33 Abandoned Places in PA You Can Legally Explore

The western portal of Rays Hill Tunnel along the Abandoned PA Turnpike

If you’re looking for the best abandoned places in PA you can legally explore, this is the article for you!

Doorway to Alvira bunker number 2.
Doorway to abandoned Alvira Bunker Number 2 in Union County.

This article highlights 33 abandoned places in PA that continue to fascinate visitors decades after they outlived their intended purposes.

The abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel was officially called the Beaver Dam Tunnel when it was in use by the railroads.
The abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel in Centre County.

Some of these sites were abandoned due to technological shifts that left them obsolete.

Abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunker entrance.
One of the abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in Cameron County.

Others were abandoned after natural disasters.

Freeman Run passing through the ruins of Austin Dam in Potter County PA.
Freeman Run passing through the ruins of Austin Dam in Potter County, one of the most historic abandoned places in PA.

Some of them have been, in more recent times, repurposed for new uses.

The Salisbury Viaduct disappears into the Pennsylvania foothills near Meyersdale.
The Salisbury Viaduct disappears into the Pennsylvania foothills near Meyersdale.

But one thing all of them have in common is that the Earth is slowly reclaiming them, and one day they will all be but distant memories.

The muddy remains of Concrete City near Nanticoke.
The muddy remains of the abandoned Concrete City near Nanticoke.

But before they are gone, I’ll share with you a few of the more interesting abandoned places in PA I have explored in recent years.

The ruins of Scotia are a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers near State College.
The ghost town of Scotia is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers near State College.

All of these abandoned places in PA were legal to explore at the time I visited them – but that may not always be the case in the future, so please heed any “no trespassing” signs or the like should they pop up in the future.

The Rockland Tunnel along the Allegheny River Rail Trail in Venango County PA.
The Rockland Tunnel along the Allegheny River Rail Trail in Venango County PA.

For each destination below, be sure to click on the blue text link to view detailed directions and in-depth information about it.

Upon its completion in 1929, Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States.
Upon its completion in 1929, Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States.

Many of these properties are not maintained or monitored for safety conditions, and therefore these are all strictly VISIT AT YOUR OWN RISK DESTINATIONS!

By voluntarily exploring any of these locations, YOU assume the risk of any personal injury or damage to personal property, and shall not hold the author liable for any injuries, losses, or damages that may occur while visiting any of these locations.


1. The Abandoned PA Turnpike

Let’s start with the biggest, and some would say best, abandoned place in PA – the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike!

Approaching the western portal of the Sideling Hill Tunnel on the Abandoned PA Turnpike in September 2020.
The Abandoned PA Turnpike is one of the largest abandoned places in PA.

Thirteen miles of abandoned superhighway, last open to normal vehicle traffic in 1968.

A photographer illuminated by a spotlight inside the Sideling Hill Tunnel.
A photographer illuminated by a spotlight inside the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

The highlights of this abandoned superhighway are two tunnels, both roughly a mile long.

A group of hikers entering the Sideling Hill Tunnel.
A group of hikers entering the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

Today the Abandoned PA Turnpike is a non-maintained hiking/biking trail, but how long it remains a viable destination for those activities is anyone’s guess.

Bicycling the Sideling Hill Tunnel in September 2020.
Bicycling the Sideling Hill Tunnel in September 2020.

2. Concrete City

Concrete City lies tucked away in an overgrown, city-owned plot of land on the outskirts of Nanticoke, in Luzerne County.

4 of the 20 duplexes in Concrete City in Luzerne County.
4 of the 20 duplexes in Concrete City in Luzerne County.

At the time of its construction Concrete City was considered to be a “community of the future”, but it was abandoned a mere 11 years after the first residents moved in.

Living room of a duplex in Concrete City.
Living room of a duplex in Concrete City.

Despite occasional reports of efforts being made to preserve Concrete City for its historic merits, you’d be hard pressed to find any evidence of that when visiting today.

And due to the deteriorating condition of the buildings, it’s certainly possible that at some point Concrete City will simply become off-limits for liability reasons.

A burned-out truck resting on a road in Concrete City.
A burned-out truck resting on a road in Concrete City.

