What is Gravity Hill?
Gravity Hill in Bedford County is a fun place to visit and try to figure out how things work so differently on this particular road. When you put your car in neutral and take your foot off the brake, your car will roll uphill and not down. If you pour water on the road, it will flow uphill. Try moving a ball on the roadway, and it will roll steadily upward. This strange and unusual behavior is so fascinating to try to debunk.
Where is Gravity Hill?
This is the only map that I have found on trying to find this area. We stopped into the Bedford Visitors Center to pick this up. The funny thing is that even with this map, we had trouble finding the road. If you have GPS, you can locate the road at N 40°06’39 – W 078°41’31. Have fun finding the road! Look for the spray-painted GH on the road to start seeing some strange phenomena.
Gravity Hill Etiquette
There are a few rules that you should follow when you are visiting Gravity Hill:
- Check for and yield to oncoming traffic before doing the hill
- Never turn around in the local folk’s yard!
- Let folks pass if they’re trying to get around you. Remember that people live out beyond this road.
- Wave and smile when people pass you by.
Always remember to use common courtesy when visiting someplace new.
Spoiler Alert! Gravity Hill Explained
If you don’t want to know why this road defies physics laws, skip this section. Sometimes it takes the fun out of things knowing the reason, but here is the explanation for those who want to learn. Some people believe there is a magnetic force or supernatural cause for the way objects behave here. In actuality, the layout of the road and the surrounding area provide an optical illusion. What looks like an uphill slope is actually sloping at a slight downward slope. This works so well because the horizon is obstructed; without a true horizon in sight, landmarks such as trees and signs actually play tricks on your brain. Without giving you something to reference, it is easy to trick the eye into believing that your car is drifting up the hill.
Where to Stay and Things to Do
We stayed in Pittsburgh, a little over 100 miles from Bedford County (<2 hours). This is a great base city, and Bedford County makes a great day trip. There are so many things to do in Pittsburgh, including Randyland, Mattress Factory, Bicycle Heaven, riding the Duquesne Incline, eating at Primanti's, and so much more. If you plan to take a road trip through Bedford County, Pennsylvania, don’t forget to find all of the fantastic covered bridges in this county.
I found out there are dozens of gravity hills in the United States and worldwide, including Confusion Hill in California and Magnetic Hill in Canada. Have you visited Gravity Hill before or any other places that have the same effect? What did you think about it?
Let me know if you find any other unique, cool, and interesting places to road trip.