Rock Run is a tributary stream that flows into the Potomac River. During the American Civil War, gold was found in the the Rock Run area. Between 1867 and 1940, at least five mines were established along Rock Run. In the largest, which operated between 1910 and 1920, gold nuggets of up to four ounces in weight were reportedly recovered.
Built in 1963, the Rock Run culvert is a concrete twin tunnel culvert that passes underneath the Clara Barton Parkway and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, near Lock 12. In the 1940s and '50s, the direction of the stream was changed to run through the edge of the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Originally, Rock Run passed beneath a different culvert near Lock 11 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, over half a mile to the west.