Ferry Rd, Dickerson, MD 20842.

Come back for: Sugarloaf Mountain overlook

This registered National Landmark has a breathtaking view and is accessible for bikers and hikers on the towpath. This is about a 10– mile bike ride from or 15mins by car from White’s Ferry. from Poolesville and 17 mins from Whites Ferry. The park is open 8 a.m to sunset. Gates close one hour before sunset.

Events: Poolesville Day Saturday, September 26, 2020

This is a special day to commemorate Poolesville’s 25 years of community. This is a free day event hosted by the Poolesville Day Committee. That will feature a town parade including a marching band, 5K charity run, arts and crafts, vendors, children’s entertainment, and more. This exciting event is capped off with live music and car shows.

Bassett’s Public Art Mural by Trust Staff

https://www.visitloudoun.org/listing/whites-ferry/56/https://www.poolesvillemd.gov/338/Whites-Ferryhttps://www.canaltrust.org/pyv/whites-ford/http://sugarloafmd.com/https://www.poolesvilleday.com/about-ushttps://www.poolesvillemd.gov/facilities/facility/details/Whalen-Commons-8

A Day In Brunswick, Maryland – An Itinerary

By Blog, Explore Your Canal, Planning Your Visit, Things to Do, Towns and Communities

Park: You can get to the towpath from town by a car when you head west on Potomac Street. Make a right onto S. Maple Ave. Head south past the Brunswick Train Station and over the tracks where a small dirt parking lot resides next to the towpath.    

River access: There are two points of access for boats along the Potomac River. Larger boats can access the river by making a right through the railroad parking lot. Follow this to reach the river access point. The second access point is located at Brunswick Family Campground. Make a left onto the towpath from S. Maple Ave. Follow the towpath for 0.4 miles to arrive at the campground and access point. 

Stay: Visitors can find a cozy room at the Travel Lodge or the Holiday Inn. They offer rooms for leisure, adventures, and business space. 0.6 miles on the towpath is the Brunswick Family Campground. This campsite includes tent sites, dumping stations, full hook-up sites, limited wifi, and other amenities. 

 Brunswick, C&O Canal Park Sign by Paulie Ward

Towpath in Brunswick, MD by Jerry Knight

Don’t Miss: The Visitor Center & Brunswick Heritage Museum 

The Heritage Museum doubles as two museums in one, while also sharing a building with the Brunswick Visitor Center. The second floor tells of how the town was shaped by the railroad, and the third floor depicts a 1700 square HO scale model of the B&O Metropolitan Subdivision. In 1890, the Baltimore &Ohio Railroad came to Brunswick, increasing travel to and from Brunswick. Remains of the railroad yard are still visible to this day and were known as the longest railroad yard owned by a single company, totaling 5 miles of the rail yard. 

Eat: Beans & the Belfry

Beans & the Belfry is a cozy, hiker, biker, friends, and family cafe located just .4 miles from the towpath on W. Potomac St. They offer indoor and outdoor seating with complimentary bike racks. Beans & Belfry has what you need to stay refreshed. They serve hot dishes, sweet desserts, refreshing snacks, all-day breakfast, and more. Live entertainment can be found Friday and Saturday from 7-9:30 pm, and live Jazz brunch on Sunday at 11 am-2 pm.

Chill: The City Park Building & Parks 

The City Park Building is located at 655 East Potomac Street, which is open for public access and private rentals. Amenities include a small kitchen, tables chairs, and restrooms. Other recreational spaces include the Corner Park located on Maple Ave and W. Potomac St., three minutes from the towpath, and a Brunswick dog park located .6 miles from the towpath on E. Potomac St. 

If you have time: Visit Remains of Lock 30 or the Rivers Edge Trials

Located at mile marker 55 on the towpath, the red Seneca sandstone and Patapsco granite rubble of the Lockhouse are still visible today. Next to the remains of Lock 30, a bridge carries Route 17 over the Potomac, replacing previous ferries and a wooden bridge that burned down by the Confederacy early in the Civil War. The Rivers Edge Trails are 2.9 miles from the towpath located on 13th Avenue and great for bikers looking for intermediate trails. The path consists of a single rolling track six miles in length with four route options. Natural cuts, berms, and switchbacks are an added plus to increase momentum and intensity. 

