Archive for the ‘Culverts’ Category

Culvert #231 (Collier Run)

Collier Run Outflow

Collier Run Outflow

The Collier Run Culvert (mi. 173.78) is unique because the upstream opening can be seen from Maryland Route 51.  Heading from Cumberland, it comes into view just prior to reaching the Spring Gap Drive-in Camp.  The stream runs pretty deep both coming into and exiting the culvert, and the structure itself is in excellent condition.  I honestly didn’t plan on exploring the C&O Canal today, but coming back from Morgantown, WV, I was getting really tired of the unusually high amount of traffic on I-68.  I decided to take the back way into Martinsburg, and I would like to give credit to Candee for spotting this incredible structure as I was flying down the road.

Shootin' the tube!

Shootin’ the tube!

Culvert 103 (70.38)

Looks like new!

Looks like new!

Culvert #103 is a hidden–and nearly forgotten–piece of work from the 1830s that goes under the canal at mi. 70.38.  It handles the runoff from an extremely small wet-weather stream and can be seen from the road at a bend about a half-mile from the roadside parking for the Antietam Aqueduct (heading toward Shepherdstown).  The downstream wall is in excellent condition–as is the upstream, although it is covered in moss.  Crossing the road from the canal, there is something that looks like the remnants of an old spring, and when water flows there (which appears to be rarely), it runs through a stone sluice of sorts into a tube under the road.  From there, it enters into this culvert.  The lack of flow entering the culvert makes it one of the best preserved canal structures that I have seen in a long time, so if you like your history nearly intact, keep an eye out for culvert #103 when passing through the Antietam area.

There's not much happening inside either

There’s not much happening inside either

Purslane Run Culvert

Purslane Run Culvert

Purslane Run Culvert

The Purslane Run Culvert is located at mile 157.26 and is numbered as culvert #211.  It’s about a two mile walk upstream from the Paw Paw Tunnel, and is one of many reasons to head in that direction for a hike when exiting the tunnel campground.  In the Fall, there are several fields nearby, and numerous round hay bales and colorful leaves form a breathtaking backdrop when looking toward the river.  The pool below the outflow tube is fairly deep and contains minnows, but the beautiful masonry work on the downstream end hides a modern-looking concrete inflow tube just on the other side of the old railroad bed.

Both upstream and downstream from the culvert, the old Western Maryland Railroad follows the canal for several miles.  Crossing over the canal from the culvert and taking a right (heading downstream), the old railway has been converted into a gravel road, and there is an NPS gate and limited parking for those wishing to visit the canal.  I’ve read that when the canal and railroad ran side-by-side, the train engineers used to blow their whistles and frighten the canal mules.  This seems to be a very likely spot for those fun and games.

As stated, many people forego this area and head toward the Paw Paw tunnel.  Granted. the tunnel is an amazing sight, but I have seen deer, turkeys, and blue herons (closer to Little Cacapon) when walking in this area in the past.  It’s a great walk, and I highly recommend it!

Looking down Purslane Run from the towpath

Looking down Purslane Run from the towpath

Two More Culverts: 221 & 215

Pigmans Run Culvert (mi. 169.17)

Culvert 221 takes Pigmans Run underneath of the C&O Canal at mile 169.17.  It’s in excellent condition and is located at the downstream end of the Pigmans Ferry hiker/biker overnight campground.  Seeing many of the culverts that run underneath of the canal requires a difficult scramble down the bank, but this one literally has a mowed path leading to the downstream opening.  Due to dry conditions in the area, the stream was running a bit low, but there were still many minnows that seemed to be thriving in a small pool below the culvert.

Culvert 215 at Big Run (mi. 161.82)

The Big Run Culvert (#215) is a brick-lined 16′ span.  The stream drains the eastern slope of Green Ridge State Forest, and the dry bed looks like it can potentially contain a significant amount of water.  This culvert was built in 1850 and has held up pretty well, with the exception of the missing masonry work that once fronted the structure

Three Culverts Near Taylors Landing/Mercersville

Culvert 114 (mi. 79.98)

Candee is preparing to hike the entire length of the Camino de Santiago this summer and has been doing a series of 10-15 mile hikes.  Today, we opted to walk from Snyders Landing to Big Woods hiker/biker and back.  This is an area we have biked many times, but we’ve never explored it on foot.  Basically, it was like seeing everything for the first time, including three culverts which are a short walk from the Taylors Landing boat ramp (mm 81).  Heading upstream, the first of the culverts was #114, which has a 4′ span.  Due to recent dry weather, the stream was dry.

Culvert 115 (mi. 80.55)

Culvert 115 is a short distance up the towpath from #114.  It has a 6′ span that takes in the flow of a small, fast-flowing stream.  I was a little bit disappointed to see a large branch hanging in the way.  It’s a tough trip down a steep bank to get a look at the culvert, but it’s well worth it.  Close to the mouth of the culvert, you can hear the roar of a small waterfall just above the upper end of the pipe.

Waterfall above Culvert 115

Finally, the Marsh Run Culvert is about a half-mile upstream from the boat ramp.  Marsh Run is a larger stream, and as culverts go, this a pretty big one (10′ span).  It’s located in close proximity to the Potomac, and when the river floods, it disappears under the murky, brown water.  I know I’ve said this before, but I urge all bikers and hikers to scramble down the bank to have a look at the numerous culverts of the C&O Canal.  They are all unique and worth seeing.

Marsh Run Culvert (mi. 81.62)