Exploring Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Looking through the Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park towards the north portal.

Turn Hole Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel located near the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Looking inside the abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Looking inside the abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Now used exclusively by hikers and explorers, Turn Hole Tunnel and the scenic Moyer’s Rock Overlook located directly above it are both must-see destinations when visiting the Glen Onoko portion of Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Moyer's Rock Overlook above the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail at Glen Onoko.
Moyer’s Rock Overlook above the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail at Glen Onoko.

History of Turn Hole Tunnel

Turn Hole Tunnel is named after the deep hole at the turn in the Lehigh River located directly below the tunnel, at the base of Moyer’s Rock.

View of the north portal of Turn Hole Tunnel from the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.
View of the north portal of Turn Hole Tunnel from the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail.

Turn Hole Tunnel was constructed in 1866 by the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad when they extended a rail line from White Haven to Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe).

Historic photo of Turn Hole Tunnel and Turn Hole Covered Bridge in what is not Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Historic photo of Turn Hole Tunnel and Turn Hole Covered Bridge at Glen Onoko.

The tunnel is 496 feet long, carried two sets of tracks through it (two sets of railroad ties can still be seen inside the tunnel), and was used in one capacity or another for rail traffic until it was abandoned in 1956.

Old railroad ties inside the Turn Hole Tunnel near Jim Thorpe, PA.
Old railroad ties inside the tunnel.

How to Find the Abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel

The abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel is easy to spot as you approach the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

A map to Turn Hole Tunnel and Moyer's Rock Overlook at the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.
A map to Turn Hole Tunnel and Moyer’s Rock Overlook at the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The tunnel will be on your right as you approach Glen Onoko, at GPS coordinates 40.88217, -75.76249.

Southwestern entrance to Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County PA.
Southwestern entrance to Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

At some point after it was abandoned, dirt and rocks were piled in front of the Turn Hole Tunnel entrance, no doubt to prevent vehicles from driving into it, but you can still easily walk into and through it.

Northern opening of the abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Glen Onoko.
Northern opening of the abandoned railroad tunnel at Glen Onoko.

Although you can see one end of the tunnel from the other, the middle section is somewhat dark, so having a flashlight handy is advisable.

Looking at the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail Bridge over the Lehigh River from the north portal of Turn Hole Tunnel.
Looking at the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail Bridge over the Lehigh River from the north portal of the tunnel.

From the far side / northern portal you can see the piers from the former railroad bridge still standing in the Lehigh River.

Piers of old railroad bridge that once extended from Turn Hole Tunnel to opposite bank of Lehigh River.
Piers of old railroad bridge that once extended from Turn Hole Tunnel to opposite bank of Lehigh River.

As you make your way back through Turn Hole Tunnel towards the parking area, note the 90 years worth of railroad soot on the roof!

Soot on the roof of the abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Soot on the roof of the abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Exploring Moyer’s Rock Overlook

Moyer’s Rock Overlook is located directly above Turn Hole Tunnel.

Moyer's Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Moyer’s Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

An obvious but unofficial/unblazed trail extends from the parking area closest to the tunnel entrance up a rocky path to the overlook, which you’ll find at GPS coordinates 40.88270, -75.76108.

Moyer's Rock Overlook Trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Moyer’s Rock Overlook Trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

To reiterate: this is an unblazed and unofficial trail, so hike it at your own risk.

Trail from Turn Hole Tunnel to Moyer's Rock Overlook.
Trail from Turn Hole Tunnel to Moyer’s Rock Overlook.

Hiking at a comfortable pace, I reached Moyer’s Rock Overlook in less than 10 minutes.

Looking out over the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail from Moyer's Rock Overlook above Turn Hole Tunnel.
Looking out over the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail from Moyer’s Rock Overlook above Turn Hole Tunnel.

From the overlook you’ll see many of the same sights you did from the northern portal of the Turn Hole Tunnel, but from a much higher vantage point.

View of the abandoned bridge piers in the Lehigh River from Moyer's Rock Overlook.
View of the abandoned bridge piers in the Lehigh River from Moyer’s Rock Overlook.

From the vast amount of graffiti at Moyer’s Rock Overlook, it seems that this is a popular local party spot, but if you can look past the paint, it’s still a fantastic vantage point.

Graffiti at Moyer's Rock Overlook at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Graffiti at Moyer’s Rock Overlook at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Final Thoughts

With the magnificent Glen Onoko Falls Trail currently off-limits, per its landlord the PA Game Commission, Turn Hole Tunnel and Moyer’s Rock Overlook just may be the most interesting things to see and explore in Glen Onoko.

Cave Falls at Glen Onoko in Carbon County Pensylvania
Cave Falls along the Glen Onoko Falls Trail, back in 2018 when it was still open to the public.

Whether you’re a railfan, an amateur archaeologist, or just a fan of all things old and abandoned, be sure to check out Turn Hole Tunnel and Moyer’s Rock Overlook next time you’re in the vicinity of Jim Thorpe and Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Turn Hole Tunnel at Glen Onoko.
Turn Hole Tunnel at Glen Onoko. in the Lehigh Gorge.

Nearby Attractions

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is a cascading waterfall along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail, 1/4 mile north of the Rockport Access to the park.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is an easy 1/4 mile hike/bike ride south of the Rockport Access to the park.

Fall foliage around Luke's Falls in October, 2021.
Fall foliage around Luke’s Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe is a steep but easy-to-follow trail leading up Mount Pisgah to a pair of fantastic Carbon County vistas.

The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.
The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.

Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County features more than 40 miles of hiking trails, picturesque waterfalls, unique natural areas, and spectacular scenic overlooks.

Stametz Dam along the Shades of Death Trail at Hickory Run State Park.
Stametz Dam at Hickory Run State Park.

Tank Hollow Overlook in Carbon County offers visitors a stunning view of a bend in the Lehigh River in the western Poconos.

Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.
Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.

Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is a great way to see Lehigh Gorge State Park and beautiful Jim Thorpe, PA.

Fall foliage around the train station in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway fall foliage excursion preparing to depart from Jim Thorpe.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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