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Reply to Paw Paw Tunnel

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Reply to Paw Paw Tunnel
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Barry from Hershey on 10/7/2021 7:02:37 PM:
I know there has been much discussion regarding the Paw Paw tunnel, so please bear with me. We are riding a part of the C&O canal next week and will be approaching the tunnel from the DC side. One of our stops is the Canal Cabins on Wednesday. We're assuming that we have to take the detour and the tunnel is still closed. I thought I heard about an alternative to the "up and over" detour with the 375 ft elevation change. Possibly the Tunnel Hill Road and route 51? Has anyone gone to the tunnel (from the DC side) in the last week or so? Any current, accurate information would be appreciated. Thanks!

Edward from North Carolina on 10/7/2021 8:23:42 PM:
Rick from Florida on 09/21/2021 07:15 AM I just rode the Paw Paw Bypass option (Sulphur Springs Rd, to Oldtown to Malcolm Rd to Tunnel Hill Rd) on Sunday the 19th. This connects with the Tunnel Hill Bypass Trail at the top of Tunnel Hill. You then have to take the Tunnel Hill Bypass Trail down to the C&O path. The option of going on these roads works well going from Cumberland to Little Orleans, however if you are going from Little Orleans to Cumberland you have no option to pushing your bike up the Tunnel Hill Bypass Trail. If you are going this direction you are probably better off staying on the Bypass trail to get back to the C&O. Just an FYI there are a couple if steeper sections on Sulpher Springs Rd and Tunnel Hill Road. They are ridable though. These are also public roads with no shoulder, so beware of traffic, especially on Oldtown Rd. (51).

Art on 10/7/2021 8:27:39 PM:
I will probably come across as a bit of a jerk (story of my life) but if you have the luxury of navigating this trail on a bike I kind of chuckle at the lamentations over taking the detour. My wife and I just walked the 185 miles and every 1/10 of a mile mattered. There were times I would have carried a bike (instead of my 40 lbs pack back) a mile up hill for the convenience of sitting on it for the next 30 miles. Lol…for what it’s worth, we snuck around the tunnel barriers and were damned relieved to be able to do so. Enjoy!

Barry from Hershey on 10/8/2021 9:37:11 AM:
I really enjoy riding the C&O and Gap trail. We normally do a 3-4 day trip in the Spring and then in the Fall. I am 72 years old and have a very rare type of Muscular Dystrophy that is somewhat limiting, but not nearly as disabling as many other folks deal with. So, I use an electric bike and normally ride on pedal assist which allows me to enjoy the outdoors and still ride decent daily miles. My reason for trying to get the latest information on the tunnel, is the conflicting stories-sometimes it's open and sometimes it isn't and all sorts of other scenarios. If we have to take the detour, I'll (we'll) deal with that. I appreciate all the input and should have explained my situation in my earlier post. Enjoy the ride!

Art on 10/8/2021 12:32:44 PM:
Understood! I can tell you that the tunnel is definitely closed and blocked off, so the only alternative are the detours. Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Barry from Hershey on 10/8/2021 4:40:03 PM:
Thanks Art!

Biker Bob on 10/10/2021 8:17:52 PM:
We are planning to hit the trail in the coming week and it looks like there's a good detour bypassing the trail at Little Orleans (from the DC side) and heading up Oldtown Orleans Rd to Malcom Rd then hitting 51 back to the trail. It looks like some nice gravel riding. Anyone done this? Don't feel like being chased by dogs...

Barry from Hershey on 10/16/2021 7:18:23 PM:
Well, we did the Paw Paw Tunnel detour (DC side) on Wednesday and somehow managed to avoid heart failure. It was anything but easy (for me), but I made it. I want to highly recommend the "Canal Cabins in Paw Paw." Really great, clean accommodations. Also had a unique cultural experience at "Big & Tiny's" wings in Paw Paw. Food was terrific. Loved the folks that were there and hope to go back next ride. Paw Paw has a paved bike path to the edge of town and it looks like they are hoping for more business from the C&O riders.