Best Places to Access the C & O Canal Towpath
This map shows the full length of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C & O Canal) which extends 184.5 miles from Georgetown in Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD. The Towpath along the canal is a popular place for bicycling and jogging. There are six visitors centers along the way, marked by the green and black hiker icons on the map, and many interesting points of interest. While there are dozens of places to access the towpath throughout the region, the visitor centers offer the most parking spaces and other amenities. National Park Service rangers and volunteers are available to answer questions and lead guided activities. See the visitor center addresses below and additional maps on the following pages to get a closer view of the locations.
Map User Tips: The green line shows the southern half of the canal towpath; the blue line shows the northern half; and the red line shows the Big Slackwater detour that connects the southern and northern routes via paved roads.
C & O Canal Visitor Centers
- Georgetown - 1057 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DC (202) 653-5190 (currently closed for construction)
- Great Falls Tavern - 11710 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD (301) 767-3714
- Brunswick - 40 West Potomac Street Brunswick, MD (301) 834-7100
- Williamsport - 205 W. Potomac St., Williamsport, MD (301) 582-0813
- Hancock - 439 E. Main St., Hancock, MD (301) 678-5463
- Cumberland - Western Maryland Railway Station, Room 100, 13 Canal St., Cumberland, MD (301) 722-8226
C & O Canal Washington DC Area
The C & O Canal runs parallel to the Potomac River, beginning in Washington DC and ending in western Maryland. The Georgetown Visitor Center is located 1057 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DC, which is south of M Street NW, between 30th and 31st Sts. See a map of Georgetown. You can also access the towpath at several points heading north along Canal Road. The next visitor center is 17 miles to the north - the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, located at 11710 MacArthur Blvd, in Potomac, MD. This is the largest and most popular destination along the canal. For more information, see a Visitors Guide to Great Falls Park. Heading 54 miles further north into Frederick County is the Brunswick Visitor Center at 40 West Potomac Street Brunswick, MD.
C & O Canal Towpath Mid-Section
The C & O Canal Towpath continues north to Brunswick, where the visitor center is located at 40 West Potomac Street Brunswick, MD and then to Williamsport (near Hagerstown) with the visitor center located at 205 W. Potomac St., Williamsport, MD.
C & O Canal Towpath Cumberland
The C & O Canal Towpath continues west to Hancock where the visitor center is located at 439 E. Main St., Hancock, MD and then ends at Cumberland with another sizable visitor center located at the Western Maryland Railway Station, Room 100, 13 Canal St., Cumberland, MD. For more information about the area, see a guide to the Top 10 Western Maryland Attractions.
To learn more about the sites and history of the national historic park, read Exploring the C & O Canal.