Come back for: Boxcar Burgers & Towpath Creamery 

This two-in-one unique restaurant deserves a stop, especially if you are looking for burgers and ice cream to fill you up and cool you down. They share the same building, only a brisk five-minute walk from the towpath. Boxcar Burgers serves “ simple food, done well made from the best local ingredients,” while the Towpath Creamery “offers healthy, all-natural farm-fresh ice cream from both Cold Run Creamery and South Mountain Creamery.”

Events: Fun Runs, Bike rides & Wine and Chocolate Walks

If running is your thing, sign up for the Potomac Street Mile. It will be taking place from August 1st through the 15th. Be sure to sign up before the close of registration on July 31st, 2020.

If biking is more your style, support Brunswick on August, 2nd 2020, and join Throwback on the Towpath. A physical distanced ride dedicated to celebrating the history of penny farthings, welcoming all riders.  

Further down the calendar, Saturday, September 5th, Brunswick will be hosting wine and luxury chocolates. Local venues gather to offer delicious samples, food selections, while live music cascades through the streets. 

Smoketown Brewing by Esther Herbers

Brunswick

  1. About Boxcar. (2020). Retrieved July 29, 2020, from http://www.boxcarcatering.com/about-boxcar/
  2. City Hall. (2020, July). Parks, Recreation, and Pool. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://brunswickmd.gov/?SEC=CF1E2F23-FC1F-4F29-870E-35A7D96F5FB7
  3. Creamery, T. (2020). Towpath Creamery. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from http://www.towpathcreamery.com/
  4. Heritage Museum, B. (2020, July). About. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from http://brunswickmuseum.org/about/
  5. High, M. (2000). The C & O Canal companion. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  6. N. (2020). Brunswick Visitor Center. Retrieved July 29, 2020, from https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/brunswickvisitorcenter.htm

Canal Story #5: John Guttmann

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

John Guttmann, Board Chair of the C&O Canal Trust

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the canal?
John: I live in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington, DC. Our house overlooks the Canal. It is part of the fabric of life for us. I have also served on the Board of Directors of the C&O Canal Trust since 2015, serving as Development Committee Chair, Vice Chair, and now Chair of the Board of Directors.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite project or accomplishment during your time on the C&O Canal Trust’s Board of Directors?
John: Towpath Forever! Nothing is more basic than the Trust’s efforts supporting the Park’s work to maintain this great American resource for our communities today and tomorrow.

C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite memory of the canal?
John: Years ago, I biked from Hancock to Georgetown with one of my close friends. It was my first sustained experience on the Canal. That trip opened my eyes to what a remarkable resource the Park is for our entire region and, in fact, for all of America.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal?
John: Definitely Widewater. Every time I am there, I am newly astonished that such a remarkable place of peace and beauty exists so close to a major city.

C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?
John: The Canal is a constant reminder of the importance of our National Parks. It is part of our history. It is a remarkable piece of the natural world, full of an abundance of wildlife –  a place for contemplation and regeneration. However, like all of our National Parks, it requires support and attention from the public because of shameful resource shortages. That is where the Trust and its supporters come into play.

Eleven Local Breweries Release C&O Canal-Themed Beers to Kick Off Libations Trail in Celebration of the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s 50th Anniversary

By News

The Canal Towns Partnership and the C&O Canal Trust announce the launch of seven C&O Canal-themed beers by eleven local breweries as part of a new C&O Canal Libations Trail created to celebrate the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park’s 50th anniversary as a part of the National Park Service. The trail will also include wineries, distilleries, and specialty cocktails to be released later in the year.

Read More

Photo Contest Winners of 2020

By Blog

Congratulations to these photo contest winners of 2020!

Want to enter your photos for a chance to win the C&O Canal Trust Facebook Photo Contest? Visit here for more information on how you can submit and maybe we will see you next year on our list of winners for 2021. Happy snapping!

Canal Story #4: Brody Reppe

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Brody Reppe, Eight-Year-Old Park Volunteer, C&O Canal Trust Fundraiser, & Towpath Bike Rider

 

This past summer, eight-year-old Brody Reppe learned how to ride his bike and spent time riding with his father on the C&O Canal towpath. Upon learning that the C&O Canal Trust raised money to help maintain the towpath’s surface, Brody decided he wanted to help. He signed up for our TowpathGO! fundraiser and raised over $6,500! In January, Brody was awarded WTOP’s Top Kid Award; he donated 25% of his award winnings back to the Trust. To read more about Brody’s extraordinary accomplishment, visit WTOP here.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the canal?
Brody: My dad told me about the canal as a great place to ride our bikes.  I was excited to try it and loved it right away!
C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite accomplishment on the canal?
Brody: I rode 50 miles in one day as a fundraiser for the canal.  It was fun and it felt good to help.
C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite memory of the canal?
Brody: My summer of riding the whole C&O Canal with my dad.
C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal? Why?
Brody: My favorite spot on the canal is Great Falls.  I think the falls are really pretty.
C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite thing to do on the canal?
Brody: Riding my bike of course!
C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?
Brody: The canal is special because there is so much history and things to see along the canal.  It’s a lot of fun!

The McNulty Family Cleans up Violettes Lock on MLK Day

By Blog, Volunteer
The McNulty family has a passion for the C&O Canal National Historical Park, grown over years of exploring the Park’s diverse recreational opportunities.  At the start of the pandemic, they section hiked the towpath from Dargan Bend to Georgetown, soaking in the different landscapes and wildlife.  The McNultys enjoyed their experience so much they decided to give back to the Park by volunteering on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.   Read More

Canal Story #3: Patricia Barber

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Patricia Barber, Retiring Director of Development of the C&O Canal Trust

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the Canal?

Patricia: I was introduced to the C&O Canal in 1979 when I arrived in the DC area from what was then Rhodesia to attend grad school. The civil war in Rhodesia in the 1970s had rendered the countryside unsafe, so I was enchanted that I could explore this national park alone and in safety. Since then, I have been an enthusiastic Park user  – hiking, biking, walking three generations of hounds, paddling on the river, learning the canal’s history, and just loving its natural beauty. My husband and I have also owned two homes within walking distance of the canal and I have been privileged to work for the C&O Canal Trust as its Director of Development for five years.


C&O Canal Trust: Our readers may not know that you are retiring from the C&O Canal Trust at the end of January 2021. What is your favorite project or accomplishment you were a part of during your time with the Trust?

Patricia: Engaging with so many wonderful  Trust supporters whose generosity will leave an enduring legacy for the C&O Canal lovers of the future.


C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite Canal memory?

Patricia: Watching my son (now 30) toddling among the bluebells along the towpath.


C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal and why?

Patricia: An impossible question. Great Falls and the Potomac Gorge for their grandeur. Monocacy Aqueduct for its beauty. Pennyfield for its froggy chorus. Paw Paw Tunnel for its testimony to the hard labor of those who built the canal. Antietam Aqueduct to Taylors Landing because it’s my “home stretch.”


C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?

Patricia: Peace, beauty, adventure, escape from the rat race.

Canal Story #2: Jon Wolz

By Canal Story

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal becoming a National Historical Park, we are featuring 50 Canal Stories throughout 2021. Each story will take a look at a person’s relationship with the C&O Canal. Whether an NPS ranger, a volunteer, or a visitor, everyone has a story to tell about the canal! If you want to share your story, submit it to us at the link here, email it to us at info@canaltrust.org or post it on your social media feeds with the hashtag #MyCanalStory.

Tell Us Your Canal Story

Jon Wolz, former Boy Scout who testified in support of making the C&O Canal a National Park and current volunteer

C&O Canal Trust: What is your relationship with the C&O Canal? 

