Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park | LOCK 48

Upstream view of Lock 48

Upstream view of Lock 48


Lock 48 is located at Mile 108.8 on the C&O Canal towpath. It is a short walk from the parking area at Lock and Lockhouse 49. See the Locks and Lockhouses web page for an interactive location map.


Lock 48 is one of the Four Locks on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that are located near Clear Spring, Maryland. It and Locks 50, 49, and 47 are all within a short walk of each other. In fact, all four locks can be seen from Lockhouse 49. There is a small parking area at the house, but keep in mind that this lockhouse can be rented for overnight stays, so these spots may be taken by guests. There is a larger parking lot at the end of Starliper Road that is used for the adjacent Four Locks Picnic Area and Boat Ramp.

The construction of the Four Locks allowed the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to cut across a peninsula of land called Prather’s Neck instead of following the Potomac River, a savings of roughly 3.5 miles. Just picture the state of Florida, and instead of following the entire coast to get from Tampa to Jacksonville, you cut straight across the interior of the state.

Lock 48 has been filled in with dirt, which is often done to locks that are on the verge of collapse. The left retaining wall looks like it was about to fall inward.

Downstream view of Lock 48

Downstream view of Lock 48

Filling in Lock 48 with dirt prevented it from collapsing

Filling in Lock 48 with dirt prevented it from collapsing

Upstream of Lock 48 is a very well-defined and well-manicured section of the C&O Canal, albeit without water.

View of Lock and Lockhouse 49 from Lock 48

View of Lock and Lockhouse 49 from Lock 48

Though the wooden gates no longer exist, on the downstream end of the lock you can see some of the metal gate hardware still attached to the stones.

Gate hardware of Lock 48

Gate hardware of Lock 48

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Last updated on April 23, 2020
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