3. Abandoned Alvira Munitions Bunkers

The abandoned Alvira munitions bunkers are remnants of the American WWII war effort, as well as reminders of what lengths the federal government will go to to seize private property for “the greater good”.

Inside one of the abandoned Alvira bunkers.
One of the one hundred and forty-nine concrete bunkers at Alvira.

In the case of Alvira (originally founded as Wisetown in 1825), the federal government used the courts and eminent domain to force residents to accept buyouts of their homes, so that their entire town could be leveled and turned into a TNT manufacturing plant and storage facility known as the Pennsylvania Ordnance Works.

Doorway to Alvira bunker number 5.
Doorway to Alvira bunker number 5.

Today, the Alvira bunkers, as well as remnants of Wisetown, are located in the Union County portion of State Game Lands 252, approximately 7 miles south of Williamsport.

View from the back of one of the abandoned Alvira bunkers.
View from the back of one of the abandoned Alvira bunkers.

4. The Abandoned Bayless Paper Mill

The abandoned Bayless Paper Mill will be forever linked to Pennsylvania’s second-deadliest flood on record, the Austin Dam Flood of 1911.

Looking down on the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County.
Looking down on the ruins of the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County.

Construction on the Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County began in 1900, and the dam which provided the large volumes of water the mill required (and which ultimately failed and caused the flood) was built not long after that.

View of the abandoned Bayless Paper Mill from Route 872.
View of the abandoned Bayless Paper Mill from Route 872.

The Bayless Paper Mill was rebuilt after the flood in 1911, but ultimately succumbed to a massive fire in 1944 and was abandoned after that.

Today the abandoned Bayless Paper Mill is part of the Austin Dam Memorial Park in Potter County.

Holes in the floor and ceiling at the Bayless Paper Mill ruins in Potter County.
Holes in the floor and ceiling at the Bayless Paper Mill ruins in Potter County.

5. Austin Dam Ruins

Austin Dam in Potter County was billed as “the dam that could not break” at the time of its construction in 1909.

Aerial view of Austin Dam ruins in Potter County Pennsylvania.
The ruins of Austin Dam in Potter County.

Yet two years later it broke, with catastrophic consequences.

Memorial to the victims of the Austin Dam Flood at Austin Dam Memorial Park.
Memorial to the victims of the Austin Dam Flood at Austin Dam Memorial Park.

Today the ruins of Austin Dam are part of a memorial park dedicated to the 78 people who lost their lives in the flood of 1911.

Looking towards the Bayless Paper Mill ruins and Austin from behind the Austin Dam
Looking towards the Bayless Paper Mill ruins and Austin from behind the Austin Dam.

6. Abandoned Nuclear Jet Engine Testing Bunkers

The abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area are a fascinating Cold War-era remnant of Pennsylvania history, now slowly being reabsorbed by the surrounding forest of Cameron County.

Exterior view of the northern abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area.
The nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area are one of the more remote abandoned places in PA.

The goal of the work done at this once-secretive site was to develop nuclear-powered jet engines for the United States Air Force, so that fighter planes and bombers could stay airborne indefinitely, without refueling.

Observation windows in the nuclear jet engine testing bunkers.
Observation windows in the nuclear jet engine testing bunkers.

By 1960 the project was scrapped, and all that remains today are the nuclear jet engine testing bunkers themselves – large boxes of concrete and steel with tiny slit windows once covered by thick layers of blast-resistant glass, where engineers and technicians would have monitored the engines undergoing testing.

The entrance to the northern nuclear jet engine bunker in the Quehanna Wild Area Cameron County Pennsylvania
The entrance to the northern nuclear jet engine bunker in the Quehanna Wild Area in Cameron County

7. The Abandoned Kunes Camp

When the previously mentioned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers were built in Cameron County, local hunting camp owners were forced to abandoned their properties, and the abandoned Kunes Camp is one such property.

Kunes Camp in the spring of 2020.
Ruins of the abandoned Kunes Camp in the Quehanna Wild Area.

This ingeniously constructed camp has survived in part because two of the four walls are actually massive boulders that were incorporated into the camp structure itself.

Top-down view of Kunes Camp in the Quehanna Wild Area
Top-down view of Kunes Camp in the Quehanna Wild Area

Today the abandoned Kunes Camp is part of the yellow-blazed Kunes Camp Trail in the Quehanna Wild Area.