Jon: In 1970, Congressmen Gilbert Gude and J. Glenn Beall of Maryland co-sponsored a bill to make the C&O Canal into a National Historical Park. Congressmen Gude contacted Mr. Charles Stover of Rockville to find a couple of Boy Scouts to testify before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Parks and Recreation of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs on their feelings for making the C&O Canal into a National Historical Park. Mr. Stover had recently helped plan and arrange the Montgomery County District Camp O’Ree at Fort Frederick, Maryland next to the canal in October 1970. At that Camp O’Ree, Congressman Gude spoke to the scouts about the need for making the canal into a National Historical Park. Subsequent to that campout, the House of Representatives passed a bill in support of Congressman Gude’s vision for the canal. Charles Stover contacted Jack Alleman, Scoutmaster of Troop 246 of Silver Spring, Maryland. Mr. Stover had met Mr. Alleman at the Camp O’Ree that was attended by Troop 246 and through conversation, learned that several scouts from the troop had hiked the entire length of the C&O Canal. Mr. Alleman selected me for this honor to speak before the Committee. At the time, I was a fifteen-year-old sophomore at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and an Eagle Scout. In addition to me speaking, Life Scout Mark Stover from Troop 1072 was chosen to speak. Both of us were asked to speak on the meaning of the C&O Canal and why it should be preserved as a National Historical Park.

On December 15, 1970, I rode with my parents, Charles and Shirley Wolz, to the Capitol where we were met by Congressmen Gude and Beall, who escorted us to the hearing room. Senator Charles McC. Mathias of Maryland was the first to testify, followed by Congressman Gude. After Congressmen Gude spoke, he introduced me and Mark to subcommittee chairman Senator Alan Bible of Nevada and the other subcommittee members. I spoke after Congressmen Gude and then Mark spoke. Cub Scout Charles Stover presented to each of the ten men of the subcommittee the C&O Canal Scout patches and medals awarded Scouts for hiking the Canal.

On December 22, 1970, the bill was passed by the Senate, and it was sent to President Nixon on December 23, 1970 for his signature. On January 8, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Act making the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal a National Historical Park.

After I retired from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 2014, I became a level walker with the C&O Canal Association (COCA) in 2015. I have two levels that go from White’s Ferry to the Monocacy Aqueduct. Over the last 5 1/2 years, I have been involved with a few C&O Canal Pride Days, painted 36 picnic tables with a friend in 2019, serve on the audit committee for the C&O Canal Association, given talks to the Monocacy Lions Club and the Poolesville Oddfellows about the C&O Canal, led a walk to Latrobe’s Marble Quarry for Poolesville Area Seniors, participated in garlic mustard pulls, helped build three picnic tables for the Park under the guidance of Jim Heins of the COCA, organized and led Potomac River clean-ups at the Monocacy Aqueduct/Lock 27 beginning in 2017, adding the White’s Ferry area in 2019, and recommended a few special projects for the Park to the COCA’s Special Project’s Committee. One project that I am currently involved with is replacing the mule kick boards on the Monocacy Aqueduct that is jointly sponsored by the C&O Canal National Historical Park and the COCA. In 2021, I will be leading walks on behalf of the COCA to Latrobe’s Marble Quarry, White’s Ford Fort, and the Johnson Quarry. Also, in 2021, I hope to lead Potomac River Clean-ups at the Monocacy Aqueduct/Lock 27, Lock 26/Dickerson and White’s Ferry with the support of Boys Scouts from Montgomery County Maryland.

C&O Canal Trust: Do you have a favorite memory of the canal that you can share?

Jon: The many hikes and campouts along the towpath as a Boy Scout. I remember camping at various places from Point of Rocks to Swains Lock. I learned to canoe at Swains Lock and once we canoed from Swains Lock up to Violettes Lock. As a scout, my troop bicycled from Cumberland to Brunswick, a total of 125 miles and camped along the way.

In September 2020, I was invited to walk with an American Legion Post and local Girl Scout troop across White’s Ford and back. We met at Calleva Farm where I spoke of the history of White’s Ford and the immediate area along the canal. We walked down the hillside to the towpath. A few of the girls asked about the “path.” They had never been on the towpath before, so I talked to them about the towpath and the canal.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite spot on the canal? Why?

Jon: I have a few favorite places. From White’s Ferry to the Monocacy Aqueduct, there is a variety of wildlife and birds. I first visited this stretch as a Boy Scout and had many fond memories of this area from my youth. In recent years, I have seen deer, fox, muskrats, a variety of birds, and turtles. I enjoy finding animal tracks along the culvert streams or in the snow.  I have discovered there is a lot of history along this stretch of the canal including Latrobe’s marble quarry, White’s Ford Fort, civil war history, a variety of culverts, two locks, two granary ruins and the Monocacy Aqueduct. In the springtime and into the summer, there are a variety of wildflowers. I enjoy keeping an eye on paw paws as they grow throughout the spring and summer.

