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The year 2021 is the 50th Anniversary of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park becoming part of the National Park System. This park preserves the historic 19th Century transportation canal from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. Since 2019, it has been ranked as the 11th most visited United States National Park, with Great Falls being the most visited location along the canal's 184.5 mile-long towpath. Many visitors stop at the Great Falls Tavern but never explore more than the canal's first 14.5 miles.
No road follows along beside the C&O Canal. For that reason, the towpath is most popular with hikers and bikers. However, I decided to stay out of the city and explore some of the lesser-visited C&O Canal highlights. Wanting to see as much as possible and knowing that I didn't have time to see it all, I decided to drive to different locations along the canal, doing a series of short hikes along the way.
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