Entrance to Kunes Camp in the Quehanna Wild Area.
Entrance to Kunes Camp in the Quehanna Wild Area.

8. The Abandoned Dinkey Shed at the 1000 Steps

The Dinkey Shed was built in 1938 as a maintenance facility for the “dinkey trains” that pulled rail cars of ganister (sandstone) from the nearby Ledge Quarry in Huntingdon County.

The Dinky Shed along the Standing Stone Trail in late October.
The Dinky Shed along the Standing Stone Trail in late October.

Abandoned when the quarry closed in 1952, the Dinkey Shed has since been incorporated into the 1000 Steps, part of the Standing Stone Trail and one of the most popular hikes in central Pennsylvania.

Inside the Dinky Shed along the Standing Stone Trail.
Inside the Dinky Shed along the Standing Stone Trail.

9. The Ghost Town of Scotia

Driving along Scotia Range Road through State Game Lands 176 near State College now, you’d never guess that you are passing right by the location of a once-thriving iron mining boomtown.

Remains of the ore washer at Scotia near State College Pennsylvania.
Remains of the ghost town of Scotia.

But in the late 1800s, the company town of Scotia, built by one of the richest men in the world at the time, served as home to employees of Andrew Carnegie’s Scotia Mines and Iron Works.

Looking down on the abandoned Scotia iron ore washer from one of the earthen ramps.
Looking down on the abandoned iron ore washer from one of the earthen ramps at Scotia.

Now, Scotia is but a ghost town (and some say still inhabited by ghosts!), and the few remaining structures are being slowly swallowed up by the Earth.

Graffiti resembling the Black Ghost of Scotia painted on the ore washer ruins.
Graffiti resembling the Black Ghost of Scotia, painted on the ghost town ruins.

10. Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Turn Hole Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel built in 1866 and in use until 1956.

Abandoned railroad tunnel near Glen Onoko Falls Trail.
Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park is one of several abandoned places in PA located at a state park.

And while the tunnel is still open to park visitors, the popular and nearby Glen Onoko Falls Trail is no longer, closed by the PA Game Commission in 2019 after nearly 150 years of attracting tourists to the Jim Thorpe area.

Chameleon Falls along the Glen Onoko Waterfalls Trail in Pennsylvania
The author at Chameleon Falls along the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in 2018.

11. The Abandoned Blair Lime Kilns

The abandoned Blair Lime Kilns are remnants of a thriving limestone-processing facility that once operated around the clock in a now-tranquil corner of Blair County.

Fall foliage around the lime kilns at Canoe Creek State Park.
Remains of the abandoned lime kilns at Canoe Creek State Park.

As with many similar operations, once the local limestone was exhausted, the kilns were abandoned, and their remnants are now part of Canoe Creek State Park.

Early October at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County, Pennsylvania.
Early October at Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County.

12. The Kinzua Viaduct

The Kinzua Viaduct was once the longest and tallest railway bridge in the entire world!

The remains of the Kinzua Viaduct at Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County Pennsylvania.
The remains of the Kinzua Viaduct at Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County is one of the most-visited abandoned places in PA.

On July 21, 2003 , a tornado struck the bridge, destroying 11 of the 20 support structures.

The debris field left by the tornado that struck the Kinzua Viaduct in 2003.
The debris field left by the tornado that struck the Kinzua Viaduct in 2003.

The remains of the Kinzua Viaduct have been resurrected as the Kinzua Skywalk and are part of Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Looking out the Kinzua Skywalk towards the observation platform at the north end.
Looking out the Kinzua Skywalk towards the observation platform at the north end.

13. The Salisbury Viaduct

Abandoned as a railroad bridge in the mid-Seventies, the Salisbury Viaduct has in more recent times been reborn as part of the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail in western PA.

The steel trestles supporting the Salisbury Viaduct in Somerset County PA
The steel trestles supporting the Salisbury Viaduct in Somerset County, PA.

Explorers can hike or bike across this 101 foot-high, 1,908 foot-long former railroad bridge and experience exceptional views of the surrounding countryside.

Rusty Glessner taking in the sunrise over the Salisbury Viaduct.
The abandoned Salisbury Viaduct, now part of the Great Allegheny Passage.

