Marsden Tract Group Campsite

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

The Marsden Tract Group Campground was built by scouts to provide access to larger campsites within easy commuting distance of the D.C. Metro area. It is located at Mile 11.5 on the C&O Canal Towpath, between the Carderock Recreation Area and Anglers Inn. The group campsites are nestled in the woods between the Canal and the Potomac River and they are a short distance from many recreational opportunities. Fishing, rock climbing, paddling and hiking are but a few possibilities while staying at Marsden Tract.

The campground has six group campsites; all will accommodate up to 30 campers at each site. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. Portable toilets and potable water are located a short walk up the towpath and across the footbridge (water may not be available during cold winter months). No vehicle traffic is allowed on the towpath and access to the campsites is by foot only. Carderock Recreation Area or Angler's Inn are the two closest parking areas. Each is a one-mile walk respectively. There is a footbridge over the towpath off of MacArthur Blvd. near the interesection of Brickyard Rd. This area may be used to off-load gear and be walked down the hill, however overnight parking in this area is not permitted.

Need to Know

Natural Features

Marsden Tract Group Campsite is just south of the Great Falls of the Potomac and Mather Gorge. These two stunning features provide an excellent example of local geology while showing the sheer force and power of nature.

Nearby Attractions

Marsden Tract Group Campsite is located about 14 miles outside of Washington, D.C., providing affordable camping near the nation's capital. Many campers will base out of Marsden to see the sites such as the Smithsonian Institution, National Mall, Capitol and The White House.


The most popular activity for Marsden Tract campers is hiking the three sections (A, B and C) of the Billy Goat Trail, one of the most popular and challenging rock hikes in the east. There are also many woodland trails for beginners and experts alike. Fishing is also a popular pastime in both the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Be sure to acquire a Maryland fishing license for those age 16 or older. Virginia licenses are approved for fishing in the Potomac only.

Changes & Cancellations


A cancellation is the release of a confirmed reservation prior to the start of the defined late cancellation time frame which results in non-use by the original customer. 


Camping and Day Use Facilities

Cancellations up to 2 days before a reservation start date incur a $10.00 cancellation fee.

Late Cancellations or Cancellations within the Cut-off Window

• Individual Campsites: A customer who cancels a reservation the day before or on the day of arrival will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee (not to exceed the total paid for the original reservation). Cancellations for a one-night reservation will forfeit the entire amount paid and will not be subject to an additional service fee.

• Group Facility: Customers who cancel a group overnight facility reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee.

• Group Day Use Area: Customers who cancel a group day-use facility reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will forfeit the total day-use fee.

Contact Information


Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

You may park at either the Carderock Recreation Area or the gravel lots across from the Anglers Inn Restaurant. We recommend Carderock as it is slightly closer to walk the towpath to the campsite from there. Search "Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot" on Google Maps for the best directions.

Available Campsites

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