Fodor's Virginia and Maryland
The C&O Canal National Historical Park
The C&O Canal National Historical Park Review
This park extends along the Potomac River 184½ mi from Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland. Three miles south of the town of Potomac, the Great Falls Tavern, a museum and visitor center, serves as the park's local anchor. Barge trips and a vista on the powerful Great Falls are the draws here. A ½-mi, wheelchair-accessible walkway to the platform on Olmsted Island provides a spectacular view of the churning waters. Swimming and wading are prohibited, but you can fish (a Maryland license is required for anglers 16 and older) or climb the rocky Billy Goat Trail; only experienced boaters can go white-water kayaking below the falls—all along this stretch of the river, the currents are deadly. The tavern ceased food service long ago, so if you're hungry, head for the seasonal snack bar a few paces north or bring your own picnic.
- Address: 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854 | Map It
- Phone: 301/767–3714
- Cost: $5 per vehicle, $3 per person without vehicle, good for 3 days on MD and VA sides of park
- Hours: Park, daily sunrise–sunset; tavern and museum, daily 9–4:30; barge trips, May–Oct., Wed.–Sun. 11, 1:30, and 3
- Website: www.nps.gov/choh
- Location: Potomac
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