The C&O Canal Trust is the official non-profit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and works in partnership with the National Park Service to protect, restore, and promote the canal. The Trust seeks to ensure the Park’s  natural, historical, and recreational potential is fully realized.

Park Photos

River Center at Lock 8 Guides

The River Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from May through October, from 10 am  to  2 pm and operated by volunteers from the Potomac Conservancy. Stop in for a tour, to browse educational exhibits, and to speak with friendly volunteer guides. Throughout the season, the Conservancy also hosts a variety of hands-on appreciation and restoration activities at the River Center. All activities are free and open to the public. Located along the C&O Canal towpath, the River Center at Lock 8 exists among potentially difficult terrain and therefore has limited access. We apologize for the inconvenience. Check our online calendar for River Center and other Conservancy activities.

If you are interested in becoming a River Center Guide, please contact Katie Blackman at or (301)608-1188x213

About The River Center

Housed in an historic lockhouse along the C&O Canal, the River Center at Lock 8 offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the Canal and the future of the Potomac River. Visitors can explore the River Center to learn about the Potomac River, the C&O Canal, nearby recreational opportunities, and how they can help the Potomac Conservancy protect the health, beauty, and enjoyment of these special resources. The River Center is located halfway between the NPS interpretive centers in Georgetown and Great Falls. Each year, as many as 250,000 visitors pass its front door and have the opportunity to:

  • Learn About the Canal’s History: Visitors can explore educational displays about the history of the C&O Canal, the lockhouses, and the families who once lived in them.
  • Take Part in Hands-on Learning Opportunities: Potomac Conservancy organizes educational and cultural events for citizens of all ages.
  • Lend a Hand in River Restoration Projects: The River Center at Lock 8 offers a readily accessible area for river restoration activities, such as invasive plant removal efforts and trash cleanups.