The idea of photographing every structure along the C&O Canal is a daunting one. I think I can make a run at it with about ten more years and a few hundred gallons of gasoline, but this particular waste weir is definitely worth the trouble.
For starters, waste weirs are structures along the canal that were used to send excess water back into the river. Today, they are generally marked by a small cement bridge on the towpath, making them easier to spot than some of the better-hidden culverts.
This weir is unusual because this stretch of the canal sits well above the river, and the water once diverted from the canal plunged over a high rock directly below the gate and rapidly made its way to the Potomac. With a little bit of imagination, it’s easy to picture a pretty substantial waterfall just below the base of the canal. Unfortunately, the C&O is dry in this area, and any water exiting via the waste weir would be little more than a trickle. Nevertheless, seeing this structure fully is well worth the scramble over the bank.