fbpx Skip to main content

The TowpathGO Challenge

Lace-up your running shoes, inflate your bike tires, strap-down your kayak, or harness your four-legged friend for the TowpathGO Challenge – a fundraiser for the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) and the C&O Canal Trust. Whether you enjoy an invigorating, early-morning workout on the towpath, or find peace of mind with a leisurely afternoon stroll, you can rally support from your family, friends, and colleagues for this unique peer-to-peer fundraising challenge. This is not your typical challenge – YOU set your course.

Go the distance to garner support from your peers in order to raise funds to ensure the Park we love remains beautiful, safe, and welcoming into the future.

The Challenge
This is a self-paced program for EVERYONE regardless of age, ability, or ambition. Follow one of our suggested challenge options, or customize your own! Suggested challenge options are listed below. You can even create a “team” fundraising page if you want to participate with a partner (ie. spouse, friend, etc.)

Participants can start their challenge at any time throughout the year. Time frame to complete your challenge is within 6 months of your start date.

No Cost to Participate
The TowpathGo Challenge is free to participants. There is no cost associated with creating a fundraising page.

Choose Your Challenge and Your Mileage

Remember to set a mileage goal for the challenge that you choose.

Douglas’ Hike Challenge
Take on the full length of the towpath as Justice William O. Douglas did on his 184.5-mile hike that “saved” the canal in 1954! Divide your challenge into sections and traverse the towpath at your own pace. From start to finish, enjoy a multi-day exploration of the Park, and take time to visit each of the Canal Towns along the way. 

Lockhouse Challenge
Travel the towpath to find all seven lockhouses in our Canal Quarters program. Hint: They are all located between mile-marker 5.4 and mile-marker 108.7 on the towpath! 

New Park Patron Challenge
Invite someone who has never visited the C&O Canal NHP to complete this challenge with you! Growing the park’s circle of friends is a great way to ensure our beloved park remains a welcoming place now and forever!

Four-Legged Friend Challenge
Bring your leashed, four-legged pal with you to complete this challenge. Whether canine, feline, or equine – you and your furry friend will enjoy the beauty of this historical, recreational, and natural resource.

Four Counties Challenge
Complete this challenge by visiting a section or sections of the towpath in each of the four counties that comprise it – Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Montgomery. Go the extra mile and visit Georgetown, too!

Paddle Challenge
Make a splash by completing your challenge from the seat of your kayak! Paddle your way to your goal through many spots along the canal and the Potomac River, and enjoy the scenic views and wildlife that inhabit the C&O Canal NHP.

Triathlon Challenge
Combine three forms of exercise to complete this challenge. Choose a mileage goal and work your way to the finish line with any combination of biking, running, walking, jogging, etc.

Create Your Own Challenge
Modify or combine any of the suggested challenges, or create your own. Complete your challenge however you like. Have fun and remember to recreate responsibly! Always check the park’s website for current conditions before heading out – some trails and locations close periodically.

Set Your Fundraising Goal


Decide the amount you hope to raise through your challenge. Every dollar raised helps to support organized programs like Canal Community Days where hundreds of volunteers meet throughout the year to undertake a range of preservation, beautification, maintenance, and conservation projects in the C&O Canal NHP. Choose from one of the fundraising levels below, or choose an amount of your own.

  • $300 – (Could buy approx. 15 trash grabbers)
  • $500 – (Could buy approx. 50 packs of trash bags)
  • $750 – (Could buy approx. 75 packs of paint rollers)
  • $1,000 – (Could buy approx. 20 cans of paint to refurbish picnic tables or other park features)


  • If you surpass the $500 fundraising mark, you will receive a print by Margaret Clingan of MJ Clingan Photography. Check out her work here.
Print of bright sun peeking through dark clouds above Dam 5 by Margaret J Clingan

‘Sky Fire’ at Dam 5 by Margaret J Clingan

  • If a minimum of 10 people donate to your fundraiser, you will receive a Trust-branded running bag!

Download the TowpathGO Challenge Toolkit
The toolkit is designed to help you with your challenge! Filled with tips and FAQ’s, the toolkit shows you step by step how to setup your fundraising page, get the word out about your fundraiser on social media, and even gives you pre-written messages to tell your family and friends about your participation in the challenge.

TowpathGO Toolkit

Ready to Get Started?
Click the button above to create your fundraising page. Once there, click on “I Want to Fundraise for This” to get started. Follow the instructions in the toolkit from there.

Or, if you’d rather participate in the TowpathGO! Challenge from the side-lines, you can make a donation by clicking on the button above.

Have fun!
We will be here to help cheer you on throughout your challenge! Share photos and updates about your TowpathGO challenge with us to share on our social media channels.

We are happy to answer any questions, or walk you through how to set up your page and get started! Contact us at [email protected].

Williamsport by Ellen Kinzer

Conococheague Aqueduct by MJ Clingan

Top image by Chris Hanessian