Monocacy River Aqueduct

Monocacy Aqueduct

Heading upstream from Georgetown, the Monocacy River Aqueduct is the second of eleven such structures on the C&O Canal.  It’s located just upstream from mile marker 42, and at 560′ feet in length, it is easily the longest of the aqueducts.  It contains seven arches, each spanning 54′, and a look from the top (heading downstream) offers a wonderful view of the Potomac River–which by this stage of its course is a large and powerful stream.

An interesting tree, with the aqueduct in the background

The Monocacy River is the Potomac’s largest tributary on the Maryland side between Cumberland and Georgetown.  With this in mind, flooding and debris are problems that have plagued the aqueduct over the years.  The seven supports catch much of the floating debris as it heads downstream, and this puts a tremendous strain on the structure.  At one time, the aqueduct was fronted with steel supports, much like those seen on the Sideling Hill Creek and Tonoloway Creek aqueducts.


At one time, the Monocacy River Aqueduct was considered to be one of America’s eleven most endangered historical structures, and in 1998 then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was among the advocates who spoke out in favor of its preservation.  With the wheels set in motion, the aqueduct’s restoration was completed in 2005, and it now stands as perhaps the most impressive structure on the C&O Canal.  For those interested, Robert and Elizabeth Kapsch’s Monocacy Aqueduct on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal tells the aqueduct’s story from its beginnings to present times.  It’s available at the C&O Canal NHP’s visitor centers.

Monocacy River Aqueduct/View from upstream

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Olen Schmidt on April 2, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    I visited the Point Of Rocks today and noticed a sign for the Monocacy Aqueduct. I would very much like to visit it….however exactly where is it located????
    an address would be helpful.


    Olen Schmidt
    April 2, 2015


    • Posted by LevelWalker on April 2, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      As the towpath is concerned, Monocacy is about 6 miles downstream from Point of Rocks. By car, you’d take Rt. 28 to Mouth of Monocacy Road. It’s definitely among the most impressive structures on the canal!


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