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Washington Heritage Trail Visitor Services History Calendar of Events Other Self-Guided Tours Links & Resources
Washington Heritage Trail
Jefferson County, WV
About Jefferson County
Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Jefferson Rock
Shenandoah Canal
Entler Hotel
Rumsey Monument and Tobacco Warehouse
Morgan's Grove Park
Peter Burr House
Charles Town
Jefferson County Courthouse and Museum
Zion Episcopal Church
Happy Retreat
St. George's Chapel Ruins
Cedar Lawn
Claymont Court/Blakeley
Middleway Historic District
Berkeley County, WV
About Berkeley County
B&O Roundhouse & Station Complex
Belle Boyd House
Berkeley County Courthouse
Triple Brick Museum
General Adam Stephen House
Green Hill Cemetery
Van Metre Ford Bridge
Bunker Hill Mill
Morgan Chapel
Morgan Cabin
Gerrardstown Historic District
Hays Gerrard House
Mill's Gap
Sleep Creek Wildlife Management Area
Hedgesville Historic District
Mt. Zion Episcopal Church
Snodgrass Tavern
Morgan County, WV
About Morgan County
Spruce Pine Hollow Park
Berkeley Springs
Dutch Cemetery
Throgmorton's Inn
Bath Historic District
Berkeley Springs State Park
George Washington's Bathtub
Roman Bath House & Museum of the Berkeley Springs
Washington's Lots
Sir John's Run
Panorama Overlook
Great Cacapon
Camp Hill Cemetery
Paw Paw
Paw Paw Tunnel
Coolfont Manor House
Cacapon State Park

Washington Heritage Trail



The Paw Paw Tunnel lies along the notorious bends of the Potomac River that confounded George Washington’s plans to move trade and settlement west along the river. Washington’s Potowmack Company ultimately failed and its assets were eventually turned over to the C&O Canal Company.

Beginning in 1836, the C&O Canal Company took 14 years to carve a 3118-foot tunnel through Sorrell Ridge eliminating several miles of river bends. Named the Paw Paw Tunnel, it was dubbed by American promoters as a wonder of the world. At 24 feet high, it is the largest manmade structure on the C&O Canal and is lined with more than six million bricks.

Construction of the tunnel was a horror of black powder blasting and hand-dug slag that ate up men, managers and money. By the time it finally opened in 1850, the railroad had arrived and rendered the canal obsolete although mules and canal boats transported manufactured goods through it until 1924.

Today, part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park, the restored canal towpath leads from a small park along the road to the gaping mouth of the dry tunnel. Walkers and cyclists are welcome year ‘round. National Park rangers lead guided tours on weekends in summer.


Copyright © 2010, Washington Heritage Trail, Inc. Funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration.