Current Park Conditions

 

Towpath and Park Conditions


Milepost 1–25

Including Georgetown, Washington D.C.; Bethesda, MD; Potomac, MD; Seneca, MD

  • Georgetown Locks 3 and 4 (MP 0.5)

  • Billy Goat Trail (MP 13.8)

    • Open, Section A
    • Closed, Section B, due to trail damage. Opening date TBD.
    • Open, Section C
  • Great Falls Tavern Area (MP 14.3)

  • Towpath Detour, Due to construction, the towpath between Lock 18 (MP 14.09) and Lock 19 (MP 14.17) is closed with a detour in place, starting 11/4 until the work is complete. The closure is expected to continue through winter 2019. The detour parallels the towpath on the berm side of the canal and connects to the towpath via bridges at Lock 18 and Lock 19. For more information.
  • Open, Olmsted Island and Great Falls Overlook.
  • Open, Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center— hours
  • Closed, Mule-drawn boat rides. Boat rides resume in 2020. For more
 

Milepost 25–50

Including Poolesville, MD; Whites Ferry, MD; Dickerson, MD; Point of Rocks, MD
  • Dickerson Conservation Park to Monocacy Aqueduct (MP 39.5 to MP 42.2)

  • Towpath Closure/Delay, Beginning Monday, 11/18, the towpath between the Dickerson Conservation Area (MP 41) and Lock 27 (MP 41.5) will experience delays due to towpath resurfacing work. Through-riders/hikers should expect to wait up to one hour to safely pass through the area but should prepare for varied delay times. Flaggers will be stationed to control traffic at each access point of the work site. Note: Lock 27 is around 0.7 miles downstream from the Monocacy Aqueduct, where parking and restrooms are available.
 

Milepost 50–100

Including Brunswick, MD; Harpers Ferry, WV; Shepherdstown, WV; Downsville, MD; Williamsport, MD
  • Culvert 82 (MP 52.5)

  • Towpath Detour. There is a short towpath detour around the washed out area - follow the signage off the towpath and onto a designated pathway that leads to a temporary low-water* crossing across the creek. Get back onto a designated pathway that leads back up to the towpath. Follow signage and dismount bikes before crossing.*During high water events, the crossing may be under water and unsafe to cross.
When high water occurs, please contact Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle at 304-876-3000 or River and Trail Outfitters at 301-834-9950 to arrange for a shuttle around the detour.
  • 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.
  • Williamsport Area (MP 100)

  • Change in traffic pattern, Towpath access to Williamsport Visitor Center is avalaible at the Railroad Lift Bridge, including a new stairway with a low bike rail. Contact the visitor center for questions. Learn more about the Conococheague Aqueduct
  • Open, Williamsport Visitor Center
 
A map showing the detour around the Little Tonoloway bridge closure.
The detour map shows alternate parking areas and towpath access. The bridge is closed to vehicles, but the boat ramp can still be accessed by pedestrian traffic.

NPS Map | C&O Canal NHP Engineering

Milepost 100–150

Including Big Pool, MD; Hancock, MD; Little Orleans, MD
  • Little Tonoloway Boat Ramp (MP 124.33)

    • Closed, to vehicle access to the boat ramp/day use area. Alternate boat ramps include 15 Mile Creek (MP 140.09) and McCoys Ferry (MP 110.43). Read more.
 

Milepost 150–184.5

Including Paw Paw, WV; Oldtown, MD; Cumberland, MD
 

Drinking Water Conditions

Remote water faucets ON for the season. Please see below for individual faucet statuses.

Drinking water is available from mid-April to mid-November 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 will begin to be turned off 11/15. Please plan your trip accordingly.

On Lock 5 (MM 5)
On Lock 10 (MM 8.8)
Off Carderock Recreation Area (MM 10.5)
On Marsden Tract (MM 11.5)
On Anglers Access (MM12.2)
On Swains Lockhouse (MM 16.64)
On Swains Campground (MM 16.7)
On Seneca Creek/Rileys (MM 22)
On Horsepen Branch Campsite (MM 26)
On Chisel Branch Campsite (MM 30.5)
On Turtle Run Campsite (MM 34.4)
On Marble Quarrry Campsite (MM 38.2)
On Indian Flats (MM 42.4)
On Calico Rocks Campsite (MM 47.7)
On Bald Eagle Island Campsite (MM 50.3)
On Lock 34 (MM 61.5)
Off Huckleberry Hill Campsite (MM 62.9)
On Antietam Creek Campground (MM 69.6)
On Killiansburg Cave Campsite (MM 75.4)
On Horseshoe Bend Campsite (MM 79.7)
On Big Woods Campsite (MM 82.4)
On Opequon Junction Campsite (MM 90.8)
On Cumberland Valley Campsite (MM 95.2)
Off Jordan Junction Campsite (MM 101.2)
On Four Locks Picnic Area (MM 108.9)
On North Mountain Campsite (MM 109.2)
Off McCoys Ferry (MM 110)
On Licking Creek Campsite (MM 116)
Off Little Pool Campsite (MM 120.7)
On White Rock Campsite (MM 126.5)
On Leopards Mill (MM 129.9)
Off Cacapon Junction (MM 133.6)
On Indigo Neck (MM 139)
On Fifteen Mile Creek Campground (MM 140.9)
On Devils Alley (MM 144.5)
Off Stickpile Hill Campsite (MM 149.3)
On Sorrel Ridge Campsite (MM 154.1)
On Arbaugh (MM 155)
Off Paw Paw (MM 156)
On Purslane Run Campsite (MM 157.4)
On Town Creek (MM 162)
On Potomac Forks (MM 165)
On Pigmans Ferry (MM 169)
On Spring Gap (MM 173)
Off Irons Mountain Campsite (MM 175.4)
On Evitts Creek Campsite (MM 180)

 

Water Levels in Lower Sections of the Canal

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 20 (MP 14.3) and Lock 23/Inlet Lock 2 (22.12). The water levels are primarily managed through the opening and closing of paddle gates on inlet lock gates, which control water entering the canal from the Potomac River, and waste weirs, which help establish the water level in the canal by draining excess water back into the river.

Open* is when the inlet lock paddle gates are open, allowing water to flow into the canal. When open, it can be assumed the water level can support boating in the canal. Closed* is when the inlet lock paddle gates are closed, blocking off water flow from entering into the canal. When closed, it can be assumed the water level will not support boating in the canal. *Water levels can change unexpectedly.

Current Status Locks 4-5: Open
Current Status Locks 20-23: Between Locks 22-23 - Open. All Others - Closed, due to construction and/or adverse conditions

 
A view of high water on the Potomac River at Olmsted Island Overlook.
Raging Potomac River well above flood stage at Great Falls Overlook, summer 2018

NPS Photo

River Conditions

The Park monitors Potomac River levels to determine when portions of the towpath, hiking trails or parking areas might be affected by rising river levels. By visiting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, you can see a timeline of expected river rises and crests to help plan your visit to the park.

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.

 
 

Last updated: November 14, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740

Phone:

301-739-4200

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