The military also used the highway for training soldiers for Iraq in the early 2000s, even after the highway was sold to the SAC.[16]. The Southern Alleghenies Conservancy group has disappeared completely -- no forwarding information or contact information can be found. The PTC still owns a stretch of about 0.25 miles (0.40 km; 1,300 ft; 400 m) on the west and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) on the east for maintenance purposes. Only tunnel on the turnpike that featured exhaust fans at one portal . Maybe this next summer’s big trip. If all of this sounds appealing to you, follow along as I explain exactly how to find the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, and what to expect when you visit. The abandoned Kunes Camp is an easy 2 mile out-and-back hike to the ruins of a hunting camp built BETWEEN massive boulders on the Quehanna plateau. Would take LOTS of work and money to make the tunnels and roadways “safe” and ADA compliant, and all the things that go into making public trails these days. As with the tunnel walls, the ventilation room is heavily graffitied and quite popular with urban explorers looking to leave their mark. In 2005, the PTC restricted access to the abandoned turnpike by demolishing an overpass over U.S. Route 30 (US 30) in Breezewood and an overpass on Pump Station Road near the site of the old Cove Valley Travel Plaza. The Sideling Hill Tunnel was the longest of the original seven Turnpike tunnels, at 1.3 miles in length. The surface is similar to a driveway or parking lot that hasn’t been maintained in many years. You’re welcome Renny, and thanks for checking out the write-up! PA Bucket List | PA's Best AD-FREE Adventure Guide! All Rights Reserved. The studios mildly restored the exterior of the eastern portal of the Ray's Hill Tunnel when it was used for filming. As with everything in the tunnels and along the entire length of the abandoned PA Turnpike, enter at your own risk and use extreme caution. I’ve seen lots of old tunnels that had them, but I never bothered to venture a guess as to what they were used for. For the other abandoned section, see, Publicly accessible portions in red, closed portions in grey, Rays Hill Tunnel in magenta, Sideling Hill Tunnel in dark magenta, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, "Cycling: Tighter Security near Confluence Dam Sends Cyclists in Search of New Campsite", "Improving the Roadway: Turnpike Considers Tunnel Options", Template:Attached KML/Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, Solomons Island Cycling Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Photos, Mainline Turnpike (I-70, I-76, I-95, I-276), Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, Hoverter and Sholl Box Huckleberry Natural Area, Carbon County Environmental Education Center, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, Harrison Hills Park Environmental Education Center, Honey Hollow Environmental Education Center, Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, Kings Gap Environmental Education and Training Center, Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center, Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center, Wildlife Center at Sinnemahoning State Park, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abandoned_Pennsylvania_Turnpike&oldid=991096457, Historic trails and roads in Pennsylvania, Protected areas of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Protected areas of Fulton County, Pennsylvania, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2019, Articles containing potentially dated statements from November 2007, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The intersection of Tannery Road and US 30 is just east of the Breezewood interchange where, A parking lot exists on the trail at the eastern end of the turnpike off Pump Station Road north of US 30; the entrance is a service road just south of where a turnpike overpass was removed in 2005. THe Laurel Hill Tunnel is now privately owned by Chip Ganassi racing and used for aerodynamic testing. I’m going to, since I’m too young to even begin to guess. When it was originally built, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was a four lane highway, but only had one lane tunnels. Tunnel boring work started by the South Penn Railroad. We have plenty of “maintained” hiking / biking paths and tunnels in the state. Graffiti is omnipresent, and some of it is pretty graphic (and not pictured in this write-up). You enter the Rays Hill Tunnel from Bedford County in the west, and emerge in Fulton County to the east. It was a blast. Eventually this created back-ups that needed to be … By foot or by bike, the Rays Hill Tunnel is 1.5 miles from the Breezewood parking area. I n 1968, The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission successfully completed a bypass of two tunnels, Sideling and Ray's Hill, one service plaza, Cove Valley and nearly 13 miles of roadway. How about Ghost Roads? [11] On March 15, 1965, the new tube