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C & O Canal, Maryland Travel Guide

Complete Vacation, Recreation and Tourism Information

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, was largely created by the nation's first president, George Washington. It served as a means of transportation primarily for coal until 1924, and was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1938. It runs parallel to the Potomac River for approximately 185 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.

The question of what to do with the canal was put on hold until after WWII, and then again, until the early 70's, when it was turned into a National Historic Park. Today the park is nearly 20,000 acres, and offers good camping, hiking and biking opportunities. McCoy's Ferry, Fifteenmile Creek, Spring Gap and Little Orleans are popular camping and picnic sites, as well as canoe launching points along the canal.

The Paw Paw Tunnel is a brick tunnel that winds through a mountain, and the Tunnel Hill trail, which winds up to a 362 foot high look out post, offers panoramic views of Green Ridge State Park.

Between Georgetown and Seneca lies a 23 mile stretch of canal navigable via kayak or canoe. At nearby Fort Frederick State Park, additional hiking and biking trails, along with fishing and cross country skiing are available.


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