The “Cannonball” Tunnel

I heard about an old railroad tunnel not too far from my house – about 10-15 minutes away. I’m used to having to go 2+ hours to find such things, and now I’m surrounded by them, it seems.

The “Cannonball” was a train that ran from Wilkes-Barre to Hazleton. This particular tunnel runs under Penobscot Mountain. The entrance was completely flooded, so we couldn’t get in this time. I plan on returning. Still, just standing next to the mouth is a humbling experience.

Seeing this place reminded me very much of Manunka Chunk, though I think this one is taller. Manunka Chunk is in much better condition, however. This looks more like a cave than an old railroad tunnel.
Also, no pirates.

This is somewhat accessible from 81 North, but we as usual took the long way in. We walked about 3 miles roundtrip and had to walk around a pond and over a stream, and then up a mountain or 2. On the way, we came across this. No idea what it is.

Ah, our bridge. I can’t count how many times I’ve come across this situation.

Is it sturdy? Only one way to find out.

(Yes, this time it was.)

Author: Stu

8 thoughts on “The “Cannonball” Tunnel

  1. Can you tell me how to get here. I’m scouring the internet to find the entrance but can’t get an exact location. Thanks.

  2. Park at the Rice township fireball and walk behind it to find the old railroad bed. Follow that back about 2 miles.

  3. Finally I found a site that has (was) my favorite tunnel. I live not far form the fire hall and walk back there to play. Yes play I an outdoors guy and when I was a kid about 12 to 16 yrs old. (I’m 23 now) Me and my friends would go there for a day and see how far back we can go. I remember the first time. We went it was an experience for us we used flashlights the first time and the farther we went the more misty it was. So we had to stop several yards back and had to turn around because the flashlights did produce enough light, but our first day didn’t get ruined we had a picnic and scaled the walls, (Yeah not safe we knew but we got better at it every time.) so after the first day we went that same week. We brought torches ( Fire is the best way to go really really far back.) and the fun really began. We started exploring the tunnel (We did a little bit a time to save the excitement.) we found out we weren’t the ones to go that far so we turned back and have our regular cookout. Over the past summer when i was a kid we would visit the tunnel 15 times a month. (We still had other activities we weren’t obsessed we road our bikes all over mountain top finding our next swimming hole. ) After the first few summers, we reached a half a mile inside the tunnel and did our regular thing, but the last year was the best of all. (Every time we went back to explore we left a shoe for a marker for how far we went.) We reached a mile back or farther and it was cold ,wet, rocky and dark we had our torches. When inside that far you cant see a thing when the light was out and lighters wouldn’t work because how damp it was (Matches we a good idea.) but you couldn’t see the person standing several inches from you and when you try to find your way around you bump to wall to wall the entrance we came in we couldn’t see. We had to cross big rocks and and a lot of water. I think 3 or 4 areas that had no dry land but filled with water almost like small pools. (we got really wet) But we couldn’t see anything that was left by any others that far, but I’m sure we went the farthest to this day. Our shoe is still back there, I know that for sure. Recently I went back in April of this year. I decided to walk back there with my son and just showed him where i played as a kid. But when we got back there I was heartbroken from what we saw was a steel gate going from top to bottom. ( The steel was thick you need like a cutting torch to get through.) But i was happy because I knew our shoe was safe and cant be touched. I want to know why they did that to our childhood. If anyone knows of caves or other tunnels in the area i would like to know email me at Thanks for reading! =)

  4. Fascinating area!
    My mother grew up in and around Warrior Run in the Great Depression era. The kids would climb up Penobscot Mountain to pick blueberries. She often mentioned something called “the bore hole”. I wonder if anyone knows anything about that.

  5. I can’t say that I ever heard it referred to as the Cannonball,
    but the Wilkes Barre & Hazleton was an electric interurban that ran between the two cities, I think it was pulled up in the late 1930s. One of the platforms is right next to the fire hall. There are still some recognizable bits and pieces, at blytheburne lake and St Johns. Interstate 81 blocked the north side of the tunnel and cut off the Lehigh Valley backtrack that carried trains from Wilkes Barre to Mountaintop and just touched Newport Twp on Alden Mt. So much history slowly fading into oblivion.

  6. I have noticed you don’t monetize your page, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional bucks
    every month because you’ve got high quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search
    for: Ercannou’s essential adsense alternative

  7. Does anyone know how to access the tunnel from the northern portal. I’ve hiked and seen the south portal, but now I wanna see the other side

Comments are closed.