C&O Canal Trust: What is your favorite thing to do on the canal?

Jon: Walking along the towpath in all four seasons, noticing the changes with the wildlife and to trees/plants. I also look forward to seeing each spring the wildlife, tree leaves, and plants make their reappearance in the park. I enjoy seeing the ice formations flowing down berm side cliffs and the icicles beneath the end arches at the Monocacy Aqueduct. I enjoy finding a quiet place to sit observing my surroundings and listening to the sounds of the park.

C&O Canal Trust: What does the canal mean to you?

Jon: It is always an exciting place for me to walk alone or with friends or family. Each time I visit the canal, I always have a new and unique experience. I greatly appreciate the efforts by the C&O Canal National Historical Park and others to maintain the physical park, tell, and maintain the history of the park. I feel that in my own way I can help maintain the park and tell the history of the park as well so the park will live on for future generations.

Congressmen Gude and Beall, cub scout Mark Stover and boy scout Jon Wolz, December 15, 1970.

A note to Jon Wolz from Gilbert Gude on top of the hearing book from December 15, 1970.

Lockhouse 28 Receives New Decking

By Blog, Canal Quarters

Lock 28 at Point of Rocks by Paul Graunke

Lockhouse 28, located in Point of Rocks, MD, is one of the rustic gems in the Canal Quarters program.  Our most remote lockhouse, this piece of history is only accessible by way of the towpath. Visitors can enjoy a  tranquil overnight stay with just a short hike or bike ride from the Point of Rocks parking lot. Read More

Outdoor Recreational Opportunities Along the C&O Canal

By Blog, Fish, Hike, Paddle

Sky Fire at Dam 5 by Margaret J Clingan

The C&O Canal’s official designation as a historical park is based on the Park’s rich transportation history, but the park offers a multitude of recreational opportunities as well. Visitors can enjoy everything from hiking to cycling, climbing, paddling, fishing, and more. There’s no shortage of things to see and do at the park, and you’ll enjoy nature and beautiful scenic landscapes along the way. Always check the Park’s website before heading out – some trails and locations close periodically. (https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm)

You can also copy this itinerary into our C&O Canal Itinerary Builder here.

Jump to:

‘Towpath Hikers East of Harpers Ferry Near Milepost 60’ by Jim Kirby

Hiking

The C&O Canal National Historical Park has hiking opportunities for hikers of all skill levels, ranging from hiking on the flat, level terrain of the towpath to rock scrambling on the Billy Goat A trail, by far the most challenging of all the Park’s trails. In addition to 184.5 miles of flat towpath, there are 14 miles of trails in the Great Falls area, the Paw Paw Tunnel Trail, plus a number of trails that are adjacent to the park. Hikers should always bring water, wear proper footwear, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Trail maps are available at visitor centers and on the Park’s website

 

East: DC to Brunswick

Mile Marker 9.9-10.9
Billy Goat Trail C
Billy Goat Trail C is the easiest of the three Billy Goat Trails. The 1.7 mile loop has both an East Trailhead at mile marker 11.2 and a West Trailhead at mile marker 12.3. The trail offers outstanding views of the Potomac River. It features beautiful wildflowers in the spring and even has a small waterfall.

Mile Marker 11.3-12.3
Billy Goat Trail B
Considered to be moderately difficult, Billy Goat Trail B includes some rock scrambles but is not as challenging as Billy Goat Trail A. It passes through a floodplain forest and along the Potomac River, offering beautiful views and oftentimes bird sightings. The trail is 1.4 miles long and can be accessed from the towpath near Anglers or Carderock. 

Mile Marker 12.8-13.8
Billy Goat Trail A
Billy Goat Trail A is the most demanding of the three Billy Goat trails at Great Falls with plenty of rock scrambling. It is not suggested for novice hikers, small children, or dogs. As you climb over angled rocks and boulders, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Potomac River as it squeezes through Mather Gorge. The trail begins below Great Falls near the Stop Gate and ends on the towpath just upstream from the Park’s Anglers’ access point. The hike is a total of 1.7 miles, but you can make it a 3.7 mile loop by returning to your starting point via the towpath. 

