The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) contains more than 20,000 acres of historical, natural and recreational treasures. The Park is the 16th most visited out of 423 parks in the National Park System, welcoming five million visitors each year – more than signature parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite! Featuring a 184.5 mile towpath, the Park is popular with hikers and bikers, as well as paddlers who enjoy the neighboring Potomac River and its offshoots. With over 200 rare and threatened species of plants and animals, over 1,000 historic structures, and a rich history of native cultures, transportation growth, and Civil War conflict, the Park has something to offer everyone!
Park Operations Related to COVID-19
Please see the C&O Canal National Historical Park website for information on the Park’s operational status in response to COVID-19.
You can download our C&O Canal Explorer mobile app for a map of over 600 points of interest, driving directions, and much more!
Highlights and Amenities
If this is your first time visiting, you’ve come to the right place! Below is everything you need to know as you plan your trip.
The C&O Canal NHP is a long, skinny Park that stretches 184.5 miles from Georgetown in Washington DC to Cumberland, MD. There are many entrance points along the length of the canal, and all of them are free except for the Great Falls Tavern entry point. Unless you are planning to travel the entire 184.5-mile towpath by bike or on foot, you will likely want to select a region to visit.