Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park – Hancock

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park - HancockThe C&O Canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, MD. The canal operated from 1828-1924 as a transportation route, primarily hauling coal from western Maryland to the port of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal’s role as a transportation system during the Canal Era.

In addition, the canal’s towpath provides a nearly level, continuous trail through the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley. Every year millions of visitors come to hike or bike the C&O Canal in order to enjoy the natural, cultural, and recreational opportunities available.

Location: The C&O Canal stretches from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Hancock is located in Hancock, Maryland.

  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park MapField Studies available: Water Canaries, Watershed Watchdogs, Exotic Invaders, Don’t Get Sedimental
  • Habitat: Lowland forest; river/stream bank
  • Terrain: Approximately a 5-7 minute walk from the main parking lot. Steep and rocky trail to the stream’s edge; trail can be quite muddy in places. Sparse vegetation at the stream bank, including poison ivy. Less than a three-foot bank in most places to access stream bed. Stream shallow under normal water conditions – mid -calf or lower. It is a river, so it is deep, but the section we work in is shallow.
  • Facilities: Restrooms at Visitor Center, 5-7 minute walk
  • Not suitable for the disabled.


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