Frequently Asked Questions

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This information is provided for general reference. Please contact the park directly for specific park information.

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Permits and Reservations

Groups of more than 25 individuals planning an event, demonstration, performance, or similar activity may be subject to obtaining a permit. Each park manages its permits and reservations individually. For regulations, see 36 CFR § 7.96. More about about permits.

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Dogs are allowed in most park areas, but are required to keep their humans on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length. Some areas, such as Billy Goat Trail A, are closed to pets. Service animals are permitted without exception.

Drones are not allowed at C&O Canal
Drones are not allowed at C&O Canal NHP

Unmanned Aircraft (Drones, model airplanes, etc...)

The launching, landing, or operation of unmanned aircraft is prohibited at C&O Canal NHP.
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Contact the NCR Dispatch Center at (866) 677-6677.


FAQs about Canal History

When did the Canal become a National Park?

How many acres is the Park?
Approximately 20,239 acres

When did the government acquire the Canal?

What is the condition of the Canal today?
The canal today is used by millions of people every year for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities. The original towpath is still the main trail utilized by park visitors. Approximately 25 miles of the canal is watered and a 2 locks are still in working condition.

When was construction started?
July 4, 1828

When was the Canal completed
October 10, 1850

What were the years of operation?
1850-1924, some sections opened starting in 1830.

What was the cost of the Canal?
About $14 million

How many years did it take to build the Canal?
22 years

How long is the Canal?
184.5 miles long

How deep is the Canal?
Workers dug it to be 6 feet deep but many areas that are watered are only 2-3 feet deep.

How wide is the Canal?
60 to 80 feet depending upon the section

How wide is the towpath?
Originally 12ft wide, now 7ft in some areas

What is the distance in elevation end to end on the canal?
605 feet

How many locks are on the Canal?
74 lift locks

How many dams were built along the Canal to divert river water into the inlets?
7 dams

How many aqueducts were built along the Canal?
11 aqueducts

How many culverts were built along the Canal?
Over 150 culverts

Last updated: May 13, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport , MD 21795



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