7 Amazing Abandoned Roads in America

Pitch-black tunnels, graffiti-covered highways, and lava-soaked streets are just a few of the amazing abandoned roads you’ll find on our list.
Written by Samuel Todd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Oct 28, 2022
From the lava-drenched roads in the shadows of
volcanoes to
long-forgotten Graffiti Highway, America is home to some of the world’s most fascinating abandoned roads.
If you’re obsessed with deserted turnpikes and ghost towns, you’ve come to the right place.
, the
car insurance
super app
, is here to show you streets that won’t show up on modern-day maps. Be they buried by igneous rocks or overgrown by thick vines, these are the coolest abandoned roads that America has to offer.
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America’s coolest abandoned roads

1. Kilauea Lava Roads—Volcano,

Mount Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, having erupted 61 times since the 1800s. During intense eruptions, the volcano spews molten lava (at temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit!) across the streets of the
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
and the nearby Highway 11. 
The superheated rock suffocates the surrounding landscape, laying claim to everything in its path—foliage, houses, and yes—roads. Sometimes, the state government
spends millions of dollars
to fix the lava-damaged pavement. In other cases, though, the roads are scarred beyond repair and remain abandoned, engulfed by thousands of pounds of igneous rock.
Can you visit? With
ongoing eruption activity
, you won’t be able to get super close to Mount Kilauea right now—but we still think the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is well worth a visit!

2. Route 66—Goffs,

Sure, Route 66 is one of the most famous highways in the nation, running through popular attractions like
Cadillac Ranch
and the
Gateway Arch
—but some sections of the road are luckier than others. 
When I-40 was built in the 60s, the stretch of Route 66 that connects Needles to Ludlow was almost completely forgotten, as drivers flocked towards the more efficient interstate path. Today, Goffs—once known as the “Desert Tortoise Capital of the World”—is an abandoned ghost town, its roads slowly being claimed by the unforgiving Mojave Desert.
Can you visit? Yes! Though most roads in the town are deserted,
Goff’s Schoolhouse
is home to a small museum, bookstore, and gift shop.

3. Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike—Bedford and Fulton Counties

If you’re looking for a creepy, post-apocalyptic vibe, the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike is your best bet. In the 1960s, this section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was notorious for causing
traffic jams
, so it was rerouted and eventually deserted by cars.
During the day, the turnpike is home to dog-walkers, mountain bikers, and the occasional spray-painter—but when night comes, an eerie silence falls over the highway. Two pitch-black, mile-long tunnels can be found along this stretch of abandoned road, and they’re not for the faint of heart.
If you choose to pay a visit to the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike—especially after the sun sets—be sure to dress comfortably and bring a friend (or two!).
Can you visit? Yes. The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike is a popular jogging spot during the day!

4. The Graffiti Highway—Centralia,

The story of the Graffiti Highway is truly captivating—but be warned, it meets a tragic (or, to some, triumphant) demise.
The highway was officially closed in 1993, due to a mine fire that had been smoldering beneath the road’s surface for decades. Now, the story of a mile-long stretch of road being shut down by the unrelenting flames beneath its surface is interesting enough. For the Graffiti Highway, though, this was only the beginning.
Over the following decades, the highway reached cult status as a canvas for creative expression. Travelers from all across the country (and in some cases, the world!) would stop by the highway to add their own, vibrant design—or simply to marvel at the artwork of others. 
Strewn across the highway were multicolored messages: “You fell in love with my flower but not my roots,” or “out of nothing came everything.” Pearls of wisdom, aphorisms, obscenities, and jokes from every corner of the nation found a home in Centralia’s Graffiti Highway.
Then, in 2020,
it all came crashing down
. As a result of mounting local pressure, the highway was covered by tons of dirt, intended to be used as fertilizer for a new forest in the area. Though the decision to bury the highway was met by stiff resistance (including one petition that reached over 35,000 signatures), the decision is irreversible.
Whether you applaud the return of the road to nature or lament its disappearance, we can all agree on one thing: Centralia’s Graffiti Highway is one of the most intriguing abandoned roads in the world.
Can you visit? No. Unfortunately, the road is now off-limits to visitors, and you’ll be faced with a hefty trespassing fine if you try to catch a glimpse of the vanishing road.

5. The Jug Bridge—Frederick,

Originally completed in 1808 but renovated several times since, the Jug Bridge was considered a marvel of American engineering. The four-arch bridge spans the Monocacy River, towering 70 feet over the flowing water.
Its name comes from the prominent stone sculpture that sits at the end of the bridge, styled to look like a large jug. According to legend, the workers who built the bridge sealed an unopened bottle of whiskey in the jug sculpture.
The bridge, like some before it, suffered a terrible fate. In 1985, a horrific bus accident took place on the bridge—one of the worst in Maryland history. That same year, the bridge was abandoned, in favor of a less dangerous route.
Decades before the tragic accident, Baltimore Sun poet Folger McKinsey wrote these lines about Jug Bridge, a fitting memorial for the long-standing structure: 
The old jug held its station through so many fateful years
It watched the changing problems that created sighs or tears;
It saw the trucks and autos come along in all their might —
And at last its heart is broken and its walls have said good-night.
Can you visit? You can visit the
Jug Bridge Monument
, just a few miles away from the original location of the bridge, which displays the stone sculpture and commemorates the bridge. 

6. U.S. Highway 93—Santa Claus and Nothing,

While some stretches of U.S. Highway 93 are alive and well, other segments have been almost completely abandoned for the far more efficient Interstate 11. The towns that once adorned Highway 93, Santa Claus and Nothing (yes, those are the real names), are deeply ironic—just like their namesakes, they don’t exist!
Founded in 1937, business in Santa Claus never took off. Eventually, in 1983, the owner of the town offered to sell it for $95,000. Within a few years, that number fell to $52,500. Finally, all operations in the town ceased in 1995.
Though the portion of Highway 93 that abuts Santa Claus and Nothing is still driveable, it’s all but deserted in the 21st century—which is plenty for us to consign it to the realm of forgotten roads.
Can you visit? Yes, you can still drive through Santa Claus and Nothing—but don’t expect to see anything too impressive!

7. Old Highway 50—Washington,

Here’s one road that you should avoid at all costs. Though it might still show up on maps (and even some outdated GPS navigations!), Highway 50 has been overgrown by grass, trees, and vines. Needless to say, it’s no longer driveable!
Between the Kilauea Lava Roads, Centralia’s Graffiti Highway, and Old Highway 50 in Indiana, one thing is clear: nature’s power to reclaim human structures is unmistakable. And, if you’re in the business of searching for abandoned houses, towns, and highways, these seven fascinating and fabled roads are the perfect place to start.
Can you visit? Yes, but you might want to prepare to do some walking. You won’t be able to pass through certain segments of Highway 50. 

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