The Oberland Canal extends from the port of Eblag (Ebling) through Lake Druzno, which is connected by the River Elblag to the Vistula Lagoon on the Baltic Sea, and then along the River Drweca and Lake Jeziorak to the city of Ostroda (Osterode). The main line is 82 km long but the total system, with branches, extends for 130 km. In the 19th century the region lay in East Prussia and the canal was designed by the architect Georg Steenke (1801-84) of Konigsberg (Kaliningrad). Construction began in 1844 and the canal opened in 1860.
Its outstanding feature is the succession of inclined planes, to a design based on those on the Morris Canal in the United States, on which cradles mounted on four-wheel bogies raise and lower boats between levels. There were four on the original waterway at Jelenie (Hirschfeld), Olesnica (Schonfeld), Katy (Kanten) and Buczyniec (Buchwalde), and a fifth at Calony Nowe (Neue Kussfeld) was built to replace a flight of locks in 1885. The canal can accommodate vessels up to 24.48 m long and 2.98 m wide.
The canal remains in use for recreational cruising and trip boats.