Little Orleans is located at the southern end of Allegany County between Washington County and Garrett County, Maryland. It is a small, unincorporated community on the Potomac River and at the mouth of Fifteen Mile Creek. It is surrounded by mountains, streams, creeks, and rivers.
It is adjacent to the Green Ridge National Forest, the second largest forest in Maryland with 46,000 acres that offer semi-primitive camping, hiking trails, and an 18-mile off road vehicle trail.
Little Orleans is the second oldest town in Allegany County, after Oldtown, Maryland, dating to the early 1800’s. It was once a thriving shipping area where lumber and wooden barrels, which were locally made) were shipped on the C & O Canal via barges and, later on, by railroad cars belonging to the Western Maryland Railroad when tracks reached the area in 1904.
The 1930 census reports approximately 770 people lived in the Orleans District and several worked for the steam railroad, along with farmers, laborers, auto mechanics, hotel owners, clerks, waitresses, sawyers, blacksmiths, coopers, teachers, other jobs, and at least one doctor. The Little Orleans Post Office was created in 1885, is housed in a small building only a couple miles from Little Orleans proper, and is on High Germany Road, a small and narrow road that is typical of the area today.
It is the home of the Little Orleans’s Campground, Bill’s Place, and a portion of the C & O Canal, which runs parallel to the Potomac River. The Little Orleans store is now Bill’s Place, owned by Bill Schoenadel. Previously called Callahan’s Store, it was moved to its current location from next to the canal. The original store burned down in the 1990’s and Schoenadel rebuilt it with a log building. Although a bit unorthodox concerning hours, if Bill is there, you can buy food, fishing, and hunting items or have dinner prepared for you.
Little Orleans Campground and Park Area has several campsites and cabins on 222 acres for overnighters and a large area where people stay year round. Each site has electric, water, and sewer available. There is a large play area for children and a camp store, swimming pools, and game room.
The C & O Canal also has a camping area for a minimal fee; however, there is no electric, water, or sewer hookups. Water is available from a pump and bathroom facilities consist of port-a-potties. The C & O Canal offers hiking, bicycle riding, and horseback riding opportunities. It is also a great place for taking photographs and watching the abundance of wildlife that lives there some of which include whitetail deer, turkey, squirrels, turtles, and ducks.
The Potomac River at this location is great for swimming, boating, and fishing. There is also a boat ramp that is free to use. Types of fish include bluegill, sunfish, bass, trout, and tiger muskies.
It is also the site for the East Coast Sturgis on Apple Mountain in Little Orleans. This year will be the sixth Annual East Coast Sturgis Motorcycle Rally when thousands of motorcyclists from around the nation congregate for friendship, great food, games, music, and fun all around. The East Coast Sturgis is the eastern version of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held in Sturgis, South Dakota. Look for more information at http://www.eastcoaststurgis.com/.
Little Orleans is approximately a 2 hour drive/ride from the center of Baltimore or Washington DC. From Pittsburg, PA, it is about 2 1/2 hours and approximately 3 hours from Richmond, VA. From Cumberland, the main road to get to Little Orleans is off Interstate #68 at exit #68 onto Orleans Road headed south. From Hagerstown, take Interstate #70 to Interstate #68 at Hancock, MD towards Cumberland to exit #68, cross the bridge headed south on Orleans Road. Little Orleans is approximately 8 miles.
East Coast Sturgis
Green Ridge State Forest
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park