12 Abandoned Plane Crash Sites and US Plane Crashes for 2024

There’s a peculiar fascination attached to plane crash sites. They’re somber reminders of past tragedies, yet they continue to captivate our attention. The allure is understandable. These crash sites, especially when left undisturbed, provide a unique snapshot into history.

These US plane crashes often serve as vivid reminders of the perils associated with aviation’s early days, or stark testimonies to more modern tragedies. As such, they often form a narrative, a tangible chronicle of our relentless pursuit to conquer the skies, and the human cost that sometimes accompanies it.

Exploring these locations provides an unmatched combination of outdoor adventure and historical discovery. Whether hidden deep within dense forests, perched precariously on remote mountain ranges, or silently resting underwater, these sites invite us into an unusual journey back in time. Each one tells a story.

The Journey to Abandoned Plane Crash Sites

The thrill of reaching these sites is often marked by challenging trails, hard-to-reach locales, and the exhilarating sense of discovery upon arriving. It’s urban exploration taken to new heights – quite literally in some cases.

However, it’s crucial to remember that venturing into these plane crash sites should be approached with respect. Always adhere to the mantra of ‘take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints’. In addition, safety should be paramount. Navigating to these remote locations often involves inherent risks, and the legality of visiting these sites can vary, so due diligence is essential.

What follows is a curated list of 12 US plane crashes, where the wreckage remains as silent, haunting testaments to these aerial accidents. These are locations that echo with tales of human ingenuity, bravery, tragedy, and survival. Let’s embark on this journey of discovery together.

Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned plane crash sites are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Breakdown: 12 Abandoned Plane Crash Sites

If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned plane crash location.

Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws

Before heading out, it’s important to familiarize yourself with trespassing laws as it relates to the state in which you are exploring. To make things a little easier, I have curated a list of trespassing laws, along with abbreviated overviews, for all 50 states. It can be found here. While some of these crash sites are memorials or on publicly-accessible property, there are quite a few that are on private property. Please be respectful.

The Top 12 Abandoned Plane Crash Sites

Atka B-24D Liberator, Atka Island, Alaska

In the vast, remote expanses of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a tangible relic of World War II history lies weathering the relentless Arctic conditions. This is the Atka B-24D Liberator, a bomber that was intentionally crashed on Atka Island in 1942 during a violent snowstorm, following a failed mission to bomb Japanese-held territory.

The plane’s remote location, along with the island’s harsh weather conditions, have conserved it in a state of ‘frozen decay’, remarkably untouched since the day it crashed. The wreckage paints a surreal picture, with parts of the aircraft scattered around the crash site, from its twisted propellers to the largely intact fuselage.

Exploring this site is a powerful, visceral experience. The stark landscape coupled with the eerily preserved state of the wreckage provides a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the brave men who served in these harsh and unforgiving conditions during the war. It’s also worth noting that getting to Atka Island itself is an adventure, requiring either a chartered flight or a trip on a fishing boat, which only adds to the allure of this isolated piece of history.

Theodore Weiss Plane Wreckage, Dunnellon, Florida

Deep within the dense foliage of Florida’s subtropical wilderness near Dunnellon, lies a lesser-known yet intriguing crash site. This is the Theodore Weiss Plane Wreckage, a small private plane that went down in the mid-2010s under mysterious circumstances.

The crash site, located within a short hike from the main road, still houses the remnants of the ill-fated aircraft. Nature has woven itself around the wreckage, with trees and vines intertwining with the decaying metal, almost as if attempting to reclaim this man-made object back into the earth. The mangled fuselage, cockpit, and parts of the wing structure create a haunting tableau amidst the surrounding vegetation.

This plane crash site makes for a unique and eerie exploration, providing a window into a tragic event frozen in time. There is a palpable sense of history and mystery surrounding the Theodore Weiss Wreckage, from its ominous location deep within the woods to the unsolved questions that linger around the circumstances of the crash. An excursion to this site is as much a testament to the resilience of nature as it is a somber reminder of human fragility.

Humphreys Peak B-24 Wreckage, Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Nestled in the vast landscape of the Coconino National Forest in Arizona, atop Humphreys Peak, you’ll find the remnants of a World War II-era B-24 Liberator bomber. It’s not just the wreckage that’s intriguing, but also the grueling hike to reach it, which is a major part of the appeal to urban explorers and history enthusiasts alike.

The bomber crashed on Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona, in 1944 during a training flight. The wreckage remains as a haunting tribute to the nine crew members who tragically lost their lives. Large sections of the aircraft are still intact and scattered across the mountainside, including pieces of the wings, engines, and fuselage, some of which bear still-visible military insignia.

Despite the passage of time and the harsh mountain weather, the site retains an eerie sense of immediacy. Explorers are met with a stark contrast between the breathtaking natural beauty of the surrounding scenery and the solemn, sobering reminder of the lives lost during the war. The challenging terrain and high altitude only heighten the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the site and lend a profound respect for the challenges faced by the servicemen who trained in these conditions.

Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site, Honolulu, Hawaii

The clear blue waters off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii, offer a unique underwater plane crash site, the Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site. This is an adventurous departure from traditional on-land explorations, as this site requires diving gear to access it.

The Corsair F4U plane was used for training purposes during World War II and sank in 1948 after the pilot had to ditch due to engine trouble. Fortunately, the pilot survived, and the plane remains on the ocean floor as a testament to this harrowing experience. The plane sits upright in the sand approximately 105 feet beneath the surface, remarkably preserved considering its saltwater environment.

