The CanalBird Scavenger Hunt Begins on October 1... More Info
The Last Towpath...
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is the last mule drawn towpath in the United States that remains fully intact. The C&O travels 184.5 miles along the scenic Potomac River from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD and covers an area of approximately 12,000 acres.
The C&O was originally intended to extend to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but construction ended after reaching Cumberland Maryland in 1850. This was due to the construction of the B&O Railroad, which had reached Cumberland 8 years ahead of the C&O. With only half of the planned canal completed, it was considered by many to be outdated before the first boat reached the Cumberland terminal. But The C&O Canal in fact became a vital Union asset during the Civil War.
The C&O Canal was a part of some of the great Civil War battles fought and even became a target itself. It is also another disputed location of the "first shot" of the Civil War when John Brown took control of the federal arsenal located in Harper's Ferry, WV. on October 16, 1859. Check out the New Civil War section
Today the C&O Canal is visited by more then four million people every year and is maintained by the United States Parks Department along with the help of many private organizations and volunteers.
I will continue to update this web site as information becomes available. I would also be happy to receive any information you may have about the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that's not included here. Send any information or comments by Clicking Here.
Important Notice – Please Read
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is asking everyone to report any dead bats found along the Potomac River. This request was made after White Nose Syndrome, a condition that is fatal to bats, was found in a cave in Cumberland, Maryland near the C&O Canal. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and The National Park Service are working together to prevent the spread of the disease to bat habitat within the park. You can report dead bats by calling The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Services at 1-877-463-6497.