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Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 9/26/2022 10:29:09 PM:
Tne NPS C&O website is now reporting that the contractor-supplied shuttle around the Paw Paw Tunnel Bypass Trail has now been initiated. That website had previously been reporting that that shuttle would be initiated by late September.

More information about the Paw Paw Tunnel bypass can be found at that website.

Wayne67 from Penetanguishene Canada on 9/27/2022 10:11:13 AM:
Just wondering how long the tunnel will be closed. Planning a trip next June 2023

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 9/27/2022 5:02:06 PM:
The NPS C&O website states that construction is anticipated to be complete by the end of the 2022/2023 winter. If so, your trip next June should find the Tunnel and it’s downriver exit open to ride through. Just keep an eye on that website and/or this forum for updates.

JDH from DC on 9/28/2022 11:06:52 AM:
Just a heads up that the shuttle, which is a supped-up golf cart, has front and rear 'arm' bike racks (the type that go under your bike's top tube). I took it on 9/26 and my bike had a bag going under the top tube, so I had to throw it in the truck bed of the shuttle... luckily I was the only biker taking it up (towards Cumberland). I would imagine heavy ebikes might not be supported either. Hopefully they learn quickly and switch out the racks for 'support' styles that go under the bike's wheels (like on buses). Otherwise, it seemed to be a well-run operation.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 9/28/2022 12:41:40 PM:

Thanks for that information as I am leaving to ride back to Pgh from DC next week with a full frame bag.among others. I may have to pack differently unless we hear they have indeed changed their rack style. What route did they take?

JDH from DC on 9/28/2022 12:52:22 PM:

With a full frame bag, I think worse case scenario is that you just take it off when you get there. The shuttle supposedly only runs Mon-Friday 9-5 while operations are ongoing, and you aren't allowed to go on your own, as there is no shoulder to get past the dump trucks. So if you plan on getting there on the weekend or outside those hours, you can just lug your bike like others have done for months. I also wouldn't be surprised if they have come up with a work around, as many bikes would have been stymied by those racks. There is also a private shuttle that I am sure was mentioned on some other post you can coordinate with. Hope that helps.

man910 from DC on 5/9/2023 2:58:34 PM:
I'll be doing this ride from Pittsburgh to DC. For those that have taken this shuttle, how long does it take? I know it supposedly runs every 30 minutes, but how long does it take once you're on the shuttle?

And where do they drop you off? Is it at the top where Tunnel Hill Trail (the bypass) intersects Tunnel Hill Rd? And how long does it take to descend?

I'm just trying to get a sense on the duration of this bypass. Without the shuttle service, NPS says it will take around 1.5-2.5hrs to do this 1.6-mile bypass on foot.


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 5/10/2023 5:10:07 AM:
The shuttle is on the downriver side. It runs from the top down to where the tunnel bypass rejoins the Towpath for maybe 3/4 mile. Once you’ve boarded the shuttle it’s, perhaps 15 minutes, 30 minutes top. The time to walk up, over and back down is dependent on you level of fitness and the load on your bike. In my opinion, 1.5 to 2 hours would be a worst case scenario for an able-bodied cyclist to walk the entire detour. Others may have different experience.

man910 from DC on 5/10/2023 2:59:24 PM:
Thanks for the information, Rivnuts!

man910 from DC on 5/13/2023 4:53:30 PM:
Rivnuts, I saw this posting on Reddit: "Did the ride 2 weeks ago. Coming from DC they pick you up at the bottom and shuttle you to the top...then you have to push down about a mile of slightly sketchy single track. Coming from Pittsburgh you have to push up that mile of sketchy single track, then once up top they give you a ride back down the other side." Is this correct? Because on the map, I see that a road connects to the trail at the bottom at Oldtown Road and at the top at Tunnel Hill Road. So If I were riding from Pittsburgh to DC, wouldn't the shuttle take me up to the top? Or is there a temporary road that I'm not seeing on Google Maps where the shuttle runs?

man910 from DC on 5/13/2023 5:04:21 PM:
One more question. I see that you created this route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37572392. I was planning to ride this while the other members of my party hopefully can take the shuttle up. So when you got to the top, did you walk down or bike down? It looks pretty steep, with grades maxing at 14.5%.

Andy from Pittsburgh on 5/15/2023 8:07:54 PM:
I have not taken the shuttle but did use the the same alternate route last summer. The map you linked to, coming from Pittsburgh, is what I rode in June. It is ridable, but quite steep in spots. I then rode down the detour back to the trail. The part that I rode down, the downstream side, is where they have the shuttle because they are hauling debris from the trail up to the road.

Maybe if you don't want to push up the detour or ride up the alternate route when coming from Pittsburgh, you could get an Uber from town to the top and take the shuttle down. If I was coming from DC, after the shuttle to the top I would just ride down the alternate route back to the trail.

man910 from DC on 5/16/2023 4:29:26 AM:
Thanks, Andy. I definitely want to ride it up. I have others that are going with me who do not want to ride it up. They will, however, have someone give them a lift to the top. So I guess that means we either walk, bike, or take the shuttle down. I agree with you. If I were coming from DC, I would definitely ride down on the road. It's less steep and smooth. So I think the reason why I may be confused is there are two paths, right? One is a hiking trail "bypass" that you can see on the map, and the other one is the construction "detour" where the shuttle service operates?

man910 from DC on 5/16/2023 6:10:39 PM:
Never mind, Andy. I found a different post, presumably from you form last year, where it mentions that the trail was widened for the detour, so I guess they are one and the same after all.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 5/17/2023 11:10:59 PM:
man910: Sorry for not replying sooner as I’ve been riding the OTET Trail. Travelling from Pgh toward DC you’re on your own getting up the hill. After you reach the top the shuttle will take you back down the other side. That downhill side is wider not as rugged as the uphill side allowing the shuttle to take you down. That downhill side has been used by the contractor’s vehicle and it’s been pretty badly torn up. Hence the shuttle.

To clarify, the uphill side has not been widened. It is narrow, rocky and rooted. If wet, it can be quite slick as well. If you can ride to the top, that would be very commendable. I’ve only seen a couple of young bucks try and I’m not sure if they made it all the way up or not.

man910 from DC on 5/20/2023 9:10:03 AM:
No worries, Rivnuts. I'm referring to riding up to the shuttle using the route you laid out via roads. It doesn't look that steep. I hope your reference to the young bucks is via the trail.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 5/20/2023 12:51:52 PM:
I, myself, did not lay out that alternate road route to the top nor have I ridden it. My comment about any steepness and young bucks does indeed refer to the posted tunnel bypass route itself. Of course "steep" is a relative term and function of strength and fitness of which I have but a limited amount at my age.

man910 from DC on 6/11/2023 1:32:07 PM:
I recently did the road bypass to the top from Pittsburgh to DC. Except for a very steep but short section at the end of Sulphur Spring Road, which is a dirt road, onto Oldtown Road, it wasn't bad at all. Oldtown Road itself has cars traveling at high speed, but you are only on it briefly, 0.11 miles. Once you get to Malcolm Road Southeast, it's paved without any cars (no double yellow lines), which made for good climbing. Then the final ascent on Tunnel Hill Road is dirt. Towards the end it gets a little bit steep, but not as steep as the section on Sulphur Spring Road. If I were going towards Pittsburgh, I would have ridden this way down instead of taking the official detour. It would have been more pleasant and faster.

I can also confirm Rivnut's post that the shuttle was not available on Tuesday during business hours. I guess they discontinued it. Luckily, it was dry, so I was able to ride down without any problems although it was unpleasant since I had to ride the brakes down all the way.