Road Tripping to the Best Abandoned Places in PA

a road map to 9 of the best abandoned places in Pennsylvania.

Does the thought of taking an epic road trip to see the best abandoned places in PA intrigue you?

The Abandoned PA Turnpike Pike 2 Bike Trail
The Abandoned PA Turnpike near Breezewood, Bedford County.

If so, you’re in the right place!

What follows is a 587 mile route I came up with that takes you to nine of Pennsylvania’s most intriguing abandoned places.

Best of all – all of these abandoned places are LEGAL TO VISIT!

Inside one of the abandoned Alvira bunkers.

From an abandoned superhighway to an abandoned prison.

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.

From an abandoned paper mill to an abandoned “concrete city”.

Partially-collapsed roof on a house in Concrete City.
Partially-collapsed roof on a house in Concrete City.

This is an itinerary that you can tailor to meet your own interests and time constraints.

The ruins of the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill in Potter County.
The ruins of the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill in Potter County.

Simply click on the blue text links to view details/directions to each of the seven Pennsylvania abandoned places mentioned in this article.


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. Concrete City

At the time of its construction in the early 1900s, Concrete City in Luzerne County was considered to be a “community of the future”, but it was abandoned a mere 11 years after the first residents moved in.

Houses along the eastern side of Concrete City.
Houses along the eastern side of Concrete City.

Today, the 20 concrete duplexes that make up Concrete City sits on a 60 acre parcel of land owned by the Nanticoke General Municipal Authority.

Aerial view of the western side of Concrete City, looking towards Nanticoke.
Aerial view of the western side of Concrete City, looking towards Nanticoke.

You’ll find a map and directions to Concrete City at this link.

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

2. Abandoned Alvira Bunkers

The abandoned Alvira bunkers in Union County were used to store explosives as part of the American WWII war effort.

Entrance to one of the bunkers on State Game Lands 252 along Alvira Road.
Entrance to one of the abandoned bunkers on State Game Lands 252 along Alvira Road.

Today, the 149 dome-shaped concrete bunkers are gradually being reclaimed by nature.

Inside one of the abandoned Alvira bunkers.
One of the 149 abandoned concrete bunkers at Alvira.

In addition to the bunkers, you’ll find the cemetery of the ghost town of Alvira near the bunker complex.

Memorial in one of the cemeteries on State Game Lands 252.
Memorial in one of the cemeteries on State Game Lands 252.

3. Abandoned Bayless Paper Mill

The abandoned Bayless Paper Mill in Potter County is forever linked to the collapse of the Austin Dam and the second-deadliest flood in Pennsylvania history.

Bayless Paper Mill Historical SIgn along Route 872 in Potter County Pennsylvania.
Bayless Paper Mill Historical Sign along Route 872 in Potter County.

On September 30, 1911 the Austin Dam broke, unleashing 400 million gallons of water in a torrent that tore through the narrow freeman Run valley, destroying the paper mill before reaching and destroying most of the town of Austin as well.

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.

The Bayless Paper Mill was rebuilt after the flood, and remained operational until a massive fire in 1944 caused it to close forever.

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.

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

Remnants of the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill in Potter County.
Remnants of the Bayless Pulp and Paper Mill in Potter County.

4. The Abandoned Quehanna Nuclear Jet Engine 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.

Abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunker entrance.
One of the abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area.

Constructed and used between 1955-1960, these bunkers continue to fascinate visitors to this day.

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

All that remains of the abandoned Quehanna nuclear jet engine testing bunkers today are the large shells 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.

Trees growing up around one of the abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area.
Trees growing up around one of the abandoned nuclear jet engine testing bunkers in the Quehanna Wild Area.

5. The Ghost Town of Scotia

Built 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.

View from above of the ore washer remains at Scotia.
Remnants of the ghost town of Scotia outside State College.

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.

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

Scotia is also the burial spot of Bert Delige, convicted murderer who was publicly hanged at the Bellefonte jail courtyard on April 25, 1911, the last public hanging in Centre County.

