The 3 Most Remote Spots in Pennsylvania And How to Safely Get There

Remote PA
© A-Z-Animals.com/AZ Animals

Written by Chris Madden

Published: November 26, 2023

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Though it may be a surprise to some, Pennsylvania is home to some extremely remote locations throughout the state. Between eerie ghost towns and secluded wilderness reservations, these locations are extremely remote- and in some cases difficult to reach! Learn exactly how to safely reach these most remote spots in Pennsylvania!

1 – Hammersley Wild Area

Trail through old growth forest in Pine Hills Nature Preserve

Off of the Hammersley Trail, up a steep hill is one to the most secluded spot in all of Pennsylvania!

©IN Dancing Light/Shutterstock.com

In his 2010 book ‘The Last Empty Places,’ author Peter Stark explores the Hammersley Wild Area as one of the ‘untouched’ locations in American history. Throughout the book, Stark reveals to readers that these ’empty’ places actually possess rich history and meaning.

A youtube video by ‘Running Into History’ shows the incredible natural landscape that this seclusion allows to exist. The camera captures steep hills framing serene waters, creating a truly tranquil picture. Towering old-growth trees in these forests loom over the lens, providing a sense of nature’s true scale. Untethered and untapped, the peace in the untouched forest is palpable through the screen.

Project Remote is a land surveying initiative dedicated to identifying the most remote places in the continental United States. In their project, they ranked Hammersley Wild Area 24th while evaluating the remoteness of locations across the 48 continental states. Given the urban sprawl in Pennsylvania, there’s no doubt Hammersley Wild Area is the ‘most remote spot’ in the state.

The only modern manmade sign of civilization, route 144, lies 2.7 miles away from the Hammersley Wild Area. For an exact location, one can pinpoint the coordinates of 41.503092790798206, -77.88645661621143.

After driving along route 144 to the trailhead, one then must hike the Hammersley Trail in Susquehannock State Forest. As depicted in Project Remote’s video of the spot, the subsequent 0.1 miles off-trail are intense and uphill. But its all worth it when you arrive at the single most remote spot in the entire state of Pennsylvania!

2 – San Anthony’s Wilderness

Autumn Landscape View from Brasstown Bald Mountain in Georgia

San Anthony’s wilderness is a beautiful untouched natural area that narrowly avoided focus and development by mining interests!

©Laura Clay-Ballard/iStock via Getty Images

The Wandering Woodsman, a youtube channel dedicated to exploring nature, opens a window into San Anthony’s wilderness. The abandoned tower of the ‘Yellow Springs’ mining operation in San Anthony’s Wilderness is his intended destination. The Yellow Springs mining operation was first started in 1824, but didn’t peak in production until 1854. That’s when the old tower was included into part of a coal-moving operation. The mining company wanted to transport the coal from the miner’s living areas to the railroads. The foundations of the homes where these miners lived are still there today. Despite its extreme remoteness, the area attracts hikers and explorers, mainly due to its proximity to the Appalachian trail.

The Yellow Springs mining operation faced bankruptcy in 1859, just prior to the start of the Civil War. The town was swiftly abandoned due to this double whammy, and the resource-driven settlement was slowly forgotten. Given how long it’s been since the once populated town has been empty, it’s no wonder no modern routes exist.

To reach this remote spot, one must start on the Stony Valley Rail Trail in Northern Lebanon County. Following trail maps and guides will help you eventually find the ‘Old Springs Trail’. Finally, after finding ‘The Incline’ trail, you will have successfully reached the stone tower! Some of the last remains from from this historic mining operation, the towers ruins still stand tall! Situated at coordinates 40.471986108444284, -76.66986027901952, San Anthony’s Wilderness lies 1.6 miles away from the nearest road of route 325! This video by the Wandering Wilderness is a great tutorial on how to reach this secluded spot!

3 – Leetonia

Leetonia_skyline

Leetonia still has people living within it, making it less secluded than the wilderness of the first two entries in the list. But the abandoned and tucked away nature of the town keeps the town remote, if populated!

©Finetooth / Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Formerly a small lumber town, Leetonia, located at coordinates 41.59952857991183, -77.4947956935501, now stands extremely dilapidated and empty. After the departure of the lumber industry from the area, the town never recovered. It once had its own post office, now only remaining in the form of its own postal code. Literally, as the post office has had to relocate to someone’s private home!

Comparing satellite imagery of light pollution to a map of Pennsylvania reveals how remote Leetonia is! The area which Leetonia is situated in is nearly pitch black. Any doubt about the complete remoteness of Leetonia is shut out after seeing the darkness!

Locating and reaching Leetonia is quick and simple compared to the top two remote spots in the state! It’s a far cry from Hammersley or Yellow Springs, where no modern human impact is visible! Leetonia still lies directly on ‘Leetonia Rd’, connecting the town to modern easy access. However, the town is nearly entirely abandoned, existing as a mere shell of its former glory. Though it may not strike some as a ‘remote’ location, the seclusion of Leetonia keeps it tucked away and hidden from the rest of the world! With nature taking back the town after people left, one can only image it will eventually return to a complete forest, impossible to drive through!

Honorable Mention – Centralia

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church on North Paxton Street, Centralia, PA. The church is on a hillside overlooking Centralia, a town nearly abandoned due to an underground coal seam fire.

The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church sits on North Paxton Street, Centralia, PA. Wafts of smoke from the underground fires can be seen in the air between the church and the camera!

©Mredden at the English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Earning an honorable mention on this list due to its fascinating history, Centralia was once an average coal mining town that turned to an overnight apocalypse. With a population that once exceeded 1,100 people, Centralia now stands abandoned and eerie, shrouded in a layer of smoke emanating from the ground. The setting is so nightmarish that it even served as the inspiration for the horror video game ‘Silent Hill.’

The apocalyptic history of this town can be traced back to one horrible mistake. Fires in a trash dump spread to the exposed coal veins laying under it, and despite millions of dollars and decades spent by the government trying to extinguish the fires, they raged on. Eventually, the realization that the fires beneath the town had created a hellish environment had to be accepted. Many residents moved away on their on accord, but by 1983, Congress allocated $42 million to buy homes from the remaining citizens.

While technically five people still reside in Centralia, the entire town is condemned and owned by the state of Pennsylvania. Although the residents are technically trespassing, the state has made no efforts to remove them from their old homes. Centralia officially holds the title of the least populated municipality in Pennsylvania due to these remaining hold outs. Once a hub of human life, this apocalyptic town is now as desolate as can be.

Despite strong warnings from the state urging people to stay away, intrigued explorers seek it out and will likely continue to do so. State-posted warnings emphasize the risk of serious injury and even death, although no recorded deaths have occurred due to this rapture-esque event. As far as reaching this remote location, using extreme caution and proceeding at one’s own risk is the name of the game!

Summary of the 3 Most Remote Spots in Pennsylvania

NameDistance to Nearest RoadCoordinates
Hammersley Wild Area2.7 miles41.503092790798206, -77.88645661621143.
San Anthony’s Wilderness1.6 miles40.471986108444284, -76.66986027901952
Leetonia0.0 miles41.59952857991183, -77.4947956935501
Summary of the most remote places in Pennsylvania, by distance to the nearest road, with coordinates.


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About the Author

Chris is a lifelong animal lover with a passion for writing and a natural tendency to explore the internet in pursuit of new wildlife and nature facts! He is completing his Bachelors in Political Science at Concordia University in the Spring of 2024 after a science-centric high school career. Aside from studying and writing for A-Z Animals, he has a budding music career and enjoy spending time outside year-round, from swimming to skiing!

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