C & O Canal National Historic Park


Visitor Centers/Exhibits
Visitor centers are located at Georgetown, Great Falls, Williamsport, Hancock, and Cumberland.

C & O Canal NHP Boat Rides
The canal boat rides are underway for the 1997 season. Park Rangers, dressed in period clothing, interpret life on the canal in the 1870's, while operating the 90' canal boat through a working liftlock. The rides are conducted Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., during the summer season.

Group reservations can be made for Great Falls by calling (301) 299-3613 or at Georgetown (202) 653-5190. Inquire for times and special fares.

Trails: The canal towpath is maintained as a 184.5-mile-long hiking/biking trail. There are additional hiking trails at Great Falls including the Gold Mine trail, the River trail, and the nationally known Billy Goat Trail. There is a handicapped-accessible walkway from the towpath to an overlook of the Great Falls of the Potomac. There is also a trail over the top of the Paw Paw Tunnel.

Trail Descriptions
Gold Mine Loop
4.2 miles Deer, fox, and woodpeckers share the gentle wooded trail with remains of mine diggings. The Maryland Mine (1867-1939) processed gold near Falls Rd. and MacArthur Blvd. Begin the blue blazed trail uphill behind the Tavern. Spur trails (yellow) lead to mine ruins, to Angler's Inn, and to Berma Road near Lock 16.
Berma Road 1.1 miles (3.3 mile loop Tavern to Angler' Inn and back) Easy, level hike with beautiful views of Widewater, outstanding during fall colors. More wooded than the towpath, the old conduit road runs parallel to the canal from Lock 16 to Angler's Inn. Begin on towpath and cross canal by footbridge at the stoplock below Tavern. Return via towpath.
Billy Goat Trail
2 miles (4 mile loop) Rugged trail, toughest in area, requires scrambling over boulders and climbing on angled rocks. Beautiful views of Mather Gorge and river. Wear sturdy shoes and carry water. Blue-blazed markers stay close to cliffs along river an rejoin towpath 0.7 mile north of Angler's Inn. Begin trail from towpath downstream from Lock 17. There are no shortcuts over rocks.
Woodland trail
0.6 mile Easy. Trail starts from Gold Mine Loop near a stream crossing and follows past prospectors' trenches and overgrown Civil War earthworks. Ends at yellow-blazed Anger's Spur.
Angler's Spur Trail
0.5 mile Moderate. Start from Angler's Inn parking, follow Berma Road to a chain-link fenced structure. Trail begins to right uphill through thick woods and meets Gold Mine Loop. Watch for wildlife.
Lock 19 Loop
0.5 mile Easy short hike uphill to old trolley turnaround. Start up Gold Mine Loop behind Tavern and branch off to right on first yellow-blazed trail, returning to Lock 19 and towpath.
Lock 16 Spur
0.3 mile Short trail connects Berma Road and Gold Mine Loop. From towpath, cross footbridge to Berma Road. Downstream from Lock 16, look for yellow blazes.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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