Rockslide Causes Temporary Detour at Paw Paw Tunnel
Rockslide Causes Temporary Detour Along C&O Canal
Paw Paw Tunnel, MD - In January 2013 the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park experienced a significant rockslide near towpath mile 155, just downstream of the Paw Paw Tunnel. While investigating the rockslide, numerous other large rock formations were discovered to be on the verge of collapse. Due to the potential threat of another significant rockslide in addition to the current blockage, the towpath area just downstream of the east portal of the Tunnel will remain closed until the path can be cleared and the remaining rock stabilized.
Visitors seeking to bypass the closed area, including hikers and bicyclists, can use the Tunnel Hill Trail as a detour route. Tunnel Hill Trail is a two mile dirt trail and is accessible at either end of the Paw Paw Tunnel. The trail offers interpretive waysides and scenic views of the Potomac River and Green Ridge State Forest as it climbs 362 feet above the tunnel to the summit of the mountain. For a map of the area, click here.
Bicyclists should use caution and dismount their bikes while on Tunnel Hill Trail, as the trail is narrow and steep in some locations. When planning a trip along the canal visitors should account for the additional effort and travel time of using the detour route which is approximately 45 minutes.
The Paw Paw Tunnel itself will remain open and is accessible from the west entrance only (nearest to the parking area). Visitors can walk through the tunnel to the east portal; however, 30 feet beyond exiting the tunnel visitors will find the towpath blocked and barricaded and must return through the tunnel. For your safety and the safety of others, park staff request visitors adhere to all signs and barricades directing them away from the hazard area. We appreciate your patience as we work to stabilize the rockslide and surrounding area.
For more information regarding the status of the rockslide and detour please visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chesapeakeandohiocanal or contact the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Cumberland Visitor Center at (301) 722-8226.
Did You Know?
Most freight boats on the C&O Canal were approximately 95 feet long and 14.5 feet wide while most locks were 100 feet long and 15 feet wide. This left boat captains little margin for error as they steered their boats into the locks, trying to avoid the $5.00 fine for damaging lock masonry.