Blair County, founded in 1846, is home to some amazing attractions, both natural and man-made.
From railroad history to unique natural landmarks, here are 16 of the best things to see and do in Blair County!
1. The Horseshoe Curve
The Horseshoe Curve in Blair County was considered one of the “engineering wonders of the world” at the time of its completion in 1854.
This 2,375 foot-long curved stretch of railroad tracks allowed trains to conquer the Allegheny Mountains for the first time, by permitting a more gradual ascent/descent of those mountains.
Today the Horseshoe Curve has both a museum/visitor center, as well as a viewing area to watch trains round the Curve itself.
2. The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum
The Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum in Blair County celebrates the lives of both railroad workers and railroading communities in central Pennsylvania.
Unlike many “train museums” that focus primarily on engines and cars, the Railroaders Memorial Museum focuses primarily on the men and women who kept the engines running and the cars rolling.
On the grounds surrounding the Railroaders Memorial Museum, you’ll find a number of engines and cars (“rolling stock”, in railroading terms) on display as well.
3. Chimney Rocks Park
Chimney Rocks Park near Hollidaysburg in Blair County is home to 3 impressive scenic overlooks in a beautiful borough park setting.
Chimney Rocks Park is named for the tall, chimney-shaped limestone pillars on top of this mountain at the heart of the park.
According to local legend, the flat spot on top of one of the limestone “chimneys” was called the “Chief’s Seat” and was used as a lookout by the local Native American tribal chief.
4. The Abandoned Lime Kilns at Canoe Creek State Park
The abandoned lime kilns at Canoe Creek State Park are remnants of a thriving limestone-processing facility that once operated around the clock in this now-tranquil corner of Blair County.
Lime produced here in the early 1900s was loaded onto Pennsylvania Railroad cars and shipped off to the Jones and Laughlin steel mills in Pittsburgh.
It’s hard to imagine as you stand in front of the silent lime kilns today how much smoke, noise, commotion, and back-breaking work went on in this location for the decade or so that the kilns were in operation.
5. DelGrosso’s Amusement Park
DelGrosso’s Amusement Park has been a central PA tradition for more than 100 years!
DelGrosso’s Amusement Park offers free parking, free admission, and over 30 rides, with something for everyone from little kids to adults.
Laguna Splash is a fabulous water park attached to DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, for even more summer fun!
6. Fort Roberdeau
Fort Roberdeau in Blair County was built in 1778 by American colonists during the Revolutionary War, and was occupied until 1780.
The fort was originally erected by General Daniel Roberdeau to protect local lead mining activities from British loyalists and their Native Americans allies.
7. Antique Depot
Antique Depot and Flea Market is housed in a 74,000 square foot indoor facility in Duncansville, Blair County.
Home to nearly 200 different antique dealers and flea market vendors, you’ll find a huge variety of antiques, collectibles, and unique objects at Antique Depot.
8. Canoe Creek State Park
There’s a LOT more to Canoe Creek State Park than just the famous lime kilns!
Canoe Lake, at 155 acres, is the focal point of recreation at the park.
Canoe Creek State Park features 12 miles of hiking trails, providing opportunities to explore forests, fields, wetlands, historic sites, and the lakeshore.
9. Tytoona Cave
Tytoona Cave is part of a 6.8 acre Nature Preserve between the cities of Tyrone and Altoona in Blair County.
According to the National Speleological Society, “The first 1,000 feet of the cave are easily accessible by novices and is an excellent location to educate visitors about the cave’s geology and hydrology”.
Tytoona Cave is open to visitors from 6AM to 9PM., and exploration is strictly AT YOUR OWN RISK!
10. The Allegheny Portage Railroad
Located on the Blair/Cambria county line, the Allegheny Portage Railroad near Altoona is one of the most historic railroading sites in Pennsylvania!
This 36 mile-long track was the first railroad built across the Allegheny Mountains, allowing for canals on the eastern and western sides of the state to be connected, cutting the travel time from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia from weeks to just days.
Today, the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site is maintained by the National Park Service, allowing visitors to learn about and explore first-hand the “glory days” of the Allegheny Portage Railroad near Altoona.
11. The Baker Mansion
The Baker Mansion is a three-story, Greek Revival-style home built by ironmaster Elias Baker between 1844 and 1848.
Today the Baker Mansion serves as the Blair County Historical Society’s headquarters and museum, and is open to visitors May-December.
12. Cabbage Creek Falls
Cabbage Creek Falls is a picturesque little waterfall tucked away in Shawnee Park (not to be confused with Shawnee State Park) in Blair County.
Located on the outskirts of Roaring Spring, Cabbage Creek Falls is a perfect short hike for just about any age or ability level.
13. Leighty’s Flea Market
Leighty’s Flea Market in Blair County is one of my favorite outdoor flea markets in all of Pennsylvania!
Featuring a little bit of everything, Leighty’s Flea Market is a 29 acre goldmine for collectors of all things “vintage”, as well as a fun place to window shop and people-watch.
14. Altoona-Style Pizza
Altoona-style pizza may be the most talked-about Pennsylvania culinary invention in the history of social media!
29th Street Pizza Subs & More in Altoona is one of the best places to try this uniquely local version of Sicilian/thick crust pizza.
15. Holiday Lights on the Lake
Holiday Lights on the Lake is a massive drive-through Christmas light display in Altoona!
The drive-through display features over 1 million lights illuminating more than 50 acres of Lakemont Park.
16. I99 Antiques in Tyrone
I99 Antiques is a two-level, multivendor antique store in downtown Tyrone, Blair County.
Even if you’re more of a looker than a collector, you’re bound to enjoy spending some time at I99 Antiques, if only to reminisce about items from your past that are now “antiques”!
18 Must-See Attractions in Huntingdon County is your guide to the best things to see and do in Blair County’s neighbor to the east.
27 Must-See Attractions in Centre County is your guide to the best things to see and do in Blair County’s neighbor to the north.
16 Must-See Attractions in Cambria County is your guide to the best things to see and do in Blair County’s neighbor to the west.
23 Must-See Attractions in Bedford County is your guide to the best things to see and do in Blair County’s neighbor to the south.
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