To some of us, winter is a time to stay indoors by the fire. But why would you stay indoors when the C&O Canal National Historical Park offers some of the most scenic areas to explore during the winter months? So put on some warm clothes and come experience the C&O Canal as a winter wonderland! Read More
At the C&O Canal Trust, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary of providing financial and programmatic support to the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Over the years, we have picked up some tips from our Park Ranger colleagues to make the most of our visits to the Park. Here, we share 10 of our favorite tips with you. Learn and know before you go! Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the area. Not only is our Park magnificent to look at, but it is home to many natural and man-made wonders. The architects and builders who built the canal had to overcome rocky land, mountains, and changes in elevation, and through these difficulties, many architectural wonders were born. Below, we take a closer look at 10 of them in honor of the C&O Canal Trust’s 10th anniversary. Read More
The archives of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) hold a merchant’s ledger (1856-1858) from Williamsport, MD that provides details about everyday life along the canal and insights into park history. The ledger’s more than 260 lined pages provide insight into the foodways, economics, and material culture of people along the canal whose stories have often become invisible to the historical record.
Many Park visitors know that there are towns all along the towpath. Through-hikers and -bikers are especially fond of the local businesses that offer food, respite, bike repair, and a host of other items and services trail-weary travelers can appreciate. To celebrate the C&O Canal Trust’s 10th anniversary, we give you our picks for the top attractions in several of the canal towns along the towpath – many are members of the Canal Towns Partnership, which assists its communities with trail-based tourism and recreation. Read More
The C&O Canal Trust today announced a t-shirt artwork contest to commemorate the 10th anniversary of their Canal Pride events. Amateur artists are invited to create and submit artwork that celebrates the 10th anniversary of this volunteer-driven event. The winning design will be printed on our Canal Pride t-shirts and worn by our volunteers as they work in the C&O Canal National Historical Park during the spring months. Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park holds hundreds of secrets along its 184.5-mile length and is a wonderful place to explore both the natural and man-made worlds. In the Canal Discoveries section of the C&O Canal Trust’s website, Park Rangers describe 48 of these gems.
To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we’ve picked out 10 gems that you might not know about. The next time you are out in the Park, be sure to visit these sites! Read More
The C&O Canal Trust, in partnership with the C&O Canal National Historical Park is searching for stories from African American workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) who worked along the C&O Canal from 1938-1942. Workers themselves or descendants of workers are encouraged to contact the Park to share memories from their time along the canal, for use in a new exhibit to be housed in Canal Quarters’ Lockhouse 10. Read More
On December 1, sixteen volunteers from World Bank participated in a Canal Pride event where they worked on beautification and preservation projects at Great Falls. A small group of volunteers joined Billy Goat Trail Steward Bob King to hike along Billy Goat Trail A, where they removed a lot of left behind trash as well as helped restore some off-trail areas. Read More
Everyone loves Billy Goat Trail Section A. Come down to Great Falls any weekend during the summer months and you’ll see a line of people stretching along the whole trail. With tricky rock scrambles, unique wildlife, and amazing river views, it is not difficult to see why this trail is so beloved and well-known. But if you’ve already experienced the magic of “Billy Goat A” or you just want a little more solitude with your wilderness, check out these great, lesser-known trails in the Great Falls area.
The C&O Canal Trust will be hosting an Open House with free hardhat tours of Swains Lockhouse in Potomac, MD on Saturday, November 5 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Read More
The Cushwa Basin, located in Williamsport, MD, is situated at the confluence of the Conococheague Creek and the Potomac River. Because this area is such a popular entry point to the C&O Canal towpath, there is a National Park Service Visitors Center located here, in the historic Cushwa Warehouse beside the basin. The warehouse is in the process of being restored to interpret the 1920’s era on the Canal, and the neighboring Conococheague Aqueduct is also being rebuilt. This historic area was once the home of brick manufacturing and shipment of coal along the Canal — canal boats would use the turning basin to load coal and bricks on their trips between Cumberland and Georgetown.
All Canal Lovers should visit the Cushwa Basin, check of the Visitors Center, hike the towpath, and explore Williamsport. Check out this list of 9 things you can do next time you visit!
