The towpath was severely damaged by flooding in January 1996. In 1998, TE funds were awarded to the National Park Service to repair the towpath in Maryland.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, MD. A total of $2,673,961 in TE money has been spent on this project, with five TE awards totaling $1,027,658 spent on the Washington, D.C., section and an additional $1,646,303, from two TE awards, spent on the Maryland section of the C&O Canal. The TE awards went toward rehabilitating various segments of the canal and the adjacent towpath and constructing several pedestrian bridges, which provide pedestrians and cyclists with safe access points to the towpath. On several of these projects, the National Park Service was a key partner.
Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a transportation system during the Canal Era. In addition, the canal's towpath provides a nearly level, continuous trail through the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley. The canal towpath trail connects to the Grand Allegheny Passage rail-trail, creating a bicycle route connecting DC all the way to Pittsburgh, PA. Most of the annual visitation is concentrated in the first 14 miles of the canal -- from Georgetown to Great Falls. Solitude and quiet are easily found in the upper areas of the canal much of the year.