C&O Canal Hike 20

Paw Paw to Oldtown

This quiet section is highlighted by cliffs along the Western Maryland grade on the berm and by the lockhouses in the Oldtown area. Much of the section is watered either through restoration or busy beavers. Water and the proximity to the Green Ridge State Forest make this is a good area to spot deer and other wildlife. From Town Creek aqueduct up to Lock 71, expect to meet fishermen weekends. At Lock 67, the Green Ridge Hiking Trail returns to the towpath. It heads back east some 17.8 miles to Lock 58 providing an alternate route.

This hike ends by Lock 70 in Oldtown, just uphill from the last private toll bridge across the Potomac.


Trip Planner

Start: Paw Paw
End: Oldtown
Miles: 10.4
Points of Interest: Paw Paw, Town Creek Aqueduct, Oldtown
Parking: Paw Paw (0.0), Oldtown (10.4 mi.)
Water: Paw Paw, Purslane Run campsite, Town Creek campsite, Potomac Forks (water at campsites normally turned off November-April)
Restroom or privy: Paw Paw, Purslane Run campsite Town Creek campsite, Potomac Forks
Provisions: Paw Paw; (0.75 miles across river in West Virginia); Oldtown (to right 0.5 miles in town)
Camping: Purslane Run campsite, Town Creek campsite, Potomac Forks


Hike Data

Mile Navigation
0 Paw Paw. The town of Paw Paw, West Virginia has a convenience store and a restaurant 0.75 miles from the canal. To reach town turn left at cross river.
0.6 Purslane Run campsite.
5.5 Lock 67. The Green Ridge Hiking Trail rejoins the towpath here.
5.9 Town Creek campsite.
6.1 Town Creek Aqueduct.
8.6 Potomac Forks campsite. This is the only campsite on the berm side of the towpath.
10.4 Oldtown and Lock 70. Town is about 0.5 miles to the right at canal milepost 166.7. There is one small general store. Turn left here for private toll bridge across the Potomac.


Explore the PHT

This is another place where time often seems to have stood still. The lockhouses at three of the four Oldtown locks (68 plus 70,71) have been restored. The lockhouse at Lock 70 is now a small museum. Just down the hill is a private toll bridge, built in 1937, that crosses the river to Green Spring, West Virginia. It is open and can be crossed for 50 cents. Fishing is a popular activity here as this section of the canal is stocked by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The town's name has survived from the 1700s when it was known as "Shawnee Oldtown" for the departed Indian tribe.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage NST Office
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive SW

Washington, DC 20242



Contact Us