opened to traffic, after which the original tube was closed to allow updates to be made. It was bypassed in 1968 with a new modern section of Turnpike having a wide median and climbing lanes. My partner and I went on this trail today. I would love to see this! Thank you for the great write up. No – that is the Graffiti Highway in Centralia. How wasteful to just allow this area to deteriorate after all the funds piured into that project. Our family still holds odd lots of inaccessible land along the 76. Great article, wonderfully written. One interesting feature of the eastern portal of the Rays Hill Tunnel is that it is the only portal on any of the original Turnpike tunnels that does not have a ventilation fan on top of it. Would like to see the graphics art from the inside. There are three access points to the public section of the abandoned highway: The Abandoned Turnpike is perhaps the best-known of tunnel bypasses on toll roads. The parking lot itself is actually part of the abandoned Turnpike. Traffic jams formed at each tunnel, especially during the summer. For the purposes of this write-up, I’m going to describe starting from the Breezewood parking area in the west. E-ZPass Customer Service Center - 877.736.6727 | Turnpike Customer Assistance Center - 800.331.3414 (Outside U.S., please call 717-831-7601) ©2020 The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. [citation needed], As of November 2007[update], the trail is in the process of changing ownership to Bedford County. Very much looking forward to this! It would cost untold millions to make this trail and those tunnels “safe” by insurance standards, which is why I have my doubts this will ever be much “safer” than it is right now. Making your way back through the Sideling Hill Tunnel to the eastern portal, one more adventure awaits on top of the tunnel itself. I think I found my next big trip!! There are two main access points. Or you can reverse course and retrace your steps back to the parking area along Tannery Road. No controls so perfect place for ambush, robbery, rape, etc. What were the offices used for? The Bedford Coffee Pot is one of the last “roadside giants” along the Lincoln Highway, America’s first coast-to-coast highway. If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to stay up-to-date on my latest write-ups. Relics of the nation’s first superhighway, now a desolate hiking / biking trail in Bedford and Fulton counties. Click on video to play. The most direct route there is via the turnpike to Breezewood, then backtracking east on Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway). As you make your way through and reach the eastern side (and Fulton County), you see the wide-open office entrance at that portal. © 2020 Rusty Glessner / PA Bucket List. In the early 1970s, the emission levels of unleaded gasoline were tested in Rays Hill Tunnel. That was actually the first tunnel that they bypassed, I believe. Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media! The Big Savage Tunnel on the nearby Great Allegheny Passage being one of them. Built in 1927 as a gimmick to get motorists to stop for food and fuel, the Bedford Coffee Pot is located a half-hour west of the Breezewood access to the Abandoned PA Turnpike. This site is … The section of the turnpike was at one time part of the South Pennsylvania Railroad. The Sideling Hill Tunnel was the longest of the original seven Turnpike tunnels, at 1.3 miles in length. If you choose to continue eastward, you can expect to be at the Sideling Hill Tunnel in another 9 miles. The eastern portal of the Sideling Hill Tunnel as pictured in a historical photo at the PA State Museum in Harrisburg. The demolition of the overpasses removed the liability and expense of repairing the aging bridges, marked the property lines between the public and the PTC-owned sections of the property, and prevented motorized vehicles from easily entering the abandoned turnpike. Still, if you’re an “urban explorer”, you’ll want to check this series of small rooms out. … The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike is a 13 mile stretch of roadway that was part of the original alignment of the PA Turnpike. Sideling Hill Tunnel on the Abandoned PA Turnpike in September 2020. Perhaps I’ll make them a must see in the near future! The … A stairway behind the fans leads to the ventilation shafts above the tunnel. When the Pennsylvania Turnpike … Yes it was – the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built on top of the started-but-never-completed South Pennsylvania Railroad, which was a joint partnership between famous businessmen of the day William Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie (pictured below in front of the Rays Hill Tunnel in 1884), Henry Clay Frick, and J.P. Morgan. [citation needed], The tunnel's entrances have deteriorated due to vandalism, and their signboards were taken sometime between 1981 and 1999. The trip is relatively flat and easy to traverse. At this point you’ve traveled 2 miles along the abandoned PA Turnpike. So don’t be surprised to see some of those features in this area around the tunnel. It is a very popular bike trail, and cell service has not been a problem for me (using Verizon) anywhere other than inside the tunnels obviously. Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel and adventure guide. Please be aware that this course contains long, crumbling sections of road and 2 tunnels that lack lights. Be prepared for at least a 2 mile hike from RT 30 to the tunnel. I have a toddler. Located east of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, near Interstate 70. After what seems like forever, you’ll emerge from the western end of the Sideling Hill Tunnel. This place... read more. What about the 7th tunnel, where they built the Somerset bypass? [8] The Laurel Hill Tunnel was bypassed using a deep cut to the north; it would feature a wide median, truck climbing lanes, and a 145-foot (44 m)-deep cut into the mountain. Approximately 0.5 miles past the old travel plaza you will catch your first glance of the Sideling Hill Tunnel. Massive fans on top of the tunnels helped force fresh air in and exhaust fumes out. Among the other bypassed tunnels: This article is about the abandoned section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Breezewood and Sideling Hill. Do this in late October and you will get the greatest colors of orange, red, and yellow leaves you have seen in years. Follow the gravel path uphill from the parking area to the abandoned PA Turnpike. The western portal is heavily graffitied and features an office you can easily enter. An obvious trail up the left side of the tunnel leads to the entrance of the ventilation room on top. If you want to see the entire thing, it really makes no difference which end you start at. It’s really more awe-inspiring than scary. Before you enter the Rays Hill Tunnel, let me give you a few tips. Now, the sight looks post-apocalyptic. 2. You have entered an incorrect email address! As mentioned previously, you can easily navigate to the Breezewood parking area using GPS coordinates 39.999862, -78.228380. But you could just as easily start at the Sideling Hill parking area in the east. February 17, 2017 Editor's Note: Bernie Newman's Breezewood in the Fall was the first real feature that I had on my fledgling website in late 1999. I don’t see it ever happening in my lifetime. It is arguably the most famous abandoned attraction in Pennsylvania, and certainly the largest at 13 miles long. My wife & I did the tunnels back in 2016. The office doors on this side of the tunnel offer up another great photo-op. My grandmother’s farm was taken by the state to build a portion of the turnpike west of here. It’s paved, with a lot of cracks and bumps. Thomas-GenevieveH, Higham, Suffolk, UK. Fast forward to today, and here’s what you can expect. The only thing that comes close to this, in my experience, is the Abandoned Trolley Graveyard in neighboring Somerset County. [9] The construction of the second tube at Allegheny Mountain cost $12 million. As of 2012[update], the Friends of the Pike 2 Bike are seeking to obtain grants that will allow the building of an access road and to rebuild on it the last remaining original toll booth, which was obtained in 2006. The office at the western portal of the Rays Hill Tunnel is open to easy entry, but there isn’t a whole lot to see. In Partnership with Information Logistics It was awesome. Kids fascinated by the tunnels. Published by admin at January 7, 2016. Expect a mishmash of unmaintained terrain when you hike along the 8.5-mile stretch of the abandoned PA Turnpike that spans from Breezewood to Waterfall. Okay, so nobody asked. And now you know everything you need to know to do the same! Reviewed 4 weeks ago. That means that the Sideling Hill Tunnel is VERY dark inside, the closer you get to the center. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Once across the bridge, Rays Hill Tunnel comes into view. This past Saturday (10/24/2020) they had the End of the Road half marathon on the abandoned PA turnpike starting at the opposite end of your article at Siding Hill and going through Rays Tunnel. Especially the tunnels? Because the two 2-lane tunnels along this stretch of the turnpike caused severe traffic back-ups as vehicles on the 4-lane highway had to merge to pass through them. Place is dark, tunnels falling apart, no lighting or ventilation in tunne ls, place filled w/ horrid grafitti. I have a motorized handicapped scooter. Looking towards the east, you can see Sideling Hill in the distance, home of the second tunnel on this excursion. – glad you enjoyed the write-up! Just before reaching the Rays Hill Tunnel, you’ll cross over Mountain Chapel Road via the short bridge pictured below. The 13-mile section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was abandoned in November of 1968, when a bypass was built over the mountains and the road suddenly became obsolete. 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