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C&O Canal Trailhead (Mile Marker 55)

by Gabby

Detailed Information

Along the 184.5 miles of the canal are 74 lift locks. These locks were put into place to help boats overcome the 605-foot elevation change between Georgetown and Cumberland. The C&O Canal is like a staircase, canal boats traveled along the flat sections and used the locks to take a “step up or down” about eight feet. The locks typically had hand-operated miter gates that were simple and followed Leonardo da Vinci’s original 1485 design. Entering the lock was the most demanding part of canalling.

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