The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. Based on guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, access to the park is as follows:
Masks - Required, in certain areas for unvaccinated individuals when physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and parking lots. Consistent with CDC recommendations regarding areas of substantial or high transmission, visitors to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask inside all park buildings.
Reservation Only (Drive-in) Campgrounds - open. Campsites must be reserved through www.recreation.gov. See note below on restooms and water availability.
Hiker-biker Campsites - open. See note below on restooms and water availability.
Restrooms, Vault Toilets, and Portable Toilets - open at campgrounds, boat ramps, and day use areas. Restrooms will be cleaned twice weekly. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper as these items have been the subject of theft.
Water Fountains and Wells -openfor the season. See "Drinking Water Conditions" below for detailed water availability.
Fee collection at Great Falls has resumed. Credit, debit, or contactless payment (such as Apple Pay or Google Pay) ONLY. No cash or checks accepted. Digital passes are available via www.recreation.gov.
C&O Canal NHP may cancel permits and reservations and may not accept applications for demonstrations, special events, or park site reservations until further notice.
While the listed areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased, and services may be limited. When recreating, please follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities.
Closed. The wooden footbridge across the canal to access the Maryland Heights Trailhead is closed for repairs. Use the wooden footbridge upstream at mile 61.3.
Towpath Below Dargan Bend Boat Ramp (MP 64)
Towpath Detour. Due to a washout half a mile below the boat ramp, the pedestrian footbridge has been relocated 100 feet upstream from its original location along the towpath. Follow a designated pathway from the towpath, across the footbridge and stream, and back onto the towpath.
High Water Impacts, Towpath at Dam #4/Big Slackwater Boat Ramp (MP 84.4) to McMahon's Mill (MP 88). Road detour is needed during high water events. Expect rough and/or slick towpath conditions caused by water events. Bikers may need to dismount in some areas.
Drinking water is generally available from mid-April (around the 15th) to mid-November (around the 15th) at Hiker/Biker and Drive-In Campsite locations, approximately every 5 to 7 miles. Water quality tests are performed frequently by park staff to ensure drinkable water. Water availability is subject to change. Always bring plenty of water with you when camping as a backup option. Please plan your trip accordingly.
On Fletcher's Cove (MM 3.21) Off Lock 5 (MM 5)
Off Lock 10 (MM 8.8)
Off Carderock Recreation Area (MM 10.5)
Off Marsden Tract (MM 11.5) On Anglers Access (MM 12.2) On Great Falls Tavern Restrooms (MM 14.3)
Off Swains Lockhouse (MM 16.64)
Off Swains Campground (MM 16.7)
Off Seneca Creek/Rileys (MM 22)
Off Horsepen Branch Campsite (MM 26)
Off Chisel Branch Campsite (MM 30.5)
Off Turtle Run Campsite (MM 34.4)
Off Marble Quarrry Campsite (MM 38.2)
Off Indian Flats (MM 42.4)
Off Calico Rocks Campsite (MM 47.7)
Off Bald Eagle Island Campsite (MM 50.3) On Lock 34 (MM 61.5)
Off Huckleberry Hill Campsite (MM 62.9)
Off Antietam Creek Campground (MM 69.6)
Off Killiansburg Cave Campsite (MM 75.4)
Off Horseshoe Bend Campsite (MM 79.7)
Off Big Woods Campsite (MM 82.4)
Off Opequon Junction Campsite (MM 90.8)
Off Cumberland Valley Campsite (MM 95.2)
Off Cushwa Basin Restrooms (MM 99.7)
Off Jordan Junction Campsite (MM 101.2)
Off Four Locks Picnic Area (MM 108.9)
Off North Mountain Campsite (MM 109.2)
Off McCoys Ferry (MM 110)
Off Licking Creek Campsite (MM 116)
Off Little Pool Campsite (MM 120.7)
Off White Rock Campsite (MM 126.5)
Off Leopards Mill (MM 129.9)
Off Cacapon Junction (MM 133.6)
Off Indigo Neck (MM 139)
Off Fifteen Mile Creek Campground (MM 140.9)
Off Devils Alley (MM 144.5)
Off Stickpile Hill Campsite (MM 149.3)
Off Sorrel Ridge Campsite (MM 154.1)
Off Arbaugh (MM 155) - Out of Service until further notice.
Off Paw Paw (MM 156)
Off Purslane Run Campsite (MM 156.9)
Off Town Creek (MM 162)
Off Potomac Forks (MM 165)
Off Pigmans Ferry (MM 169)
Off Spring Gap (MM 173)
Off Irons Mountain Campsite (MM 175.4)
Off Evitts Creek Campsite (MM 180)
Off Cumberland Visitor Center (MM 184.5)
Due to construction projects, maintenance activities, and weather, water levels in the lower portions of the canal are likely to vary throughout the year.
This can affect a variety of activities throughout these areas.The park currently actively manages water levels within two main sections of the lower portions of the canal: between Lock 4 (MP 0.54) and Lock 5/Inlet Lock 1 (MP 5.02) and between Lock 17 (MP 13.99) and Lock 23/Inlet Lock 2 (22.12).
Below, the term “watered”* refers to the canal when it is holding water. The term, “de-watered”* refers to the canal when it is not holding water. When de-watered, it can be assumed the water level will not support boating in the canal. *Water levels can change unexpectedly.
Last Update: 11/22/2021
*seasonal de-watering is scheduled to occur the week of 11/29
Current Status Between Locks 3-4: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 4-5: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 5-6: De-watered
Current Status at Widewater: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 19-20: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 20-21: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 21-22: Watered
Current Status Between Locks 22-23: Watered
Section A of the Billy Goat Trail often closes due to flooding. Under normal conditions, the trail is closed when the gauge at Little Falls reaches 5 feet and reopens when the gauge falls to 4.8 feet. However, under certain circumstances, the trail may be closed at lower levels. Please call the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center at 301-767-3714 during regular business hours for the latest information on trail closures.