14. The Big Savage Tunnel

The Big Savage Tunnel, also located in Somerset County, is a formerly abandoned railroad tunnel that has been incorporated into the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail.

Trains from the Western Maryland Railroad once passed through the Big Savage Tunnel, now part of the Great Allegheny Passage.
Trains from the Western Maryland Railroad once passed through the Big Savage Tunnel, now part of the Great Allegheny Passage.

Today you can hike or bike through this 3,294 foot long tunnel which was a critical link in the Western Maryland Railway, until the entire line was abandoned in 1975.

The southeastern entrance to the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage.
The southeastern entrance to the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage.

15. Rockland Tunnel

Completed in 1916, the Rockland Tunnel in Venango County was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad to expedite the transportation of oil out of the region.

Entrance to the Rockland Tunnel along the Allegheny River Rail Trail.
Entrance to the Rockland Tunnel along the Allegheny River Rail Trail.

Now part of the Allegheny River Rail Trail, explorers can hike or bike through this unlit, 2,868 foot-long tunnel.

The Rockland Tunnel in Venango County, PA.
The Rockland Tunnel in Venango County, PA.

16. Rockland Furnace

Rockland Furnace, located just minutes from the Rockland Tunnel, was used to produce iron ore starting in 1832, before being abandoned in 1854.

Rockland Furnace near Kennerdell in Venango County PA
The abandoned Rockland Furnace near Kennerdell in Venango County, PA

Rockland Furnace was powered by a dam and water wheel on Shull Run, where today you’ll find the beautiful Freedom Falls.

Freedom Falls on Shull Run in Venango County.
Freedom Falls on Shull Run in Venango County.

17. Greenwood Furnace

From 1834 to 1904, the furnaces of Greenwood in Huntingdon County produced charcoal-fired iron in great abundance, and a thriving company town that included nearly 130 buildings evolved around that industry.

History of the furnace and iron making operation at Greenwood Furnace State Park.
History of the furnace and iron making operation at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Today, the ghost town of Greenwood and the abandoned remains of the furnaces are part of the larger Greenwood Furnace State Park.

Exploring the inside of the Greenwood Furnace.
Exploring the inside of the Greenwood Furnace.

18. The Abandoned Cresson State Prison

The Abandoned Cresson State Prison in Cambria County began as a tuberculosis sanatorium when it opened in 1913 and morphed over the years into a state hospital and finally a state prison.

Abandoned cell block at SCI Cresson in Cambria County.
Inside the abandoned Cresson State Prison in Cambria County.

Today you can schedule a legal visit to the former SCI-Cresson through Hydroponic Life – the company than now occupies the grounds.

Razorwire and Tudor-style architecture at the former Cresson STate Prison in Cambria County.
Razorwire and Tudor-style architecture at the former Cresson State Prison in Cambria County.

This site is so massive, I dedicated an entire second article to the subject, which focuses more on the Cresson Sanatorium days of the complex.

Audiology testing equipment at the former Cresson Sanatorium in Cambria County PA.
Audiology testing equipment.

Unfortunately, as of the summer of 2023, a legal battle is playing out in the courts between Big House Produce, the hydroponic farmers who also operate the tours of the grounds, and the landlord of the property.

Cresson Sanatorium and Prison social media announcement in June 2023.
Cresson Sanatorium and Prison social media announcement in June 2023. (Image credit: Facebook).

Which means at least for now, all tours of the former Cresson Sanatorium are on hold (I’ll remove these paragraphs if the legal matters are sorted out and tours resume).

Cresson Sanatorium and Prison social media announcement in August 2023.
Cresson Sanatorium and Prison social media announcement in August 2023. (Image credit: Facebook).

19. The Abandoned POW Camp in Cumberland County

Did you know that during World War Two, German and Japanese prisoners of war were housed and interrogated at a secret camp near what is now Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County?!

Ruins of the secret POW interrogation camp in the MIchaux State Forest.
Ruins of the secret POW interrogation camp in the MIchaux State Forest.

The Pine Grove Furnace POW Camp, as it was known at the time, was classified as “secret” and no civilians worked there or were allowed to have knowledge of the camp.

Ruins of Camp Michaux in Cumberland County Pennsylvania.
Ruins of Camp Michaux in Cumberland County.

Today, the abandoned ruins of the former Pine Grove Furnace POW Camp are located in the Michaux State Forest.