For explorers who are comfortable with deep diving, the Corsair Wreck Dive Site offers an unparalleled experience. The plane’s fuselage, propeller, and cockpit are still largely intact, and marine life has taken up residence, offering a stunning blend of history and natural beauty. Visiting divers often encounter schools of reef fish, eels, and even sea turtles making their home in and around the wreck. This unique blend of history and nature makes the Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site an unforgettable underwater adventure.

B-17 Comanche Peak Wilderness Crash Site, Glen Haven, Colorado

Tucked within the rugged terrains of Colorado’s Comanche Peak Wilderness, near Glen Haven, lies the somber remnants of a B-17 bomber crash site. In October of 1943, this Flying Fortress, conducting a cross-country navigation training flight, found itself off course due to poor weather conditions, ultimately leading to its tragic collision with the side of Comanche Peak.

The wreckage site, high in the alpine wilderness, is a poignant memorial and an eerie glimpse into the past. While pieces of the plane have been scattered by the impact and the ensuing years, key sections of the B-17 remain. A hiker who makes the arduous journey will encounter pieces of the plane’s four engines, fragments of the wings, and sections of the fuselage. The site is a solemn testament to the ten crew members who lost their lives in the crash.

Although the B-17 crash site is a challenging trek, often requiring a multi-day hike through tough, wilderness terrain, the journey is rewarding. Not only does it offer stunning views of the Colorado wilderness, but it also gives visitors a deeply personal connection to a piece of World War II history, frozen in time and largely untouched since that fateful day.

B-23 ‘Dragon Bomber’ Wreckage, McCall, Idaho

In the remote wilderness near McCall, Idaho, you can find the unexpected sight of a B-23 “Dragon Bomber” crash site. In January 1943, during a routine training mission, the twin-engine bomber encountered a snowstorm and was forced to make an emergency landing. Miraculously, all eight crew members survived, braving the harsh winter for 15 days before being rescued.

Today, the wreckage of the B-23 Dragon Bomber rests near the shores of Loon Lake, an unusual testament to the persistence of the human spirit. Remarkably, the bomber is largely intact, its durable construction having withstood the elements for over eight decades. Visitors can still see the wings, engines, and even parts of the cockpit.

Access to the site is via a moderate hiking trail through the stunning Payette National Forest. The contrast between the natural beauty surrounding Loon Lake and the historical wreckage provides a surreal experience. Visitors often report a sense of awe and respect for the ordeal that the eight crew members must have endured. The B-23 Dragon Bomber wreckage offers a tangible connection to the past and a reminder of the remarkable stories of survival that often accompany the history of US plane crashes.

TWA Flight 260 Crash Site, Albuquerque, New Mexico

At the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, tucked within the craggy landscape of the Sandia Mountains, is the site of TWA Flight 260’s tragic end. On February 19, 1955, the twin-engine Martin 4-0-4 airliner was en route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe when it deviated from its flight path, crashing into the rugged cliffs of the Sandia crest, claiming the lives of all 16 passengers and crew onboard.

Hiking to the crash site is a strenuous but rewarding endeavor, revealing not just the remnants of the tragedy, but also offering breathtaking views of Albuquerque and the surrounding areas. As you trek up the La Luz trail, you’ll encounter scattered debris from the wreckage, including pieces of the engines, fragments of the aircraft’s body, and even personal belongings from the passengers. It’s a somber place, stirring deep contemplation about the fragility of life.

The TWA Flight 260 crash site, now part of the Cibola National Forest, stands as a poignant reminder of the risks of early commercial aviation. Despite the passage of time, the site remains largely undisturbed, a tragic testament to one of the deadliest US plane crashes of the mid-20th century.

Wichita State University Plane Crash, Silver Plume, Colorado

October 2, 1970, marks a dark day in US aviation history. A Martin 4-0-4 chartered plane, carrying players, coaches, and supporters of the Wichita State University football team, crashed into the mountains near Silver Plume, Colorado, taking the lives of 31 of the 40 people onboard. The crash occurred during what was supposed to be a scenic detour over the Rocky Mountains, en route to a game in Logan, Utah.

The trek to the crash site is a difficult one, traversing through steep and rocky terrains of the Arapaho National Forest. Once there, the remnants of the tragic crash serve as a stark reminder of the lives lost that day. Strewn among the conifers, hikers can find fragments of the plane’s fuselage, twisted pieces of metal, and even a plaque commemorating the victims of the crash.

Visiting the Wichita State University plane crash site is not just a venture for urban explorers but also a pilgrimage for those connected to the university. Every year, family members and alumni make the journey, paying their respects and remembering the lives abruptly halted that autumn day. It’s a place where nature’s beauty and a historical tragedy intersect, fostering reflections on the frailty of life and the power of memory.

Plane Crash at Waterrock Knob, Sylva, North Carolina

One of the more unexpected and solemn features of the Waterrock Knob trail, located near Sylva, North Carolina, is the wreckage of a Cessna 414 plane. On November 24, 1983, the aircraft, bound for Mississippi from Maryland, tragically crashed into the mountains due to inclement weather, resulting in the deaths of the two occupants.

The hike to the crash site is a moderate, albeit steep climb. But as you ascend, the panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains provide a striking contrast to the wreckage waiting at the end of the trail. As you approach, you’ll see strewn fragments of the plane, swallowed by the dense undergrowth of the forest over the decades.

Visiting this crash site is not for the faint-hearted. The eerie silence of the site, punctuated by the rustling of leaves and wind, brings an inescapable sense of solemnity. Each piece of wreckage tells a silent tale of the tragic event, and it’s impossible not to feel a deep respect for the lives that ended there.

The Cartersville Abandoned Plane, Cartersville, