C and O Canal Photos: From Georgetown to Cumberland, MD

C & O Canal Georgetown

 Patrick Donovan/Getty Images

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C & O Canal) begins in Washington DC in Georgetown, where it was once used to transport goods to the nation's capital, and stretches 184-miles to Cumberland, Maryland. Today, the canal is a national historic park and the towpath serves as a prime destination for outdoor recreation. Enjoy the following photos and get a glimpse of the C & O Canal.

Above Photo: This stretch of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is located in the Georgetown district of Washington DC and is a popular tourist attraction. The National Park Service operates a visitor center at 1057 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DC, accessible from 30th St. 

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C & O Canal Towpath

Canal Towpath
© Richard T. Nowitz/Getty Images

The C & O Canal is one of the most scenic places in the Washington DC area. The towpath offers year-round recreation and is a popular destination for hiking and biking. 

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C & O Canal Lock

Bonnachoven / Wikimedia Commons

The C & O Canal operated from 1831 until 1924, extending 184.5 miles from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. There are 74 canal locks which were designed to raise and lower boats between stretches of water of different levels on the canal.

This photo shows a closeup of the C & O Canal Lock in Georgetown.

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The Georgetown Canal Boat

The Georgetown Canal Boat
Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Mule-drawn canal boat rides were offered in Georgetown from 1942 to 2010. The Georgetown, a replica of an original canal boat, was deemed unsafe and the tours were discontinued.  Mule-drawn canal boat rides are still available beginning at the Great Falls Tavern in Potomac, Maryland. 

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Great Falls Tavern: C & O Canal: Great Falls, Maryland

Great Falls Tavern
© Richard T. Nowitz/Getty Images

Great Falls Tavern, in Potomac, Maryland, was an operating restaurant during the 19th century. Today the historic site is operated by the National Park Service and serves as a museum and welcome center for the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The museum displays a pictorial history of the canal. 

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Great Falls Mule-Drawn Canal Boat

Canal Boat
Paul A. Souders/Corbis/VCG

Mule skinners lead mules pulling the C&O Canal Clipper barge along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Maryland. Canal boat rides beginning at Great Falls Tavern are available daily April through October. Participant learn about the history of the canal on a 45-minute tour. 

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C & O Canal Lockhouse

C & O Canal Lockhouse
© Trail Voice

Most of the locks along the C & O Canal have a lockhouse, a home where the lockkeeper and his family lived. The lockkeeper operated the canal lock and maintained it. Canal Quarters maintains 6 lockhouses that have been preserved and are available for an overnight stay. 

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C & O Canal Towpath

C & O Canal Towpath
&copy: Eric Foltz

 The C & O Canal Towpath is a beautiful trail and offers a peaceful green space to enjoy a break from busy city life. 

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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Western Maryland

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Western Maryland
© Remsberg

The terrain along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath changes and becomes more mountainous in Western Maryland. The area is less populated and the trail is much quieter than near Washington DC. Read more about Exploring the C & O Canal. 

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