Site of the POW camp flagpole in the Michaux State Forest.
Site of the POW camp flagpole in the Michaux State Forest.

20. The Haunted Quaker Church in Fayette County

The “Haunted Quaker Church” in Fayette County is actually a stone chapel built in 1895 on the site of an even older, abandoned Quaker meeting house that dated back to 1793.

The historic Quaker Cemetery and site of the former Quaker meetinghouse outside Perryopolis, PA.
The historic Quaker Cemetery and site of the former Quaker meetinghouse outside Perryopolis.

The cemetery around the stone chapel contains more than 500 graves (many unmarked as was Quaker tradition), and rumours exist to this day (most likely urban legends) that the Quaker meeting house was the site of a secret witch trial, execution, and subsequent haunting!

A view of the interior of the "haunted Quaker Church" in Fayette County, PA.
A view of the interior of the “haunted Quaker Church” in Fayette County, PA.

The rumors persist in part due to the “ghostly image” which is apparent on a boarded-up back window of the chapel.

A ghostly face on the interior of the "haunted Quaker Church" in Fayette County, near Perryopolis.
A “ghostly face” on the interior of the “haunted Quaker Church” in Fayette County, near Perryopolis.

21. The Abandoned Fountain of Youth Near Pittsburgh

The Fountain of Youth really does exist, and you can find it in a public park just north of Pittsburgh!

The Fountain of Youth in North Park, north of PIttsburgh.
The abandoned Fountain of Youth in North Park, Allegheny County.

This 1930s-era roadside attraction now sits abandoned in North Park in Allegheny County, but was once a public source of water (and dreams of eternal youth) until that water was deemed unfit for human consumption in 1955.

Close-up of the Fountain of Youth seal above the springhouse in North Park.
Close-up of the Fountain of Youth seal above the springhouse in North Park.

Today, you can find the neglected remnants of the Fountain of Youth along Kummer Road near Wexford.

The Fountain of Youth at Allegheny County's North Park, just outside Pittsburgh.
The Fountain of Youth at Allegheny County’s North Park.

22. The Abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp

The abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp in Fulton County was used to house German prisoners of war after the Nazis surrendered in May, 1945.

Inside the General's quarters at the abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp.
Inside the General’s quarters at the abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp.

Today you’ll find the abandoned ruins of the Sideling Hill POW Camp in the Buchanan State Forest.

The former officers quarters at the abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp in Fulton County, PA.
The former officers quarters at the abandoned Sideling Hill POW Camp in Fulton County, PA.

23. The Abandoned South Penn Railroad Aqueduct

The abandoned South Penn Railroad Aqueduct in Fulton County is a perfectly-preserved remnant of a railroad that never was.

The intricately-crafted South Pennsylvania Railroad Aqueduct in the Buchanan State Forest.
The intricately-crafted South Pennsylvania Railroad Aqueduct in the Buchanan State Forest.

Built in 1883 by Sicilian stone masons for a railroad that was never completed, the abandoned South Penn Railroad Aqueduct can be found in the present-day Buchanan State Forest.

The interior of the abandoned South Penn Railroad arch near the Sideling Hill Tunnel.
The interior of the abandoned South Penn Railroad aqueduct near the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

24. The Abandoned Hunting Lodge at Linn Run State Park

The abandoned hunting lodge at Linn Run State Park is a remarkable set of ruins from the early days of “retreat camping” in western Pennsylvania.

The front entrance to the former McGinnis Rod and Gun Club on Linn Run.
The abandoned hunting lodge at Linn Run State Park.

Built in 1922, the McGinnis Rod and Gun Club existed for roughly 20 years before the building was consumed by fire, leaving only the stone walls and fireplace you see today.

Inside the ruins of the abandoned hunting lodge at Linn Run State Park.
Inside the ruins of the abandoned hunting lodge at Linn Run State Park.

25. The Abandoned Ski Resort at Denton Hill State Park

The abandoned ski resort at Denton Hill State Park in Potter County is a case study in dystopian beauty.

Ski lift at the abandoned Denton Hill State Park ski resort.
The abandoned ski resort at Denton Hill State Park.

Last operated in 2014, the ski resort is closed, but the state park is still very much open to visitors.

