Catoctin Aqueduct in autumn

Catoctin Aqueduct

Photo by Ben Prepelka,

The Crooked Aqueduct

Carrying travelers over Catoctin Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River near Brunswick, the 92-foot Catoctin Creek Aqueduct is unique on the C&O Canal Towpath for its elliptical central arch.  Built in 1834, it was known as the “crooked aqueduct” because of the jug-handled turns boats had to make to enter and exit, which sometimes resulted in scraped sides and damaged boats.  Unfortunately, the elliptical form proved less structurally sound than traditional semicircular arches and the central arch sagged badly by the time the canal was abandoned in 1924. Two-thirds of the aqueduct finally collapsed into the creek in 1973.  The National Park Service salvaged over 450 original stones, and, in 2011, meticulously repaired the structure and reopened it for the first time in nearly 40 years.     

When to visit

Open dawn to dusk, year-round.  The nearest canal town is Brunswick, about three miles west.  The nearest parking is adjacent to the lockhouse at Lock 29, near the Lander Boat Ramp.