Is it Legal to Explore Centralia, Pennsylvania?

Centralia Pennsylvania Burn Zone North East
Looking over Centralia PA from the mine fire burn zone. Credit: Flickr/rocbolt

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30 Responses

  1. Ashley says:

    I was recently informed that you can no longer trail ride through centralia but I called the state police and they said you could. Do you know what the situation with trail riding is on the land.

  2. sharon sartori says:

    I was in Centralia August 8th, 2015. There was a man and his family drove up old highway 61 in a pickup! There were several quads on it as well with some people drinking. A dirt bike was there too I guess the driver was possibly over a quard rail exploring something. If there’s any such limit now I didn’t witness it.

  3. Todd Landish says:

    I can confirm the main roads through Centralia are blocked because a large section collapsed recently. Near where the bike shop was.

    • Centralia PA Centralia PA says:

      Hi Todd. Do you have any additional info or pictures of this subsidence? Is it near where Routes 61 and 42 meet?

      • Todd Landish says:

        I do not, but it is where Speed Shop was, the business that was torn down a decade ago or so.

        • Centralia PA Centralia PA says:

          Gotcha. That was at the corner of 61 and 42: We’ll put out a call to see if anyone has some pictures. Thanks for the heads up!

          • Todd Landish says:

            I asked one of the DNR officers who were near the area what had happened, and they also have men walking around with meters and such. They believe the fire has started back up near that intersection, causing the sinkhole. They say it is too dangerous to be there and have asked several tourists to avoid the center of town, and if they MUST explore, to not interfere with their operations by staying to the side roads and away from the intersection. They have routed traffic around with detour signs, which if you enter town from centre st driving in from Mt Carmel, they make you turn down Troutwine, to Park St, then back to Locust. You can also drive down that path as instructed by the signs, which you can connect back with the opened part of Centre St, by turning left where park hits Locust, then driving down a side street. (Which until recently was hardly passable due to overgrowth, but they seem to have fixed that for the detour)

            The area is passable again as of 9/7/15. I was there around 9:30 AM today.

  4. Centralia PA Centralia PA says:

    Hi Todd. Great report and thanks for taking the time to send along! I really appreciate it and will share with our readers. Thanks again!

    • Jenny says:

      Are we able to see the municipal building up close? And are the cemetery open on a regular basis or are they chained shut? I would love to check them out with my family within the next few weeks. We plan to check out the abandoned highway, the cemeteries and possibly the church as well

  5. Liz says:

    Regardless of whether property is privately owned or owned by state/local government, people are still not free to trespass and vandalize these properties. The fact that you find a door or window broken doesn’t make it legal for you to enter. If “tourists” stay on highways streets and sidewalks (if any still exist) they should be ok, unless state/local government prohibits that at some point as well. The fact that large sections are still collapsing suggests that poking around Centralia, while intriguing, may be hazardous to your health. I visited a “ghost town” in Colorado where “tourists” would go walking into private homes without even knocking! I was told that some “tourists” almost got shot over that. I really feel for the remaining residents of Centralia if the morbidly curious are harassing them in a similar fashion.

    • Jenny says:

      Any idea if the current residents are willing to talk to “tourists” I have no interest in any kind of interview or anything like that I just think it would be amazing to speak to them and express my condolences for the loss of their town

  6. Anastasia Esterline says:

    Im sorry but my name is anastasia. I have a great interest in centralia and it crushes me that this place is just falling apart. I wish there was something….anything that could be done. Im only 14 but i wish to visit centralia when im 18. I just hope it has not fallen apart by then. For some reason i have an instant connection to this town and this is just devastating.

    • NHD team says:

      Anastasia I was wondering if we could contact you for an interview. We are doing. A project on the town(documentary) and we would love your input. If we could set something up over the phone or Skype if you are interested email me at or so if you could contact us that would be greatly appreciated.

    • Alyssa says:

      I had an instant connection to Centralia as well, ever since I heard the story of this little town I was just attached. If only there were people allowed to live there, that could continue to keep Centralia alive if nothing but showing somebody still cares about the town and not the fire or Silent Hill .

  7. Mary says:

    Hi. I was thinking and hoping to visit for my bday present next week. Im a huge fan of the silent hill video games and would love to visit the background story behind it. Is it still vistable? I dont want to over step my boundaries for the residents.

    • Alyssa says:

      I know this is a late reply , haha, but it’s still visitable. Just don’t scope out their houses, stare or go on their property because that’d be intrusion on their privacy. But you can definitely still walk around, I went there the other day.

  8. The Violet says:

    Here is a photo of the Speed Shop in Centralia, along with other businesses in 1985. The Speed Shop is the building on the far right

  9. mario says:

    I think it was a big mistake to try pouring wet sand in attempt to smother fire. Once the water boils out the spaces between sand would , I think , allow air to more easily siphon in. I think wet clay would have been better.

  10. Charles Samuel says:

    Are there any lists of internments in the Odd Fellows cemetery?

  11. Devil Ducky says:

    Like most of you I immediately felt connected with this city, as well as some others that have had the same accident occur to them. I always wanted to buy one and redo the structures, clean them up etc. Possibly charge a small fee for upkeep and even rent the old stores, homes etc out to people who feel same way. Maybe build a historical museum in them for people to learn and appreciate the place. These places are rich in history, and need to be preserved.

    • Mary Jane says:

      Devil Ducky. I have a list of those buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery, centralia. I would gladly look up anyone you want.

      • Jane says:

        Hi. My gr-great grandparents lived in Centralia in 1870. There are on the 1870 census but I can’t find anything else about them. I was wondering if either of them are buried in Centralia. Alexander McDonald born 1810 and Jane Gaughan McDonald born 1824.

    • Brithebushmaster says:

      Is there anywhere to shoot a couple clays with a 12 gauge like you can do in st Claire. Also. Where is it safe to park a vehicle if you wanna buzz around on a quad? Appreciate any thoughts and or facts if you have… thanks , kinda one of those extreme outdoors guy..

  12. Natalie says:

    @devilducky, you do know there are no more buildings other than the municipal bldg and 2 or 3 houses still standing, right? You would never know a town existed there if you weren’t aware of it.

  13. Natalie says:

    @britthebushmaster You can safely park anywhere except for in posted areas. There’s a quad running area on the far end of Wood Street, just past the cemeteries. Be aware of your surroundings, as the ground is prone to subsidence–and it can a long, long way down over there on top of Locust Mountain. As far as shooting, nah, take that elsewhere. There are still a couple families in the former borough that wouldn’t take kindly–and one of those gentlemen would have no qualms about running you out. Coal crackers come from a long line of rough trade.

  14. Jeremy says:

    I heard you can ride from st.clair to Centralia would love to do that sometime any information would be great or guide lol

  15. Brandon says:

    I just got back from Centralia. You can go and explore, but word of the mouth is that police are writing citations for trespassing in specific areas like “Graffiti Highway”. There wasn’t much to see, but I guess that’s the point. I do feel a little sick after being there, possibly due to carbon monoxide exposure. Either that or the 6 hours of driving there and back.

  16. Ember says:

    I’m so ready to come see this place. Been wanting to come since I was about 13. I’m 29. The stars finally aligned and I can come in July. Any places of interest or info on what is off limits would be greatly appreciated. Status of graffiti highway and where the fire was thought to have started (landfill area) would be awesome to know about…like if they are off limits. Research suggests graffiti hwy is at this point.

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