Beautiful fall foliage surrounding the abandoned ski lifts at Denton Hill State Park.
Beautiful fall foliage surrounding the abandoned ski lifts at Denton Hill State Park.

Will the abandoned ski resort at Denton Hill State Park ever reopen, or will it remain a rusty tribute to days gone by?

Ski lift controls at the abandoned Denton Hill State Park ski resort.
Ski lift controls at the abandoned Denton Hill State Park ski resort.

26. The Abandoned Rockport Road Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Rockport Road Tunnel is an abandoned tunnel located near the Rockport access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Entrance to the abandoned tunnel along Rockport Road at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Entrance to the abandoned tunnel along Rockport Road at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

You’ll find this tunnel near the Rockport Access parking area (see map below) at GPS coordinates 40.96631, -75.75677.

Map to Buttermilk Falls Lukes Falls and the Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Map to the Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The tunnel is fairly short (you can see one end from the other), but quite low in the center, and I had to hunch down quite a bit to get through to the far side.

Inside the abandoned tunnel near the Rockport Access to the Lehigh Gorge Trail.
Inside the abandoned tunnel near the Rockport Access to the Lehigh Gorge Trail.

When you emerge on the eastern side you have a clear view down to the Rockport Access parking area, the Lehigh Gorge rail trail, and the Lehigh River.

Mouth of tunnel overlooking Rockport Access parking lot.
Mouth of tunnel on eastern side, overlooking Rockport Access parking lot and the Lehigh River.

27. The Hidden Ruins at Raystown Lake

Exploring Hidden Ruins at Raystown Lake is your guide to discovering the abandoned ruins of roads, bridges, and homes of historical significance, hidden around and beneath the surface of Raystown Lake.

Sunken railroad bridge at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Sunken railroad bridge at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.

As the vegetation dies back and the waters of Raystown Lake are drawn down each winter, this allows for a glimpse at some magnificent hidden ruins not normally visible the rest of the year.

Ruins of the Brumbaugh homestead on the shore of Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
Ruins of the Brumbaugh homestead on the shore of Raystown Lake.

28. The Abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher

The abandoned Westinghouse Atom Smasher is an iconic relic from the very dawn of the atomic age in the United States.

Rubble is all that remains of the base of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher in Forest Hills, PA.
The Westinghouse Atom Smasher near Pittsburgh is one of the most unusual abandoned places in PA.

For almost 80 years, the Westinghouse Atom Smasher was a landmark in Forest Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh roughly 10 miles east of downtown, and it was instrumental in the pioneering work leading to the development of nuclear power in the United States.

Black and white image of the Westinghouse Atom Smasher, now lying o its side in Forest Hills, PA.
The Westinghouse Atom Smasher, now lying on its side in Forest Hills, PA.

29. The Carrie Blast Furnaces in Pittsburgh

The Carrie Blast Furnaces were in operation from 1884 until 1982, turning iron ore into purified, molten iron which was then used as an ingredient in the steel-making process.

Staring up at one of the massive Carrie Blast Furnaces during an industrial tour by Rivers of Steel.
Staring up at one of the massive Carrie Blast Furnaces during an industrial tour by Rivers of Steel.

When the furnaces were closed in 1982, large swaths of the site met the wrecking ball.

The Carrie Deer was created using parts salvaged from the abandoned industrial site.
The Carrie Deer was created using parts and materials salvaged from the abandoned industrial site.

Today the Rivers of Steel nonprofit group puts on tours, workshops, exhibitions, and festivals at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, to promote tourism and economic development in the region, as well as preserving the site itself.

Standing at the base of one of the Carrie Blast Furnaces.
Standing at the base of one of the Carrie Blast Furnaces.

30. Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is America’s most-historic (and some say most-haunted) prison!

The halls at Eastern State Penitentiary were designed to have the feel of a church.
Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most famous abandoned places in PA.

Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, Eastern State Penitentiary was the most famous and expensive prison in the world when it opened in 1829.

Eastern State Penitentiary was designed with a neo-Gothic look to instill fear into those who thought of committing a crime.
Eastern State Penitentiary was designed with a neo-Gothic look to instill fear into those who thought of committing a crime.

Abandoned in 1971, saved from the wrecking ball, and now owned by a non-profit organization, Eastern State Penitentiary operates as a year-round museum and historic site.

