Centralia, Pennsylvania is a near ghost town located in the coal region of Columbia County. Many people visit Centralia hoping to see abandoned buildings and a ruined town. They usually leave disappointed.
In the 1980s the United States federal government worked to buy out most of the town’s residents and relocate them to neighboring areas. As this was done, their former homes were razed and the most obvious traces of human development were erased.
Today, Centralia is more like a park with numerous trees, cemeteries, and the occasional sidewalk. Don’t worry though, there is still lots to see there, including an abandoned, broken stretch of route 61 that is covered with graffiti.
Centralia PA Map
Directions to Centralia
Centralia, PA can be reached easily from Interstate 81.
From Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:
- Get on 81 north
- Travel to Exit 116 and get on Route 901 west
- Follow 901 west until reaching Route 54. Turn right onto 54 east
- Travel to Ashland. Turn left onto Route 61 north
- Follow 61 north until you reach Centralia
From Scranton, Pennsylvania:
- Get on 81 south
- Travel to Exit 143 and get on Route 924 south
- Follow 924 south until reaching Ringtown Blvd. Turn right onto Ringtown Blvd.
- Travel to Little Mountain Road and turn left onto it.
- Make the next left onto Aristes Road/Logging Road 2006 and follow this to Aristes
- In Aristes, turn left onto Route 42 south until you reach Centralia.
Looking to day trip up to Centralia. Tips? Suggestions? what all do I need to know
Hi there. Definitely consider visiting the cemeteries, Graffiti Highway, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church. There are several pages of locations here that you might want to check out: http://www.centraliapa.org/category/locations/ Not all of them are around anymore, as more items and people move from the town. Enjoy your visit!
I went on a trip to Centralia last week, being interested in ghost towns, and the plight of this city, and found it worth the trip. The St. Ignacius Cemetery is beautifully maintained, and offers a great view of the (Russian Orthodox, I think) church in the mountains to the north. Also 4 wind turbines can be seen…the morning fog made for a nice shot. Odd Fellows cemetery is just east of here, down a disheveled road (be VERY careful driving if in anything short of a tank!!) and while it’s not so well kept, it is something to see. Following the path north east, you will find the area where the landfill was said to have started the whole fire. There are also two smoke vents(one crowned with a fat tire). I saw there were a few places where people were still living as well. Driving down 62(I started from north to south mostly), one can see many of the side roads into what is now mostly trees and overgrowth. Upon closer inspection, I recommend walking, you can see the remnants of sidewalks, curbs, and front porch steps, the occasional fire hydrant and drainage suliceways. On the west side of 62, across from the municipal building, I saw a tree with gnarled, twisted roots and what appeared to be a large tumor-looking growth at its base. The municipal building stands on the east side, with a flying flag, and a fire truck (engine 32) in the garage. Curiously enough there is also a dish tv dish on the roof. I also visited the lonely church on the hill, though some of the rock wall in front is crumbling, the church itself seems in good repair, and is a worthy photo op. After this, I ended up driving to the next borough up, and there I’d spotted an unmarked ambulance rotting away in the weeds…but my real intention was to approach Centralia from the north in hopes of finding the sign that states you are in the “Borough of Centrailia”…notice the misspelling. I then ended my trip with a walk down the old 62, or graffiti highway. It’s interesting to see, though be warned, while some of the tags are funny, and even clever, there is ALOT of vulgarity. This road can be accessed to the north by way of a small trail just south of St. Ignacius, or about a mile south near Ashland, not too far off from the Mother Mary shrine for Byrnsville. As much as I enjoyed my trip and took lots of pictures, I’m sure there are things that I missed. Ashland, two miles to the south is a nice looking little town, in fact, I ate breakfast at May’s on 62 and Centre…a sign bearing Centralia can be seen from their property, and found the people polite and helpful. One sidenote…I didn’t see any smoking ground, but after talking to a man during my wanderings, he said that tends to happen more frequently during cold or winter months.
It’s a ️Ukrainian church
Was planning a day trip to centralia, was wondering if there is any specific place you’re supposed to park? Coming from the Philadelphia direction of that helps
Hi Bill. There isn’t a specific parking area really. Parking along any of the public roads is fine (as long as you are on the shoulder).
planning a trip to centralia, i been trying to get in contact with john lokitis…
Hey there! Curious about taking a trip and looking for some old bottles or artifacts. Where can I go to find old maps of the town? I am sure there is some buried history in this town, but I obviously don’t want to go digging on anyone’s property. Any thoughts? Is there still a library or a city hall? I love the history these old towns offer!
Hi. I’d like to visit Centralia & take a few pictures but I’m hearing/reading it is now police patrolled, is there anywhere in Centralia we are still allowed to sight see?
Hi Bobbie. Yes, the paved streets in Centralia are public. You can drive or park on these, then you can walk around. You should avoid walking on the Graffiti Highway or any areas with buildings.
Has the highway became too dangerous, that was quite a site to show the damage done to the town?
Who to contact to show me around want to make a say trip
PennDot closed down the road in the early 1990’s and according to public officials, they don’t monitor the road so it’s considered structurally unsafe. The fear from public officials is the sinkholes that can form at anytime in Centralia and also, if the fire weakens or destroys the mine supports under the old section of Route 61 aka Graffiti Highway, it can cause the highway to collapse into the mine.
Hi my co-worker and myself is very interested in the Church that was in the movie silent Hill. I was wondering if we would be able to take a picture in front of it?
Hi, I would like to join the Pilgrimage at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church next year. Any suggested hotels near by Centralia.
I want to make a day trip to explore centralia pa who do i contact about it? I want to go to the graffiti highway.