Mile Marker 13.6
Gold Mine Trail
The Gold Mine Loop Trail is considered a nature-lover’s delight, despite its close proximity to Washington, D.C. The most direct route to get there is the Gold Mine Spur Trail (0.8 miles), which begins near the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. It connects with the Gold Mine Loop that is 1.6 miles long. The loop has many intersections, all of which are clearly marked, leading to a network of other spurs and trails. 

Mile Marker 14.4
River Trail
The River Trail, just upstream from Great Falls Tavern, winds along the Potomac, affording views of small rapids, eagles’ nests, and rocky outcroppings in the river. The trail is both shorter and flatter than Billy Goat A, making it an ideal way to take in the beauty of the mighty Potomac without any climbing or rock hopping. The trail is one mile, one way. 

Mile Marker 14.7
Ford Mine Trail
The Ford Mine Trail is lollipop-shaped, meaning it is accessed via a straight out-and-back portion that connects to a loop. The trail is 2.7 miles long and easy to moderate in difficulty with one strenuous hill. While you won’t see any evidence of mining on the trail, you will be in the area of the old Ford Mine, a gold mine that operated in the Great Falls area.

 

Central: Brunswick to Hancock

Mile Marker 58.0-60.3
Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail connects with the C&O Canal towpath at mile marker 58, following the towpath to Harpers Ferry, where it diverts across the footbridge and into the historic town. At Weverton, northbound hikers can hike approximately one mile to the spectacular view at Weverton Cliffs. Southbound hikers heading into Harpers Ferry can see Jefferson Rock and stop at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy before heading across the WV/VA state line in the direction of Keys Gap.  

Mile Marker 61.1
Maryland Heights Trail
The view of Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers from Maryland Heights is spectacular. The vantage point is well worth the 1,200-foot-climb to get there. Hikers start from several different locations for this hike depending on parking, but the trailhead is located just off of Harpers Ferry Road near milepost 61 on the C&O Canal. The trail itself is a steeply graded 4.1 miles round trip. The Stone Fort Loop Trail adds elevation and another two miles to your hiking distance. 

 

West: Hancock to Cumberland

Mile Marker 144
Green Ridge State Forest
Green Ridge State Forest is directly adjacent to the C&O Canal in Allegany County. At 47,560 acres, Green Ridge is the largest contiguous block of public land in Maryland – offering 50 miles of hiking trails and 200 miles of both dirt and gravel roads through the forest. Across the Canal  at Lock 58, a side trail leads to the extensive networks of trails at Green Ridge State Forest. After 21 miles, the trails rejoin with the towpath at Lock 67.

Mile Marker 154.8
Tunnel Hill Trail
The Tunnel Hill Trail is an alternative to walking a half mile through the Paw Paw Tunnel. The two mile trail begins from the downstream side of the tunnel with a series of moderate to difficult switchbacks, before leveling out the winding back down to the Canal level. The trail offers a walk through history and outstanding views of the Potomac River and tunnel gorge.

Under the Western Maryland RR Trestle by Paul Graunke

Cycling

The C&O Canal towpath is a bicyclist’s dream, perfect for day trips or bikepacking, with hiker/biker campgrounds conveniently spaced throughout the Park. There are also a number of trails for cycling that connect to the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

 

C&O Canal Towpath
The C&O Canal has 184.5 miles of towpath. The gravel path is mostly level and perfect for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Bicyclists are expected to ride single file, stay on the right except when passing, yield the right of way to all pedestrians and horses, and walk bikes across aqueducts. Bells and helmets are recommended for all cyclists, and helmets are required for children.

 

East: DC to Brunswick

Mile Marker 1.5-3.1
Capital Crescent Trail
The Capital Crescent Trail connects Georgetown with Silver Spring, MD. Combined with the Rock Creek Trail, it forms a 22 mile loop. Built on the abandoned rail bed of the 11 mile Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad, it closely parallels the canal for 1.7 miles before taking a right turn toward Bethesda. 

