Tranquility and post-apocalyptic blight manage to co-exist along this stretch of cracked road and vandalized tunnels hidden in the middle of the Pennsylvania forest.
This long-forgotten interstate in the middle of the woods was once part of America's first "superhighway." The 13-mile section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was abandoned in the 1950's when bypasses were built over the mountains and the road was suddenly obsolete. The area has been closed to vehicles ever since, as nature slowly takes back the land.
In the ensuing years, trees have sprouted up from the pavement, water has formed small streams running through the two vehicle tunnels and the whole area has developed an eerie quietude, as though all of the other humans had died off and the broken road was all that remained of society. The area is so evocative that major scenes from the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's end-of-the-world novel "The Road" were filmed along, well, the road. The cannibalistic survivors in the film seem to have been born from the abandoned surroundings.
The empty tunnels along the path can be explored and the old equipment rooms, garages, and offices within can be accessed, or you can bring your bike and enjoy the whole road from end to abandoned end. The entire property was sold to a conservation group in 2010 with the intent of opening the old roadway as a bike trail for relaxing and reflecting. Just make sure you bring along something to eat in case anything gets hungry.
Know Before You Go
Easiest access to the Sideling Hill Tunnel is off of US Route 30. Traveling east from Breezewood, turn left on Mountain Chapel Road. Park at the overcrossing and climb up to the abandoned road on any of the paths, then head toward the obvious ridge. There are also bike trailheads just east of Breezewood (also on Route 30) and off county road 428 near Saluvia.