Upon its completion in 1929, Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States.
Upon its completion in 1929, Eastern State Penitentiary was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States.

31. The Abandoned Coburn Railroad Tunnel

The abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel was constructed as part of the Lewisburg, Centre and Spruce Creek Railroad in the 1870s, and remained in service for nearly 100 years, until it was officially abandoned by the Penn Central Railroad in 1970.

The more-refined eastern portal of the abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel in Centre County Pennsylvania.
The eastern portal of the abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel.

The tunnel is roughly 260 feet long, and other than the eastern portal, is completely unlined.

The Coburn railroad tunnel was officially abandoned in 1970 and the tracks were removed in 1971.
The Coburn railroad tunnel was officially abandoned in 1970 and the tracks were removed in 1971.

Today, the Coburn Tunnel sits abandoned, but is still passable to foot traffic nearly 150 years after it was first dug.

The abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel is 260 feet long and was built in the 1870s.
The abandoned Coburn railroad tunnel is 260 feet long and was built in the 1870s.

32. The Abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen

The abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen State Park is a towering remnant of an ill-fated hydroelectric project that thankfully failed!

The abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen State Park was constructed with the intention of generating hydroelectric power.
The abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen State Park was constructed with the intention of generating hydroelectric power.

Had the project been successful, it would have fundamentally changed the character of an area that became one on Pennsylvania’s most spectacular state parks.

The Lake Leigh Dam was built the same year as the Panic of 1907 financial crisis, part of the reason the hydroelectric project never took off.
The Lake Leigh Dam is one of the lesser known abandoned places in PA, despite being located at an extremely popular state park.

Today the Lake Leigh Dam is slowly being reclaimed by Nature, but the abandoned ruins are still easily visible more that 100 years after they were first constructed.

A trailside view of the abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen State Park.
A trailside view of the abandoned Lake Leigh Dam at Ricketts Glen State Park.

33. Yellow Dog Village

Yellow Dog Village is a former mining company town dating back to the early 1900s that now serves as a time capsule and tourist attraction in Armstrong County, PA.

Yellow Dog Village featured a mixture of duplexes and single family homes.
Yellow Dog Village is one of the most unique abandoned places in PA.

Unlike many so-called “ghost towns” that amount to little more than a sign and the remnants of a few foundations, Yellow Dog Village is a collection of 26 buildings and a park where people lived and played for nearly 100 years.

The family room of a home at Yellow Dog Village.
The family room of a home at Yellow Dog Village.

Paid tours of Yellow Dog Village are now available several times a month, with the proceeds being used to help repair some of the homes.

An American flag on one of the front porches at Yellow Dog Village.
An American flag still flies from one of the front porches at Yellow Dog Village.

So there you have it – 33 awesomely abandoned places in Pennsylvania you can LEGALLY visit!

The Abandoned PA Turnpike rail trail in Bedford County.
The Abandoned PA Turnpike rail trail in Bedford County.

Honorable Mention

The Windber Trolley Graveyard deserves an honorable mention on any list of amazing abandoned places in Pennsylvania.

The parallel train tracks where many of the vintage trolley cars sit rusting away in Windber, Pennsylvania.
The parallel train tracks where many of the vintage trolley cars sit rusting away in Windber, Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, the sprawling collection of trolleys, trains, and buses was sold to a salvage company in early 2023, and all the cars have either been sold to museums, trolley car collectors, or scrapped.

Touring the streetcars at the WIndber Trolley Graveyard is trip back through time.
Touring the streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard is a trip back through time.

So while the Abandoned Trolley Graveyard no longer exists, my article about it will remain up as a reminder of what was an amazing abandoned attraction in Pennsylvania.

Nature is slowly reclaiming the tracks and streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
Nature is slowly reclaiming the tracks and streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

I’m grateful I had the chance to take a personal tour of the property with the owner several years ago, and for the sake of posterity and as a tribute to his collection, I’ll leave my article and photo gallery from that visit intact on my website.

This trolley once carried passengers to Boston College, but now sits inside the repair shop at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
This trolley once carried passengers to Boston College, but now sits inside the repair shop at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

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Rusty Glessner
Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and a frequently-cited authority on PA's best travel destinations.