Paw Paw Tunnel Trail is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Oldtown, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length6.4 miElevation gain856 ftRoute typeOut & back
dog friendlyKid friendlyHikingMountain bikingRoad bikingWalkingrunningForestRiverViewsWildflowers
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Note: As of December 2020, users have reported that the trail is closed after the tunnel at the towpath. Please see the park website for more information: https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Redwood Tower, 9th Floor, 217 E. Redwood Street , Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone: 410-767-3400, Fax: 410-333-6643

Directions from Cumberland, MD: Travel east on MD State Route 51 about 25 miles to the tunnel trailhead parking lot located on the left hand side of the road. The trail begins at the back of the lot.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (210)
Photos (415)
Recordings (158)
Completed (429)
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Amy Ryan
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Hiking

The front of the tunnel was boarded up and had a door opening. I’m not sure why. I was able to walk through the tunnel and continue in the tow path. I continues until I met up with the Paw Paw Tunnel Hill Trail. At this spot there was a easily passable construction horse . It looked as if the section I had just walked was what was closed??? I then took the Hill trail to return. I think this is the best direction to take. I think the Hill trail may have been more difficult in the reverse direction. We had a late start, otherwise I would have liked to walk the tow path a bit longer. I accidentally paused my recording at some point. Smh

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Lea Sorrentino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 2, 2021
Hiking

Nice trail, some moderate inclines, the tunnel tow path is closed so we didn’t get to go all the way to the tunnel

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Harmen Westerhof
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Hiking
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Jef Lineberry
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Hiking
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Jef Lineberry
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Hiking
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Stuart Itkin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 12, 2020
HikingClosedGreat!

Despite what the website says, the trail is closed immediately after the tunnel's upstream end. So, if you take the trail over the mountain, you will need to return via the trail over the mountain. You can't take the trail over the mountain, as the route suggests, and then return through the tunnel. Major disappointment. Glad I planned to go through the tunnel and then over for the return. Ended doing up and back through the tunnel and then the trail over about half way.

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howard feldman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 9, 2020
HikingClosed

After the tunnel, the towpath is closed as of Nov 20th. You may walk through the tunnel, and return back toward the parking lot. a cell phone flashlight was enough in the tunnel, though a stronger light might have been better to look around. We did that and then went up onto the high trail and over to the tow path and then the Potomac River and then subsequently returned. Adjust your mileage appropriately.

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Rezs Jafari
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Hiking
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Laura Sarratt
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HikingGreat!

Great trail - did not have any phone service so I could not look on AllTrails to follow the trail. Ended up missing the turn onto the tunnel trail (after the paw paw tunnel) and continued on straight past all the locks and following the river. Thy part of the hike was very flat but very fun and scenic. The tunnel trail is supposedly fairly steep at points. Me and my group wanted to go back through the tunnel so we opted not to go down that trail.

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Ben Cook
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Hiking
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John Merrell
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Hiking
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Zachary Laing
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Hiking

Very rewarding trail with some uphill but nothing bad at all. Shorter than expected but a very fun, well marked hike.

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Chris Styer
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Hiking

very easy and beautiful

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Missy Pressman
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Hiking

Walked along the C&O canal in Paw Paw thru the tunnel for about 3.5 miles and then came back on the paw paw tunnel trail. was a beautiful day!

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Nicholas Nicholas Miller
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Hiking
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Emily King
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Hiking

A little muddy when we went but nice easy walk. I swear I’m not a wacko but the tunnel is definitely haunted Kids enjoyed mostly climbing to the top of the tunnel at either end. Dog liked it too ;)

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Orion Chen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 7, 2020
Hiking

This is a typical bike trail instead of hiking trail. But the tunnel may the most funky place in the Halloween season. Hikers can return at the sign of "Tunnel Mountain Trail". There seems no glorious view on the trail after this.

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Brad Yaksich
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Nature tripsRocky

First time hiking. Biked the C&O several times. The trail was part of the detour when the tunnel was closed. That had to be brutal with a loaded down bike. Overall great hike. Enjoy the history markers along the way. Will do it again.

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emily luedtke
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Hiking
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Craig Leary
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Bike touring
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Jessica Houston
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Hiking

Beautiful hike!

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Elaine Paula
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HikingGreat!

This trail was interesting. as many people have commented, the tunnel is deceiving. you think you're almost to the end, but you're not. We returned via the detour trail. some have said it is difficult but that was not our experience. the trail is well maintained and easy to walk. it was a little steep at the top but not difficult. if you're use to hiking in New England, this would be considered moderately difficult. I would recommend.

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Bob Ritchie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 13, 2020
Hiking

Really neat area. The tunnel is a little creepy to walk through, but you can always see daylight at the end of the tunnel. Lots of info along the trail, especially on the trail above the tunnel...and that section was surprisingly slightly strenuous at times. Some nice views of the Potomac River valley from one overlook on that section as well. On a rainy day, only slightly muddy....a little buggy, but not overly so. Overall a nice little hike

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Brien Dulaney
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Hiking
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Amanda Stephan
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Hiking
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Ger C
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Hiking

Fun little trail, you can turn around and go back through the tunnel or circle back on the Tunnel Hill trail.

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Denise I
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

I loved the trail, especially the tunnel part it’s about a mile long. I liked having my flashlight with me. Learned about the history of Paw Paw tunnel.

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Kat Nicole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 21, 2020
Hiking

It delivered on being creepy. The tunnel is deceptively long. Great acoustics

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Flo Conway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2020
Hiking

Flat, easy trail along the canal, with opportunities for danger. You can climb the steps on each side of the tunnel entrance to gain a different vantage point of the canal. Each lock has steep sides lined with uneven footing, though the trail allows ample space to not get close. For those looking, there were different types of fish and salamanders spotted along the sluggish waters. Eventually came out on the Potomac, but not in an area you can easily reach the water. The trail over the tunnel was mostly steep, with one vista toward the end. I did enjoy all of the informative plaques along the way. An unnecessary amount of tails signs make the direction clear.

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