The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, commonly known as the C&O Canal, is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts to explore a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

The Canal stretches for 184.1 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD, mostly shadowing the Potomac River.  Today, the C&O Canal National Historical Park preserves the site of this former canal, a national park that has become an ideal place to explore biking, kayaking, tubing, and history in Frederick County, MD.

 

C O Canal Lockhouse 28 3


 

Biking

The C&O Canal Towpath is a multi-use trail that runs parallel to the canal and provides a flat surface for a variety of cyclists. The towpath’s flat surface makes it the perfect biking trail for kids and adults of varying abilities.

 

Bikers on the C&O Canal towpath near Brunswick, MD

The trail has an abundance of shade, diverse landscapes, and connects to historical landmarks such as Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The C&O Canal National Historical Park houses 31 hiker-biker campsites and 5 drive-in campsites. In Brunswick, MD, the Brunswick Family Campground is a privately owned campground right on the towpath.

 

Brunswick Family Campground

The campground offers hot showers for campers and has half day and full day bike rental options.

 

Bike Rentals on the Canal

The towpath is the perfect option for bikers who are interested in pursuing a multi-day biking trip, as well as casual day trippers. Be sure to explore the nearby Canal Towns of Brunswick and Point of Rocks while on your ride! 

 

Aerial Main Street photos


 

Kayaking

The C&O Canal runs right along the Potomac River, making it the ideal location to embark on a mellow kayaking adventure. River & Trail Outfitters offers a variety of Potomac River kayaking and canoeing trips out of Brunswick, MD.

They also offer specialty canoe and kayak trips where guests enjoy a paddle on the Potomac River, followed by exploring a local brewery or winery.

 

Kayaking Adventures with River and Trail Outfitters


 

Tubing

For those seeking a more leisurely river activity, tubing on the Potomac River right next to the towpath is the perfect choice. The gentle current allows tubers to float downstream at a relaxed pace while taking in the natural beauty along the way.

Tubing is the perfect way to relax on the river and enjoy being in nature. River & Trail Outfitters offers a Potomac Peaceful tubing trip, the perfect options for friends and families of all ages.

 

Tubing on the Potomac


 

History

The C&O Canal was of great historical importance during the Civil War. The US Army used the canal to transport supplies and soldiers, while Confederates worked to damage the canal to disrupt the Union’s supply chain. The Canal also shadows the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, one of the first railroads in the United States. 

 

Railroad and canal near Brunswick, MD

Along the C&O Canal, you will find landmarks of historical significance, such as Point of Rocks, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Monocacy Aqueduct, Noland's Ferry, Lockhouse 29, the Catoctin Aqueduct, and many more.

 

Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal


 

The C&O Canal attracts outdoor enthusiasts with its diverse selection of outdoor recreation activities. Whether you are seeking a relaxing float, a peaceful paddle, an exhilarating bike ride, or a scenic walk, the C&O Canal promises an immersive experience in nature and history.

As always, remember to dispose of trash properly, leave what you find, and respect wildlife and other visitors while you explore our nation’s public lands.


 

Explore More Along the C&O Canal in Frederick County