On November 25, the National Park Service announced an immediate closure of the northern entrance of the Paw Paw Tunnel to protect travelers on the C&O Canal Towpath from falling rocks near the tunnel's northern approach. The NPS anticipates this closure will last until mid-2022.
According to the NPS, "during construction, visitors can walk into the Paw Paw Tunnel when approaching from the south but will not be able to continue past the north end of the tunnel. The south entrance is where day-use visitors access the tunnel already, and it is the closest entrance to the Paw Paw Tunnel campground and parking area. The campground and parking area will also remain open to through travelers on the towpath."
Cyclists may walk their bikes up and over the Paw Paw Tunnel using the Tunnel Bypass Trail, which features beautiful views of the Potomac River and Paw Paw, W. Va. The Tunnel Bypass Trail is approximately a mile and a half long with an elevation change of 375 feet. From the south (closer to the Paw Paw Tunnel parking lot), the Tunnel Bypass Trail begins by crossing the canal and climbs 0.63 miles to the top (or about one foot of rise per nine feet of distance). On the downstream (construction) end, the bypass begins where the Tunnel Hill Trail meets the towpath near mile marker 155 and climbs 0.82 miles to the top (one foot of rise per 11.5 feet of distance). This detour is open and available for runners and hikers, as well.
For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/pawpaw-closure.htm