C and O Canal Towpath Great Falls to Old Angler’s Inn with Olmsted Island

Potomac, Maryland

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Scenery, exercise, and glimpses of history—the C&O Canal Towpath has it all, and it is almost completely level. This close-in segment in Montgomery County features a waterfall, a visitor center, and a towpath used by mules to pull barges in the 1700s. After parking, find your way to the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center to check out the museum and get a map. Rangers are usually available to answer questions about the hiking trails. Originally, in the 1820s, the building was a lockhouse where canal operators lowered and raised the locks for canal boats carrying coal upstream from Maryland’s western counties south to Georgetown.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Washington, DC

DESCRIPTION FROM:

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Washington, DC

by Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper (Menasha Ridge Press)

Scenery, exercise, and glimpses of history—the C&O Canal Towpath has it all, and it is almost completely level. This close-in segment in Montgomery County features a waterfall, a visitor center, and a towpath used by mules to pull barges in the 1700s.

After parking, find your way to the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center to check out the museum and get a map. Rangers are usually available to answer questions about the hiking trails. Originally, in the 1820s, the building was a lockhouse where canal operators lowered and raised the locks for canal boats carrying coal upstream from Maryland’s western counties south to Georgetown.

© 2017 Renee Sklarew and Rachel Cooper /Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking, Walking
Nearby City: Potomac
Distance: 5.4 miles
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Features: Waterfalls
Accessibility: Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Local Contacts: Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 301-767-3714; nps.gov/grfa. Old Angler’s Inn, open 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5:30–9:30 p.m.; 301-365-2425 oldanglersinn.com
Local Maps: National Park Service, tinyurl.com/candomap
Restrictions: Trail can be slippery when wet or icy.
Attractions: Water, woodlands, thundering waterfalls
Driving Directions: Directions to C & O Canal Towpath: Great Falls to Old Angler’s Inn with Olmsted Island

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Apr 2018