Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Washington, D.C. Sights

C&O Canal

  • 1057 Thomas Jefferson St. NW Map It
  • Georgetown
  • Park/Playground
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 05/23/2014

Fodor's Review

George Washington was one of the first to advance the idea of a canal linking the Potomac with the Ohio River across the Appalachians. Work started on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in 1828, and when it opened in 1850 its 74 locks linked Georgetown with Cumberland, Maryland, 185 miles to the northwest (still short of its intended destination). Lumber, coal, iron, wheat, and flour moved up and down the canal, but it was never as successful as its planners had hoped it

would be. Many of the bridges spanning the canal in Georgetown were too low to allow anything other than fully loaded barges to pass underneath, and competition from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad eventually spelled an end to profitability. Today the canal is part of the National Park System; walkers and cyclists follow the towpath once used by mules, while canoeists paddle the canal's calm waters. You could walk or pedal to the end of the canal, nearly 200 miles away in Cumberland, Maryland, but most cyclists stop at Great Falls, Maryland, 13 miles from where the canal starts.

Read More

Sight Information


Georgetown Canal Visitor Center, 1057 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20007, United States

Map It


202-653–5190-Georgetown; 301-767–3714-Great Falls


Sight Details:

  • Visitor center: June–Aug., weekends 9:30–4:30

Updated 05/23/2014


Map View

Map of

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss