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C & O Paw Paw tunnel is open

Old 05-25-21, 08:56 AM
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C & O Paw Paw tunnel is open

Just finished c&o . Paw paw is posted as closed but everybody is ignoring the signage without issue
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Old 05-25-21, 11:36 AM
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Good info. I'm going in about 3 weeks and was dreading the push over the mountain detour trail. Of course they're probably liable to start work at any time now.
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Old 05-31-21, 11:00 AM
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I also had no problems getting through the tunnel two weeks ago. The rockslide debris was very large though and I think the closure is sensible. Since the closure is planned to continue until next year, I'm wondering if anyone might have experience taking Low Line Rd to the CSX Trail and crossing back over to Maryland at Hancock? Is there much traffic on Low Line and is the condition of the gravel pretty reasonable?
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Old 06-07-21, 01:20 PM
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Went through Paw Paw tunnel on May 30th. While I appreciate not having to take a hilly detour, it is, in my opinion, the least pleasant of the tunnels along C&O/GAP route to traverse. Since we were on a tandem, walking through the tunnel was a bit more awkward than a single bike would be.
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Old 06-07-21, 03:50 PM
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Good to hear the tunnel remains open. Thanks to all for the updates. We're doing both trails in Sept...fingers crossed it(tunnel & trail) remains open.
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Old 06-09-21, 03:31 PM
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Spoke with someone in Paw Paw today (June 9). The tunnel and downstream tow path remain passable right now, but probably not for much longer. They have started to erect and position the housing trailers for the work crew so workers (and the start of the actual work/end of tunnel and tow path passage) should be expected soon.
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Old 06-09-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MidLife50
Spoke with someone in Paw Paw today (June 9). The tunnel and downstream tow path remain passable right now, but probably not for much longer. They have started to erect and position the housing trailers for the work crew so workers (and the start of the actual work/end of tunnel and tow path passage) should be expected soon.
...figured that might happen. A hiking (around) we will go..

Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 06-09-21, 04:11 PM
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I'll be there in 2 weeks and will update as soon as I can.
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Old 06-14-21, 09:52 PM
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Doing Pitt to DC in October. Thanks for the heads up
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Old 06-29-21, 10:46 AM
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I stayed in Paw Paw on Tuesday June 22, leaving the next morning. While there I spoke with a trail ambassador who confirmed that the downstream towpath remained open (we successfully biked through) and that a foreman had indicated that with the pace of progress on worker housing trailers, they expected to begin construction by approximately June 30.
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Old 08-02-21, 10:04 AM
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Passed it 10 minutes ago.
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Old 08-03-21, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by csport
Passed it 10 minutes ago.
And? Open or closed? Easily rideable?

Cheers
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Old 08-04-21, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man
And? Open or closed? Easily rideable?

Cheers
There are signs saying it is closed, but everyone rides through it. Rideable as usual, no problem. Of course if a rock slide happens and injures anyone there is no liability.
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Old 08-27-21, 11:27 PM
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Stealing this photo from Facebook. Now it is physically gated.

Stolen from Facebook. Paw Paw tunnel is physically closed.
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Old 08-28-21, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by csport
Stealing this photo from Facebook. Now it is physically gated.


I guess we'll be humping our bikes over the bypass..oh well..
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Old 08-28-21, 07:07 AM
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Thanks for the post! I have a trip planned on the C&O in about 3 weeks. If the Paw Paw section is still closed I am looking at bypassing it using Hwy 51 to Malcolm Rd to Tunnel Hill Rd ( I will be riding south from Cumberland). Does anyone know if this is a good detour?
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Old 08-28-21, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeParrott
Thanks for the post! I have a trip planned on the C&O in about 3 weeks. If the Paw Paw section is still closed I am looking at bypassing it using Hwy 51 to Malcolm Rd to Tunnel Hill Rd ( I will be riding south from Cumberland). Does anyone know if this is a good detour?
We'll be there in a few weeks ourselves. There's a hiking path adjacent to the tunnel

https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvis...aw-closure.htm
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Old 08-28-21, 01:54 PM
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Thanks, I know about the hiking path detour. I would rather not have to take the hiking path though with a loaded touring bike unless I absolutely have to.😀
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Old 08-28-21, 04:48 PM
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The roads themselves look OK, 2.3 miles, 485 feet of elevation. Tunnel Hill road looks to be gravel (and is marked correctly as such in RWGPS) and is 1700 feet to where it crosses the C&O...BUT..(I've never ridden the C&O..just going by online maps and NPS data) the Paw Paw tunnel is 3118 feet long. Tunnel Hill Rd "crosses" the C&O at 950-ish feet from the beginning of the tunnel. So I'm guessing Tunnel Hill Rd doesn't physically cross the C&O, but goes over it.


Last edited by fishboat; 08-30-21 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 08-28-21, 05:00 PM
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Thanks Fishboat! I appreciate the help! Looks like the Tunnel Hill trail will have to be the path we take.
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Old 08-29-21, 06:45 PM
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Tunnel Hill Road crosses the detour trail (the dashed line) at it's peak. If the tunnel was closed, our fallback plan "B" was to shuttle to the top of Tunnel Hill Rd and then walk our bikes down the detour trail to the C&O. If we wanted an actual intersection of the C&O and a road it seems to me it was Little Orleans...about 10-15 miles downstream
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Old 08-29-21, 08:29 PM
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Thanks MidLife50! That helps me understand it better. I thnik I will go with the same plan.
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Old 08-29-21, 08:30 PM
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BikeParrott and fishboat, I think you are overthinking it
I had to do it in 2017 with a loaded bike. Yes, there is 10% grade, and the road is unpaved. Add an hour or so, eat some snack and you will be done. I think heavy rain is bigger nuisance on the C&O.
You will make it!
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Old 08-30-21, 05:22 AM
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Thanks CSport. It looks like they closed the PawPaw tunnel again late last week, so hike a bike it will probably be!
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Old 08-30-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by csport
BikeParrott and fishboat, I think you are overthinking it
I had to do it in 2017 with a loaded bike. Yes, there is 10% grade, and the road is unpaved. Add an hour or so, eat some snack and you will be done. I think heavy rain is bigger nuisance on the C&O.
You will make it!
It sounds like you mean taking the Tunnel Hill Rd route..

In any event..we're not particularly worried about taking the detour, whichever route we take. Given a choice, I'd stay on the C&O(which has remained open until recently), but there isn't a choice. We're both in good shape and in addition to lots of cycling, we hike regularly. The partial road detour BikeParrot is suggesting intersects the Tunnel Hill Trail at the trail peak, which helps. The alternative is humping fullly loaded bikes 6/10ths of a mile up the trail to the peak..about a 9-10% grade. The partial road route sounds better. I'm surprised the park service doesn't suggest that as a second alternative..or the preferred detour.

Taking the trail detour will just add some color to the trip.
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