Photo Essay: Explore D.C.’s Hidden Oasis, The C&O Canal

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Spring blooms on a lake
(©Gary Anthes)
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Brick bridge surrounded by trees
(©Gary Anthes)

Many structures built for the canal still stand, making a picturesque backdrop for photos, walking and biking.

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Rushing Waters
(©Gary Anthes)
Rushing Waters

Summer brings cascading water and history buffs, looking for tours through time.

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Stone wall next to trees
(©Gary Anthes)
Walking Through Time

Well-maintained trails are lined with foliage, as are stone structures from the 18th to 19th centuries. Together, they create an outdoor museum for hikers and bikers alike.

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Forrest of autumn trees
(©Gary Anthes)
Fall Colors

Autumn paints the area in red, orange and gold.

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Canoe on a lake at sunset
(©Gary Anthes)

A lone explorer heads out in his canoe and is rewarded with a stunning fall sunset.

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Snow on houses in Georgetown
©Gary Anthes
Winter Descends

Snow blankets row houses lining the canal in Georgetown. Locals tread these picturesque paths, an oasis in the city, during all seasons.

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Trees and white house in spring
(©Gary Anthes)
Hints of Spring

Spring showers encourage tender, green shoots around this former lockhouse, hinting at what warmer temperatures will bring to the canal.

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Spring blooms on a lake
(©Gary Anthes)
In Full Bloom

A watercolor tapestry paints the canal in vivid greens and blues.

By Anne Kim-Dannibale

Credit George Washington for planting the seed that would become the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, a transportation link connecting the capital’s tidal basin with the riches of the Ohio River. The ensuing decades saw the nascent waterway grow until it stretched 184 miles deep into Virginia and Maryland, bringing with it years of prosperity, but also turmoil, for communities living along its banks. Though the canal’s days as a bustling commercial artery are long gone, Gary Anthes, author and photographer of “The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal,” reveals through his camera lens the beauty of the natural world sprouting up through the seasons among the abandoned houses, locks and aqueducts of this historic area. “I can’t think of another place where the forces of nature and man are so beautifully and seamlessly joined,” Anthes says. An award-winning photographer and writer who specializes in natural and architectural subjects, the father of two daughters lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, Caroline, and his labradoodle, Rosie. 

Anne Kim-Dannibale
About the author

Anne serves as the Washington, D.C.,&nb...