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Dec 2, 2013 - Paw Paw Tunnel of Cumberland

There are many marvelous works in this world and some of them defies common sense and logic. But that is what makes them wonders of the world which includes unexplainable sites like The Great Pyramids of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Statue of Zeus at Olympia. We are talking about an ambitious sculptor who was traveling around in 432 B.C. who started his work on the Statue of Zeus and worked on it for 12 years.

For our Maryland charter bus customers who are looking for our very own Maryland ‘wonder of the world’, there is one right here in Cumberland, Maryland. Paw Paw Tunnel. Although quite incomparable to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, it is still a magnificent feat. You have to consider the fact that it was an absolute engineering feat when these men were armed with nothing more than shovels, picks, mules and maybe a couple of dynamites.

The Power of Paw Paw Tunnel

During the 19th Century, people needed to get through the C&O Tunnel through an easier and more direct route. Instead of scaling, climbing and hiking across the country with its valleys and horseshoe terrains, they needed a way to just cut through the chase, so to speak. Hence, the tunnel.

Paw Paw Tunnel Facts

The tunnel measures up to 3,118 foot long or 950 m long which cuts through the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Needless to say, there were many obstacles encountered along the way and in fact, work for stopped for a short period of time between 1841 to 1847 during which time, gangs formed by various immigrant workers and laborers from different ethnicities (which were primarily used for similar works in other parts of the country) fought violently against each other.

To this very day, Paw Paw Tunnel remains to be one of the world’s longest canal tunnels and modern engineers neither had enough knowledge about how it was done nor were they able to explain the feat.

The Paw Paw Tunnel of Today

The wonderful thing is that authorities have decided to let the tunnel go back to its original state - which essentially means that there is very little done to restore or maintain the towpath. Is it safe to explore? Absolutely! And it is an amazing experience too!

You will need a flashlight to get through the tunnel’s towpath, which remains usable despite not receiving consistent attention. Once you hike through to the other side, you will do a two-mile hike back over the hill trail back to the this side of the tunnel.

In January 2013, the tunnel suffered a rock slide which closed the trail for a couple of months. Restorative work was done and it reopened in the month of April 2013.