Centralia, PA Trail Ride - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Centralia, PA Trail Ride

So this past weekend I was able to make a trail ride up to Centralia, PA. To those unfamiliar with the area, it used to be a booming coal mining town until some idiot started a garbage fire that ended up going into an active anthracite mine. For the past 30 years, the mine has been burning underground. My dad was along for the ride and was sharing stories with me of when Centralia used to be a town, when he and his family would drive through their on the way home from the mountains, and how he remembered when the fire began and how it was a huge disaster.

Since the fire began back in the late 1970s, the entire town has been basically condemned by the government and abandoned by residents. To this day, there are maybe 20-30 full-time residents left in the town. Driving around old streets that are totally empty and overgrown was a very eerie experience. This town was the inspiration for the video game and subsequent movie "Silent Hill." Centralia is the real Silent Hill...I could not imagine being in the are at night. Smoke still comes from the ground in many places, and much of the ground int he area is warm to the touch. The addition of fall foliage and a good group of Jeeps made for a nice fall day.

Here are a few pics I was able to get before the battery on my phone ran out.

We all met up at the top of a closed down section of road, good place for a group shot.


We all took a walk down the closed section of Route 61 to check out an area where the fire was actively burning.


Here is the section of road the broke away, the ambient air temp in this crevice measured 150 degrees, and although you can't really see it in the pics, there is smoke emitting from the holes.


Big ass hole


One of the few shots I was able to get actually on a trail, I found myself busy driving...


Poser pic


Here you can see some of the smoke and hot rocks



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post #2 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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And what the hell, here's another shot of my Jeep.


The views from the top really were amazing...hard to capture it well on a cell phone camera, but you get the idea from this one maybe

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post #3 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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This image is one I found online that gives you an idea of just how Centralia has changed since the fire.


Really was an amazing place, with a couple of pretty cool trails. I look forward to going back up there sometime in the future.

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post #4 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 09:05 PM
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awesome! i love the history of Centrailia and would love to cruise around there... thanks for sharing it!

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post #5 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 09:26 PM
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I've been up there a few times, indeed a very eerie place...
Right across the highway from where the road is closed is a cool old cemetery and some great spots to wheel. Up behind the bigger "fire pit" are also a bunch of trails, not really wheeling per say, but cool trail riding none the less

I once posted a brief trip report on another section of the Internet and was immediately given an infraction.


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post #6 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
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Big asshole
So there's a bunch of people in that picture.....which one is it?


nice pics man. Never been up there. looks fun.
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post #7 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paramaniac View Post
I've been up there a few times, indeed a very eerie place...
Right across the highway from where the road is closed is a cool old cemetery and some great spots to wheel. Up behind the bigger "fire pit" are also a bunch of trails, not really wheeling per say, but cool trail riding none the less

I once posted a brief trip report on another section of the Internet and was immediately given an infraction.
You have received an infraction from me for NOT posting it here!

I love trail rides to see cool shit.. I want to all those old ghost towns out west and in CO... God damn i got to get out of this refugee camp!

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post #8 of 55 Old 10-25-2010, 11:10 PM
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Wow, moving pics.

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post #9 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 05:11 AM
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Nice shots. Spent most of my life in PA but never made it there for some reason. I will sometime.
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post #10 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HITMONEY View Post
You have received an infraction from me for NOT posting it here!

I love trail rides to see cool shit.. I want to all those old ghost towns out west and in CO... God damn i got to get out of this refugee camp!
Come on up!

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post #11 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 06:37 AM
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I've passed through there once or twice but never wheeled there.
Looks like a JKO Centralia trip is in order.

Nice pics.


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post #12 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 07:47 AM
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post #13 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 11:27 AM
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I have been wanting to make a trip out there, looks like a cool place. Thanks for sharing.

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post #14 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 11:30 AM
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Wow ...very cool! A little piece of history I didn't know ...and a new place added to the "to visit" list.

Cheers ...

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post #15 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priell3 View Post
I've passed through there once or twice but never wheeled there.
Looks like a JKO Centralia trip is in order.

Nice pics.
I agree - I'd be up for this trip. That is the area my ancestors first settled in when they came from Germany.

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post #16 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 03:30 PM
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Born and raised in Mt. Carmel PA just a few miles from Centralia. Delivered auto parts to a gas station which was located just below the cemetary on the main road. A pity to see it now and know what the town was like back in the 60s /70s.

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post #17 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 04:54 PM
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I remember driving up that road and every time it would be repaved and cones around the latest hole. I wheeled up there a few times and had my tire fall into a firey sink hole once or twice!

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post #18 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 05:11 PM
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wow that is very cool, pretty crazy how its still going and the smoke is coming thru some of the ground
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post #19 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 06:02 PM
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I did some research after the movie came out and found this to be an actual place and have ever since wanted to make it "a place to go"

thanks for sharing! the comparison "before and after" shot is just down right amazing!

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post #20 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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I remember driving up that road and every time it would be repaved and cones around the latest hole. I wheeled up there a few times and had my tire fall into a firey sink hole once or twice!
I was doing a steep hill climb at one point on loose shale/coal remnants and the more I gassed it trying to get up, the more I sank down. My goal was to get the front passenger tire to bite on a big ass rock that was in the ground, but everytime I got to the rock, the JK sank down more and more. By the time I gave up, it ended up rutting a small section and the rocks flung up broke off and were smoking. It was right around the active burn area.

And if people head to Rausch Creek some weekend and want to make a side trip out of Centralia, its only about a 45-50 minute drive away. I'd love to go back and check out some more of the trails in the area, go exploring a bit more and see more creepy shit. The municipal building is one of the few buildings still in original to the town and its way run down. It was even more unbelievable to see a brand new ambulance and fire truck inside the building. Definitely a good time and to those that want to check it out, I'm game.

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post #21 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 08:31 PM
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id like to go there after a day at rausch!
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post #22 of 55 Old 10-26-2010, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a couple more cool pics my dad took with his camera. He's still learning but some of these came out pretty cool

This is a much better shot of the crack in old Rt 61 that was smoking.

Here's a shot of one of the steeper hill climbs my pop didn't want any part of

We both thought this XJ was nicely built, tough trail rig.


All along the top of the one nearby mountain is a huge wind farm, stretches for miles and miles and miles


This pic shows the are where the town used to be situated. This whole valley was filled with homes at one time. All of the side streets, alleys, even some driveways are still there. When you drive around you can see old beat up sidewalks, concrete steps, real crazy stuff. One of the few buildings left standing was the old town church.


Here's a much better picture of the church, you can see the street lamp and some of the power lines that still run there. Creepy thing is that right next to the church is a very old, very creepy abandoned house, you can sort of see it through the trees to the right side of the pic.


That about covers it for now.

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post #23 of 55 Old 10-28-2010, 05:03 PM
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Looks Like a great place to wheel around at and take in the scenery. I would be down to go next time you plan a trip.
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post #24 of 55 Old 10-28-2010, 05:48 PM
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Be careful up there,, sink holes popping up all over due to the ground being undermined by the fire.. Neat place.. I go thru there often.. a few more years it will be cleared out.. only one or two families holding out.. once they are gone the coal company who wins the bid will come in and strip mine the area down to the burn to get to the rest of the coal..
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post #25 of 55 Old 10-28-2010, 06:06 PM
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I've been through Centralia going to Knobels, but now I bypass it. I would join you on a wheeling trip through there.

How about a Knobels weekend camping trip with a day wheeling around Centrailia next summer??? Lake Glory is a great place to pitch a tent.

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