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10 Architectural Wonders of the C&O Canal

By History, Landmarks, Things to Do

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

1850s shop ledger provides peek into C&O Canal history

By History, Stories

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.

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Top Canal Town Attractions along the C&O Canal

By Towns and Communities

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

Artwork Contest announced to celebrate Canal Pride program’s 10th anniversary

By News

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

10 Discoveries Along the C&O Canal

By Planning Your Visit, Things to Do

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

C&O Canal Trust Searching for African American CCC Workers’ Stories

By News

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

World Bank has Canal Pride!

By Canal Pride, News

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

Hidden Hiking Gems of Great Falls

By Blog, Planning Your Visit, Things to Do

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.

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9 Great Things to Do When You Visit Cushwa Basin in Williamsport

By Landmarks, Planning Your Visit, Things to Do

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!
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C&O Canal Trust selected for Whole Foods’ Nickels for Nonprofits

By News

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

Top Hiking Trails along the C&O Canal

By Planning Your Visit, Things to Do
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Photo Sean Matthews

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…”

View from Maryland Heights - Wikimedia CommonsJust 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The birth of Canal Quarters

By Swains

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

Swains Lockhouse showcases the Historic Preservation Training Center’s passion for history and craftsmanship

By Swains

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

Canal Pride Artwork Contest announced

By News

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