Exploring The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Near Breezewood PA

Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Near Breezewood

Photo: Christine J. Baker of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

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Abandoned PA TurnpikePhiladelphia, PA - Suppose you've wanted to get off the beaten path and explore a former highway. In that case, visiting the 13-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breezewood, Pennsylvania, might be the ideal excursion. Though this highway is no longer in use, it is still open to the public. Visiting during fall or summer is recommended, as the scenery is beautiful then.

Visiting the Abandoned PA Turnpike Near Breezewood Pennsylvania

The abandoned PA Turnpike lies about twelve miles east of Breezewood, Pennsylvania. The paved road ends at the northwestern end of the Turnpike, which makes accessing the trail 1.2 miles from Breezewood. The route runs through two tunnels and a wide median. There are also some interesting structures, like the old Cove Valley Service Plaza. The best way to get to this site is by car, so plan to drive instead of hiking.

Although it isn't technically an abandoned road, the remaining 13 miles are largely intact and can be visited as a hiking and walking trail. The Turnpike was built in 1938 and was eventually replaced by a better turnpike. In its day, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was state-of-the-art for travel, connecting Breezewood to the smaller towns in the east. The Turnpike was a straight shot through the mountains, but it has been abandoned for over 50 years. Despite being a crumbling road, it still looks almost as good as it did when it was brand new.

The infamous Bedford Coffee Pot stands a half-hour west of the access to the abandoned PA Turnpike. This iconic roadside attraction was built to attract motorists during the Turnpike's construction. Its name, "Bedford Coffee Pot," is a gimmick built to attract drivers to the site. Another historic building in the town is Dunkle's Gulf Station, a gorgeous art-deco throwback to early American automobile travel.

Once you've made your way over the Mountain Chapel Road, the next stop of your trip is the Rays Hill Tunnel. This mile-long tunnel is the most well-known and longest of the abandoned PA Turnpike, measuring 13 miles. It also has graffiti on the walls and a former office. Regardless of your level of graffiti knowledge, you'll never run out of photo opportunities.

While visiting this site is a unique experience, it is important to remember that the road was once a railroad. It was constructed in the late 1880s and used seven tunnels built on the South Pennsylvania Railroad, abandoned after 30 years. Afterward, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was considered a tourist attraction and was named Vanderbilt's Folly.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike started life as a railway. In the 1880s, the Turnpike began construction. The tunnels were constructed through seven mountains and reduced to a single lane. After ten years, the Turnpike became overcrowded and unsafe. In 1968, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission decided to build a four-lane highway and bypass three tunnels.

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