“The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike is THE MOST apocalyptic
hiking/biking trail in the Keystone State!”
Let’s get together and ride the 13 mile trail of the abandoned section of the PA Turnpike near the Breezewood exit. It’s a unique place to explore. This will be during the peak of fall foliage.
Along the route there are two tunnels we will pass through.
1) Rays Hill Tunnel which is 3,532-feet long (0.6 miles). Abandoned in 1968, this is the shortest of seven original tunnels along the turnpike.
2) Sideling Hill Tunnel which is 6,800-feet long (1.2 miles). Sideling is the longest of the seven original tunnels. Nine people; including the tunnel’s chief engineer, John O’Brien were killed due to dynamite explosions in Sideling Tunnel in 1885. It is said that the bodies were so mangled that it was difficult to identify them. Do the spirits of the nine people killed reside in the tunnel?
It should be noted that both the Sideling and Rays tunnels have remained unlit and unimproved since they were abandoned in 1968. These tunnels are very dark, and cold. Please bring a flashlight and use caution while inside the tunnels.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
• The route was paved with 4 lanes but contains areas of deteriorating asphalt.
• There are no bathrooms, water, or power outlets, even at the trailheads. A full XR battery is recommended. Depending on turnout and volunteers we may set up a generator charging station mid-way and possibly a shorter route for Pint riders.
• Total riding time will be approximately 1.5 hours. The entire trip will take 4-5 hours. Plan for a full afternoon on the trail.
• Please be aware that some of the graffiti along the tunnel and rock facades is obscene and/or offensive in nature.
WHAT TO BRING:
• Powerful flashlight or headlamp in addition to what comes with your PEV. Your phone light isn’t strong enough.
• Water bottle
• Camera. This is the peak of fall foliage so take advantage of it.
• Drone. There are no overhead trees on this trail. Get cool shots above the highway and around the tunnel.
• Chalk. You may want to have some colors to tag the pavement or tunnel.
• Jacket. It can get chilly in the long, dark tunnels.
• Trash bag if you want to be a good citizen and pick up what others have left near the tunnels. If you remember, our spring Earth Day cleanup event was canceled due to freezing rain.
• Friends on bikes are welcome. There are hills.
• We can start to assemble around 11:00 AM at the Gateway Travel Plaza. There is a food court, convenience store, restrooms, and gift shop there. This is a place to grab lunch and meet the others before the ride. There are other restaurants in the area if you prefer.
Gateway Travel Plaza
16567 Lincoln Hwy, Breezewood, PA 15533
• We’ll drive or ride to the trailhead around noon. The trailhead is only 0.4 miles from Gateway Travel Plaza and has limited parking. You have to ride past a highway interchange so be careful. If we have a high turnout we’ll need some people to park at the Plaza and ride to the trailhead.
• Once on the trail, you can ride at whatever speed you want to. There are no turn-offs. If you have a need for speed and enough battery you can ride ahead and ride back to the group. You’ll probably want to take a break at the ends of each tunnel to explore and take photos with your new friends.
• I will provide some ideas of charging options and a potential Pint route after conferring with the rest of the event co-sponsors.
• A custom Google Map will be made available.
Recommended reading for more info about this trail:
Gateway Travel Plaza
16567 Lincoln Hwy