We are pleased to announce that the C&O Canal Trust has been selected as a participant in Whole Foods’ Nickels for Nonprofits program! From now until the end of the year, you can help the Trust earn nickels in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial. Every time you shop at one of the five Montgomery County, MD Whole Foods stores, bring your own bags. Whole Foods will credit you a nickel for each bag you bring, and you can donate those nickels to the C&O Canal Trust! Read More
In celebration of the opening of their DC Flagship store, REI is hosting 100 days of recess with their United Outside campaign and donating $100,000 to five local nonprofits, including the C&O Canal Trust! Each nonprofit will automatically receive $10,000. But with your help, we could turn that into $20,000 or more! Read More
The C&O Canal Trust constructed a new bridge over the canal at Marsden Tract over the weekend of April 21-24, 2016. Read More
The Swains Lockhouse rehabilitation will be special for many reasons: Its beautiful setting, rich history, access for the disabled, and perfect timing—as a tribute to the National Park’s 100th birthday. But there’s another feature of Swains that could have a positive impact for many years to come… Read More
This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. That’s huge because of what the national parks mean to us, and how many millions of people have marveled at the natural and historic wonders that are protected within park boundaries. Read More
If you’re researching the lives of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, or Martin Luther King, your Google search shouldn’t pose any problems. But what if you had to profile Mary Virginia Swain, a woman who lived an unassuming life in a lockhouse on the C&O Canal in the early 1900s? Read More
The C&O Canal Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of Patricia Barber as its new Director of Development effective March 1. Read More
The C&O Canal Trust is fortunate to have Robert Mertz as its friend and volunteer — Robert has furnished all six lockhouses in period style, and he is on board to bring the year 1916 to life in Lockhouse 21. Read More
There are a variety of hiking trails in or near the Park. Probably the most well-known is the Billy Goat Trail, comprised of three sections (A,B, and C), with three different levels of difficulty. At 1.7 miles in length, and with an estimated completion time of 2-3 hours, Section A is the most strenuous for the serious hiker. Section B offers more of a mid-level hiking challenge and is great for birdwatching in the spring, while Section C offers an easy stroll and plenty of shade for the warm summer months as well as beautiful leaf color in the fall.
Near Harpers Ferry, the canal joins the Appalachian Trail and affords several unique hiking experiences with plenty of history thrown in. Weverton Cliffs is a popular trail with steep terrain, switchbacks, and a pretty view of the Potomac River. Maryland Heights, site of the first Civil War battle in Maryland between Confederate and Union forces, provides a wonderful view of the town. Hike up to Jefferson Rock and you’ll see the view that inspired Thomas Jefferson to say “…this scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic…”
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the towpath, near milepost 112, lies Fort Frederick – a historic stone frontier fort used during the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Continue heading west to the Town Creek area of the Park and you can access Green Ridge State Park, the Paw Paw Tunnel, and Town Creek Aqueduct for a variety of hiking options.
View from Maryland Heights
Please check Park updates before planning your visit to ensure that trails are open. Changes in weather can affect which trails are open. News from the Park can be found here.
How did the rundown lockhouses along the Canal turn into Canal Quarters, an award-winning program that over 10,000 people have experienced? This week, we will take a look at the development of the program, which the Swains lockhouse will join after its rehab is complete. Read More
The C&O Canal and towpath are truly year-round attractions within the Park. While biking, hiking, and running are enjoyed by many, it takes a true appreciation for cold weather to enjoy the park when the temperature drops and snow begins to fall. Read More
“From inside our lockhouse, I could hear the children laughing out by the firepit—a corny joke from their father, no doubt. As the last glow of sun shimmered off the Canal upstream, the low light of the lantern began to illuminate the wood floor planks, simple furnishings, and a pitcher of cider still sitting on the table from dinner. Life is good here.” Read More
There’s a lot of love going into the Swains Lockhouse rehabilitation. It comes from the C&O Canal Trust that chose the Swains home for their newest Canal Quarters guest house, and it comes from the National Park Service (NPS) that is pouring its resources into interpreting the home as it appeared in 1916. The result will be an experience that Canal Quarters guests will cherish forever. Read More
For now Swains Lockhouse is a stone shell, sealed for the winter. But an amazing transformation is about to take place adjacent to Lock 21. Read More
The Canal Quarters each interpret a different period of Canal history. What period will Swains Lockhouse interpret? Read on! Read More
C&O Canal Trust Board Chair Michael C. Mitchell and President Robin Zanotti have signed an agreement with the Friends of Fletchers Cove, becoming that group’s fiscal agent. Read More
The C&O Canal’s rich history begins over 180 years ago with its infamous groundbreaking ceremony on July 4, 1828, but its life as a National Historical Park only began 45 years ago on January 8, 1971. Read More
The C&O Canal Trust hosted a groundbreaking on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. to officially launch construction on the new Marsden Tract bridge over the canal. Read More
The C&O Canal Trust today announced a t-shirt artwork contest for their 2016 Canal Pride events. Amateur artists are invited to submit artwork to be considered for the 2016 Canal Pride events. The winning design will be printed on our Canal Pride t-shirts and worn by our volunteers as they work in the C&O Canal National Historical Park during the spring months. Read More