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“Take the time to enjoy!”

Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark
Ranked #1 of 23 things to do in Altoona
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: An unusual construction of rail-building that enabled trains to move westward.
Centralpa
Level Contributor
204 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Take the time to enjoy!”
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Go to the curve with lots of time! The trains which go around the curve are actually working trains so they do not just go for the tourists to see. Pick up a schedule where you get your tickets and see what's due to come thru. A few picnic tables at the top. Here are steps to the top or the incline ( which was running every 15 min.). We were there on a Sunday early in June. Got to see three trains and a set of "helper" engines. Was definitely worth the trip. Walk up and take the funicular ( incline) down or vice verse. Also an educational display set up. To you can combine your ticket to also visit the train museum ( which we chose not to at the time).

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Artisticwander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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390 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Zeeland, Michigan
Level Contributor
342 reviews
145 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“Wonderful place to train watch”
Reviewed June 9, 2014

This has been turned into a beautiful park since we first visited over 20 years ago!! Very nice visitors center and riding the funicular to the top is fun. Hours & cost are not user friendly, especially if you come in the winter as it's closed!! Still very neat & an amazing accomplishment for the era in which the curve was built, great history!!!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Cinnilouwho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Nice facility, expensive, management issues”
Reviewed June 6, 2014

This national historic landmark really is a must visit. The funicular is a hit with small children and adults alike, and the pleasant grassy field enclosed by the curve itself is a very relaxing place to watch the mile-long trains roll by. The place is popular with old order Mennonites in traditional dress, who appear regularly with their barefoot children to picnic and enjoy the passing trains. If you are interested in observing the local Anabaptist language (Pennsylvania German) and culture, but don't want to be intrusive or show up where you don't belong, it is worth spending some time at the Horseshoe Curve.

Except for two passing Amtraks at about 10:00am and 5:15pm, all of the trains are freight carriers, some of them very, very long. You get an amazing view of the entire beast from inside the curve. The train driver is sure to give the kids a honk and a wave.

The modest museum at the base of the hill is worth a brief look. The marginally interactive displays are interesting and informative, but any buttons or levers for the kids to use are frequently non-functional. There's a small cinema seating maybe 20 people showing a film about the curve every half hour or so.

The gift shop is pretty well stocked with train related knick-knacks, toys and clothes, and the prices charged are about what you'd expect. There's bottled water, sodas and a few junky snack foods. There's obviously demand for a proper snack bar like you find at most Congressionally designated landmarks like this, but I wouldn't hold my breath for any improvements.

The young staff members selling tickets & running the funicular and gift shop are friendly, but the opaque, nominally non-profit organization responsible for this public facility should come under a great deal more scrutiny. It isn't really being run in the public interest, and the admission fee is far too high -- some $18 for me and my 10-year-old son (though if you visit the Altoona Railroad museum on the same day, you'll get a better deal).

It seems to have a great number of well-paid "managers", yet the facility has trouble opening on time (especially early in the season), the funicular sometimes runs irregularly, and it is closed for many months of the year even when the weather is fine. The board members' names and proceedings are kept secret, apparently in violation of federal law. The Website is a mess, filled with contradictory pricing and dated information. Good luck figuring out when it will actually open each spring. Once or twice a year a steam train pulls through the curve (not stopping) and if you happen to appear on that day, they will charge you $30 a person for admittance, which is absolutely absurd. There are no walk-in discounts for elderly or handicapped patrons.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Richard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Altoona
Level Contributor
109 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“No more discounts given”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

went the last week of April and find out no more AAA discounts give. Sign was there telling us there wont be any more discounts of any kind given. It now costs 7.58/pp to view the trains. Even if you arrive at 4pm and it closes at 5pm -the price is the same. I love watching the trains from opening to closing coming and going. the 194 steps are a killer going up but its good excercise.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank civilwarloco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Historical”
Reviewed May 15, 2014

This was a wonderful experience. Would recommend this attraction to anyone who loves the History of the Railroad. We got to see 4 of the locomotives travel the Curve and it was awesome. So if you ever find yourself in Altoona Pa. this is a must to see.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Theresa K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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