 

Central: Brunswick to Hancock / West: Hancock to Cumberland

Mile Marker 114.4-136.2
Western Maryland Rail Trail: East Trailhead | West Trailhead
The Western Maryland Rail Trail is approximately 28 miles long and parallels the C&O Canal for its entire length, from Big Pool to Little Orleans. The easy grade and paved trail make it easy to travel. It can be accessed from a variety of points along the canal including Big Pool, Hancock, Pearre and Little Orleans.

Mile Marker 184.5
Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage connects to the C&O Canal in Cumberland, extending 150 miles to Pittsburgh. The trail takes users over valleys, around mountains and alongside the Casselman, Youghiogheny, and Monongaleha Rivers on a nearly level path. Highlights include the Cumberland Narrows, the Eastern Continental Divide, the Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle State Park, and Point State Park. 

Rock Climbing by Trust Staff

Rock Climbing/Rock Scrambling

Rock climbing is allowed within selected areas of the park. Climbing outside of those areas is dangerous and has resulted in visitor injuries. Rock climbers should use proper equipment when climbing and stay within their abilities. Rock scrambling is also allowed in selected areas of the park. Hikers should stay on the trail at all times to avoid serious injuries, dress appropriately and stay hydrated. 

 

East: DC to Brunswick

Mile Marker 10.5
Carderock Recreational Area
Carderock Recreation Area, located adjacent to the Clara Barton Parkway is the most popular rock climbing area in the park, with cliffs up to 80 feet high. Carderock has routes for climbers of all skill levels, including beginners. It’s a popular location for rock climbing classes.

Mile Marker 11.3-12.3
Billy Goat Trail B
Considered to be moderately difficult, Billy Goat Trail B includes some rock scrambles but is not as challenging as Billy Goat Trail A. It passes through a floodplain forest and along the Potomac River, offering beautiful views and oftentimes bird sightings. The trail is 1.4 miles long and can be accessed from the towpath near Anglers or Carderock. 

Mile Marker 12.8-13.8
Billy Goat Trail A
Billy Goat Trail A is the most demanding of the three Billy Goat trails at Great Falls with plenty of rock scrambling. It is not suggested for novice hikers, small children or dogs. As you climb over angled rocks and boulders, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Potomac River as it squeezes through Mather Gorge. The trail begins below Great Falls near the Stop Gate and ends on the towpath just upstream from the park’s Anglers’ access point. The hike is a total of 1.7 miles but you can make it a 3.7 mile loop by returning to your starting point via the towpath. 

Paddling at Antietam Creek by Nora Slick

Paddling

Non-motorized boats are allowed in several re-watered sections of the C&O Canal. Boats must be carried around lift locks. Personal floatation devices should be used as required by the state of Maryland. The re-watered sections are: 

Mile 0 to 22 Georgetown to Violettes Lock
Mile 99.3 to 99.8 Williamsport to Lock 44
Mile 112 to 113 Big Pool
Mile 120 to 121 Little Pool
Mile 124.1 to 124.7 Hancock
Mile 162 to 167 Oldtown to Town Creek

 

East: DC to Brunswick

Mile Marker 0.0
Thompson Boat Center
With easy access to the Potomac River, Thompson Boat Center offers classes and rentals for everyone from the first timer to the seasoned water adventurer. They can get you out on the water to kayak, canoe, row, or paddle. Thompson Boat Center is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service.

Mile Marker 3.1
Fletcher’s Boathouse
Fletcher’s Boathouse is located close to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal. They offer guided SUP and canoe tours as well as boat rentals for paddling, rowboating, canoeing, and kayaking. Fletcher’s Boathouse is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service. 

Mile Marker 5.6 
Kayak Run
There are 40 to 50 training gates at Kayak Run in Class I-II difficulty levels at normal river flow. Some of the nation’s most accomplished kayakers have spent hours perfecting their craft on Potomac River whitewater training runs. One training site is here on the feeder canal, originally built to allow the Potomac River to feed into the C&O Canal as it made its way into Georgetown.

