C&O Home  GAP Home
The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

Reply to Paw Paw Tunnel

Scroll down to see the discussion
All submissions are reviewed for appropriateness. We reserve the right to remove or edit any comment that we consider incorrect, misleading, or inappropriate, at our sole discretion. Please remember that this is a family-friendly website.
Reply to Paw Paw Tunnel
Your Name:

This does not have to be your real name. It could be a "screen name", your initials, or just leave blank.
Your Hometown:

Optional - it's just interesting to know where people are from
Email Address
So we know you are a human, please answer this easy math quiz:
5 + 2 =
Steve Lauer from Sykesville, MD on 3/24/2021 9:29:39 PM:
Planning a Bikepacking weekend on C&O soon. I’m a little unclear on exactly what the status is is with the Paw Paw Tunnel and trail? I read the actual tunnel is “open” but perhaps I still would be forced to take the “bypass trail”? Is this correct? Sites make mention of the bypass trail taking 1-2 hour additional time and wanting to plan my overall day and distance accordingly. Appreciate any current and additional feedback. Thanks!!

Anonymous on 3/24/2021 9:52:27 PM:
Here’s the information source regarding closure of the C&O Towpath at the Paw Paw Tunnel. https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/pawpaw-closure.htm

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 3/25/2021 3:52:08 PM:
Yes you are right Steve. If going from DC to Cumberland, you can enter the tunnel and come out the other side but you won’t go much further as construction will be blocking you just after you exit (not to mention some sheer walls on each side that you can’t go up!). If going from Cumberland to DC you will not reach the tunnel, just all of the construction with no way to pass it and enter the tunnel. From what I’ve heard, you’ll be pushing your bike a mile or so up and over the hill. It’s too rough to try and ride it although some may be able to.

Anonymous on 3/25/2021 7:35:16 PM:
Just coincidentally Tim Mooney, the voice of the Pedalshift Project podcast just posted today the first of a three-part series of his recent trip to check out the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass detour. The first part can be found at: https://youtu.be/eeVxwCpceJI The first part of his trip in route to the downriver side of the Tunnel from Hancock, MD is the subject of Part 1. He states that Part 2 will be uploaded in two weeks. That Part should provide another and current opinion of the condition of the tunnel bypass detour and his efforts to traverse it.

Steve Lauer from Sykesville,MD on 3/30/2021 8:18:07 PM:
Just circling back fo thank you all for the very timely and helpful feedback to my question. This forum is a great resource!

Anonymous on 4/1/2021 8:16:22 PM:
From our extensive esearch--this is what I understand: The Cumberland side of the tunnel is open (not the DC side) and you can enter the tunnel from this side (cumberland side) and have a look at the tunnel (? even go all of the way to the end), but the tunnel is blocked on the DC side (so you cannot exit the tunnel). you can go in , have a look and then come back out the cumberland side. from there you need to take an "up and over" trail over the top of the tunnel which seems to come out on the C and O trail about 1/2 mile out from the DC side of the tunnel.

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 4/1/2021 8:28:57 PM:
I think you’re right! I had my upstreams and downstreams inverted in my earlier comment. I guess I’ll find out if/when I do Pittsburgh to DC this year.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 4/1/2021 9:01:13 PM:
The confusion may arise because, while generally you are riding from north to south when riding from Pittsburgh to DC, the section through the tunnel is south to north when travelling toward DC.

Anonymous on 4/3/2021 9:59:41 AM:
yes, it took as a while to figure that all out---upstream/ downstream, north/ south. I'm just so happy we can get a look at the tunnel still. the "up and over" path sounds like an interesting challenge, hopefully that's what I will say about in the moment ;)

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 4/3/2021 10:58:34 AM:
Please add your feedback about the tunnel bypass route for others to consider in planning their trip. Understandably, different people will have different observations about it depending on the time, direction, weather, bike and bike load, personal condition, etc. It will be helpful to all of us.

Alex from New York on 4/5/2021 4:55:05 PM:
I had to take this trail in the fall of 2017 when the tunnel was closed as well. You are advised to walk the bike both up and down the hill, especially with the load. It is what it is, just be ready for an additional hour or so.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 4/9/2021 8:22:32 AM:
Part 2 of the Pedalshift Project’s recent traverse of the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass trail has now been uploaded to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1L0X5jYKTc In this part Tim Mooney describes his recent experience taking his unloaded bike up and over the mountain above the tunnel. His description is very similar to my recollection of that trail although in my case I was fully loaded and it was much warmer and wet. You can take his information into account in planning your trip. Note that Tim is travelling upstream toward Paw Paw during his description.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 4/9/2021 12:46:47 PM:
Great episode. I was surprised to hear there were multiple paths/trails up at the top of the detour...so many that the park service needed to put signs up so people wouldn't get lost! Tim described the views at the top of the detour as "the best views on the C&O".