Horseshoe Curve National Historical Site

Getting a train through the great Allegheny Mountains before the early 1850s was unthinkable. Even then, that all changed in just three years. Ingenious engineering paired with the steadfast labor of immigrants carving away earth and rock created a 2,375 foot, horseshoe-shaped passage through the hills.

Its story only deepened with time, through the rise and fall of the railroad; a planned sabotage by the Nazis during World War II; a designation as one of the eight engineering marvels of the world; and its modern growth as an international tourist destination.

At the base of the mountain, visitors enter a funicular that ascends above the long, winding valley and reservoir below. At the top, is a smooth, lawn lined by walkways and benches. Behind a chest-high fence are the reddish-brown railroad tracks, set against the hill.

The area is a picturesque blend of Mother Nature and human invention – a scenic spot to enjoy a picnic in the grass as the steel trains pass.

Quick Facts:

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday, 10 am – 5pm
  • 10-minute drive from Downtown Altoona
  • $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (65+), $3 for youth (4-11) and free for toddlers (3 and under)
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