The C&O Canal, or Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, is a 184.5-mile long canal that stretches from Georgetown in Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal was built in the 19th century as a means of transporting coal, timber, and other goods between the Potomac River and the Ohio River. The canal was in operation from 1831 to 1924, and today it serves as a popular recreational area for hikers, bikers, and boaters.
The C&O Canal National Historical Park was established in 1971 to preserve the canal and its historical structures. The park is administered by the National Park Service and is home to a variety of recreational and educational opportunities.
One of the most popular activities at the C&O Canal is hiking or biking the towpath, a flat, gravel path that runs alongside the canal. The towpath is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride, and it offers a variety of scenic views of the canal and the surrounding countryside. The towpath also passes by a number of historic structures, including lockhouses, aqueducts, and bridges, which provide a glimpse into the history of the canal.
In addition to the towpath, the C&O Canal National Historical Park also offers a variety of other recreational opportunities, such as fishing, boating, and picnicking. The park is home to a number of fishing spots, and it is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and sunfish. Boaters can explore the canal in canoes, kayaks, or small motorboats, and there are several boat launch sites located along the canal. Picnic areas are also available throughout the park, and they offer a great place to relax and enjoy a meal with family and friends.
The C&O Canal National Historical Park is also home to a number of educational and interpretive programs. The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs, such as guided hikes and canal boat rides, which provide visitors with an in-depth look at the history and significance of the canal. The park also has several visitor centers, which feature exhibits and displays on the history of the canal and the surrounding region.
Whether you are interested in hiking or biking the towpath, fishing in the canal, or learning about the history of the area, there is something for everyone at the C&O Canal.
In 1917, Thomas Edison produced a silent film showing the journey down the C&O Canal to Washington, DC. This remastered video cleans up much of the damage which was present in the National Archives version, and adds several pieces of period music.