Mile Marker 14.3
Great Falls
Paddling at Great Falls is extremely dangerous and best suited for expert level kayakers. Those in canoes should not attempt to paddle in this area. Rapids at Great Falls are classified as Class 5 and 6. 

Kids Fishing by Mike Mitchell

Fishing

The canal and the Potomac River have many fishing spots for anglers. The upper Potomac is considered one of Maryland’s most popular freshwater fishing destinations. Forming Maryland’s southern boundary, the upper Potomac offers fishermen more than 160 miles of warm water fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, walleye, muskie and channel catfish. 

 

East: DC to Brunswick

Mile Marker 19.6
Pennyfield
Pennyfield Lock was a favorite fishing spot of President Grover Cleveland’s and remains a popular spot for anglers today. Northern snakehead fish can often be found here.  

 

Central: Brunswick to Hancock / West: Hancock to Cumberland

Mile Marker 71.7
Boteler’s Mill/Potomac Mill
Boteler’s Mill, also known as Potomac Mill, is on the shore of the Potomac River in eastern Jefferson County, West Virginia, half a mile below Shepherdstown. The mill is a popular fishing area, and the water is usually shallow enough to allow for wading to take a closer look at the mill.

Mile Marker 84.6
Dam 4
Dam 4 is a scenic spot on the canal with a beautiful view of its roaring waters. Those turbulent waters below the dam are popular with anglers. It’s a well-known spot for good walleye fishing and catfish.

Mile Marker 99.6
Cushwa Basin

The re-watered section of the Canal, from Cushwa Basin to just below Lockhouse 44, is a popular spot for anglers of all ages and abilities. From bluegills to bass to carp and even some catfish, it’s a great place to teach first timers how to cast.

Mile Marker 112.1-113.8
Big Pool
Big Pool is a 1.5 mile long natural depression that was filled with water during C&O Canal construction. Located within Fort Frederick State Park, it’s a popular fishing and boating site with a boat ramp. It is primarily a warm water fishery with species like largemouth bass, catfish, carp, bluegill and more. 

 

West: Hancock to Cumberland

Mile Marker 173.3
Spring Gap

Spring Gap to Hancock is one of the best fishing spots on the Potomac River and provides a wonderful place to relax in a peaceful setting. The boat ramp at Spring Gap is the westernmost boat ramp in the park.

Blue Heron Near Mile Marker 16 by Indraneel Samanta

Private Outfitters

Thompson Boat Center
Washington, DC
-Sculling, kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, bicycling
-Rentals, classes, group events and tours

Fletcher’s Boathouse
Washington, DC
-Kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, rowboating, bicycling
-Rentals, classes, group events and nature tours

River & Trail Outfitters
Knoxville, MD
-Tubing, kayaking, canoeing, bicycling, etc.
-Guided adventures, rentals and sales

River Riders
Harpers Ferry, WV
-Tubing, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, etc. 
-Guided adventures, rentals and sales

Shepherdstown Pedal & Paddle
Shepherdstown, WV
-Kayaking, canoeing and bicycling 
-Rentals, sales and service, shuttle service and group rides

C&O Bicycle
Hancock, MD
-Bicycle rentals, sales and service

Get Out & Play! Outfitters
Cumberland, MD
-Bicycle shuttle service
-Canoe and kayak rentals

Letter From Retiring Director of Development, Patricia Barber

By Content

Patricia on the towpath with Sam and Chico

Dear Friends,

Forty years ago when I first visited the C&O Canal, I was 22 and the national park was just nine years old. After decades of flooding and neglect, much of the infrastructure we now take for granted was simply not there. Footbridges to the Great Falls Overlook had been taken out by Hurricane Agnes in 1972. There was no boardwalk at Widewater. Historic aqueducts were crumbling and much of the towpath was in very poor condition. Read More

Trust Receives $20,000 for Canal For All Programming from Rossi Foundation

By Canal For All, Content

Latino Conservation Week 2019 by Trust Staff

Canal For All programming will be coming to Washington County, Maryland, thanks to a new $20,000 grant from the Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation. Started in 2017, Canal For All is the C&O Canal Trust’s outreach program targeted at engaging youth from communities currently underrepresented in the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s visitation and helping them overcome barriers to their participation in Trust and Park programs. Read More