The concrete base of the ore washer is one of the few reminders of the ghost town of Scotia near State College.
This concrete base of the ore washer is one of the few reminders of the ghost town of Scotia near State College.

To this day, rumors of a large, black, human-shaped figure wandering the Scotia Barrens persist, and sightings seem to peak around the date of Delige’s execution on April 25th.

A rendering of what the Black Ghost of Scotia is rumored to look like.
A rendering of what the Black Ghost of Scotia is rumored to look like.

6. The Abandoned Cresson State Prison

SCI-Cresson in Cambria County closed June 30, 2013, with the State citing the antiquity of the prison and rising costs of maintaining it as the primary reasons for the closure.

A structure from the era of the Cresson Tuberculosis Sanatorium and later SCI-Cresson.
A structure from the era of the Cresson Tuberculosis Sanatorium, later to become SCI-Cresson.

And now thanks to new, private ownership, you can LEGALLY explore this maze of buildings, some dating back more than 100 years.

Inside the Grace Chapel at the abandoned Cresson State Prison.
Inside the Grace Chapel at the abandoned Cresson State Prison.

Let me reiterate: THE PRISON GROUNDS ARE NOW PRIVATE PROPERTY – YOU MUST SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TO VISIT!

One of the most-recently built cell blocks at the now-abandoned SCI Cresson in Cambria County.
One of the most-recently built cell blocks at the now-abandoned SCI Cresson in Cambria County.

However, the very modest entry fee is more than worth it for the size and scope of the property you get to explore at the abandoned Cresson State Prison.

Gated entrance at the former Cresson State Prison in Cambria County.
Gated entrance at the former Cresson State Prison in Cambria County.

7. The Haunted Quaker Church in Fayette County

The “haunted Quaker Church just outside of Perryopolis in Fayette County is much more famous for what allegedly happened there than what actually happened there!

Entering the historic and allegedly haunted Quaker Cemetery and church near Perryopolis, PA.
The “haunted” Quaker Church near Perryopolis in Fayette County.

This abandoned stone chapel gained notoriety in the 1980’s when stories surfaced of a secret witch trial and execution that were said to have taken place in the old abandoned Quaker meeting house.

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 to this day, fueled in part by what looks like the ghostly image of a woman burned into one of the the boarded up back windows 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.

8. The Abandoned PA Turnpike

The largest and most famous of all the destinations on this road trip is the Abandoned PA Turnpike!

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

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

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

Highlights of the Abandoned PA Turnpike include two eerily dark tunnels along the route, both roughly a mile long.

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

This relic of the nation’s first superhighway is now a desolate hiking / biking trail in Bedford and Fulton counties.

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

You’ll find maps/directions to the trail heads at either end of the Abandoned PA Turnpike at this link.

Mermaid graffiti along the Abandoned PA Turnpike in Fulton County.
Mermaid graffiti along the Abandoned PA Turnpike in Fulton County.

9. The Abandoned POW Camp in Cumberland County

Exploring an Abandoned POW Camp in Cumberland County will show you how to find a secret POW camp set up during World War Two that housed German and Japanese prisoners in a remote section of the Michaux State Forest.

Ruins of the secret POW interrogation camp in the MIchaux State Forest.
Ruins of the abandoned POW interrogation camp in the Michaux State Forest in Cumberland County.

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.

The ruins of the Pine Grove Furnace POW Camp are located a mile north of present-day Route 233, approximately 2 miles northwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

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

So there you have it – one epic road trip to nine of PA’s best abandoned places that you can LEGALLY explore!

An exit of Grace Chapel at the former SCI Cresson in Cambria County.
An exit of Grace Chapel at the former SCI Cresson in Cambria County.

Explore one, or explore them all, but enjoy the ride no matter what!

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

20 Abandoned Places in PA You Can Legally Explore will give you nearly a dozen more spots to check out if the old and abandoned tickle your fancy!

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.


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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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