Paw Paw Tunnel Trail

MODERATE 53 reviews

Paw Paw Tunnel Trail is a 3.6 mile 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.

3.6 miles
721 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly


mountain biking

road biking

trail running





wild flowers

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.

9 days ago

Great hike thru then tunnel and back over the Tunnel Hill Trail. The Tunnel Hill Trail is like nature trail with signs to read about the area.

9 days ago

To enjoy a loop instead of just going thru the Tunnel and back be sure to take the Tunnel Hill Trail back. It's a bit of a climb but you get the views. The complete loop was quite easy except for the one climb up to the top. My high school classmate of 1972, (46 years ago) lives at the intersection of Malcolm Rd. and the Tunnel Hill Rd. He owns 16 acres of land on both sides of the road. He built the Tunnel Sign on that corner because people were missing the tunnel location. When I visit him I always hike here and spend a whole day before drive back to Ellicott City. ** At least it wasn't flooded there **

15 days ago

Such a fun trail. I enjoyed it more when the construction was not occurring. Bring a flashlight if you plan to walk through the tunnel.

23 days ago

Love this trail. Have done it so many times and in every season in the last 26 years but I always enjoy it. Since the tunnel has been closed I’ve hiked the detour route. It has a lot of interesting signs. I did not realize the tunnel was reopened so that was a nice treat. However, I hear it is closing again 8/8/18!

4 months ago

Fun hike along the C&O Canal and if you are driving along interstate 68. Not difficult but a fun walk if you can go through the tunnel. Flash lights are not needed but worth having. Hiking up over the top gives you a great view back down the river, but do it early in the day to avoid the sun in your face on photos

4 months ago

Beautiful trail, but be careful after exiting the tunnel and climbing. It’s easy to lose your way and be lost for a few hours...I wasn’t too angry, however since the terrain is gorgeous no matter where you are, and the trail picked up again upon descending.

7 months ago

View of the Potomac River at the midpoint is great. Paw Paw Tunnel is fascinating to see at both ends. Can climb the hill trail then return to start by going through the tunnel. (Not currently-- park work keeps you from entering far side of tunnel) Flashlight or headlamp recommended for tunnel.

10 months ago

Very cool. I only walked through the tunnel and part of the trail that went over the tunnel.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

This was a fun bike ride with the kids. The tunnel was long and dark. Very different than my usual hikes. As far as all hikes I've done I'd give it 2 stars but for Mid East coast it's a 4.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

We were here over the winter after the big rock slide on the north side of the tunnel. Not surprised itis closed for a while this year (2017)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My husband and I took our grandson here for a fun hike through the tunnel only to find that there was a sign partway there that restricted access to "Authorized Personnel" only. We could not even see the tunnel. We took the detour hike which took us over the tunnel and down the other side but we gained nothing more than a pretty view at the top. A very disappointing day for us all.
Apparently work is being done on the opposite end of the tunnel to prevent rock slides.
Let's hope it is opened on time and we can try again.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

first hike of the year, of the decade. hiked over the "Easy" trail. kicked my butt but the scenery was worth it. I'll be back.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

love the location

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Very pretty trail. extremely flat & I'd rate as easy. The tunnel was open today & very impressive.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Great trail, although it looks like the tunnel will be closing for maintenance in the coming weeks. Make sure to double-check the availability before planning your trip!

mountain biking
Saturday, February 25, 2017

In 2000, we rode from Cumberland to this area on the C&O Canal Trail on our bikes. The tunnel was especially tantalizing to the boys, as there was a large black snake in the tunnel; they were absolutely fascinated.

Monday, August 15, 2016

me and my family went really enjoyed ourselves not for beginner hikers

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Excellent shorty.

Monday, July 04, 2016

A must do for hikers. My family really enjoyed this hike. We did have a little difficulty getting there as the GPS directions we got here were wrong. I think it will work if you plug in Paw Paw tunnel or campground on highway 51. . We parked at the campground and it was a .5 walk to the tunnel. Everything was well marked. We choose to go thru the tunnel first and then walked along the C and O canal for a few miles after. We did forget the flashlights in the car, lol, but used our cell phones flashlights which worked very well. The tunnel was fun and really dark On the way back we liked the Paw Paw Tunnel trail over the tunnel. It was very steep and about 2 miles long. In hide sight we should have done the trail first and gone thru the tunnel on the way back to the car.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Almost skipped this trail on a road trip I was doing and my boyfriend and I were SO glad we didn't. The tunnel was awesome- a little freaky if you're claustrophobic, but a gorgeous view. Our only mistake/regret was somehow getting a weird address and ending up off-roading essentially down a weird dirt back road that led to the back end of the trail. We ended up nearly getting stuck and having a pretty steep climb to get back up to the car from the canal. So definitely try to find the address that leads you to the parking lot, which for some reason I just wasn't able to find while out on the road.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

A hike with a taste of history is a winning combo for me! After one goes thru the tunnel , another option to return a different way is an added bonus! Make your date to experience this!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beautiful and interesting hike. Be sure to eat at the relatively nearby "Panorama at the Peak" restaurant.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Great hike
We went through the tunnel it was wet and muddy in some spots then we hiked over the top and came back down to the tunnel entrance

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The history here makes me give it a 5! Plus The cool tunnel is an extra bonus on a hot summer day!

road biking
Sunday, December 01, 2013

Wonderful ride over the tunnel and even better through it on the way back. Perhaps one of the better maintained tunnels in the region for trail riders. It is bumpy and cool but very exciting!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The overland (Tunnel Hill) trail is the only one open at this time- a partial collapse at one side of the tunnel prevents a through the tunnel walk. This trail was a standard in local boyscout troops. Both side are scenic. The city of PawPaw nearby has a few stores. Theres is a campsite nearby at the parking lot access.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Please note there is some confusion across the reviews on this page... There are 2 different trails; one goes "through" the Paw Paw Tunnel (which is part of the C&O Canal Trail). The second trail is an alternative trail which bypasses the tunnel. It's a very nice hiking trail with great views.... and a very helpful detour if you're claustrophobic or if the Paw Paw Tunnel itself is closed. Here's a link to the gov site that explains the difference:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Be sure to take flashlights. Shine light around inside tunnel and you will see bats, just hanging around. Pretty cool.

If you just round trip tunnel, it is flat, no hills. We did loop up over mountain. Very nice and peaceful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Easy trail. Nice, quiet section along the canal. Beautiful old trees.

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