Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park - MD Travel Blog› entry 924 of 1090 › view all entries
It has become almost a tradition for me... Easter -> visit Washington DC! And that is what happened. During my journey to my hotel in Virginia I wanted to visit the Maryland Section of Great Falls Park. I already visited the Virginia side and site of this beautiful area twice (see here and here). The Maryland section is called Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park.
In my first blog about the site I mentioned the Patowmack Canal, a small canal at the Virginia shore of the Potomac River used to navigate small cargo ships along the forceful rapids. The Patowmack Canal was closed in 1828 when a brand new and much broader canal was constructed at the Maryland shore of the river: the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was a marvel of engineering. The 296.9-km (184.5-mile) long canal connected the city of Cumberland in Maryland with Washington DC and was mainly meant to transport coal. It negotiates a height difference of 184 meters (605 ft) using 74 locks.
The canal opened in 1833 and operated until 1924, when a huge flood damaged the sytem. The slowly decaying system was purchased by the National Park Service in 1938. After a plan to use the land to construct a scenic parkway (fortunately) failed it was decided to restore the canal, making it a perfect hike, bike, and fishing spot. The locks in the lower section still operate and the NPS operates a touristic boat tour in this section.
Due to some traffic jams I unfortunately arrived only 70 minutes before sunset. My focus was primary the Great Falls, which can be visited closer than from the Virginia side. I will have to go back for some more detailed canal exploring.
More pictures below!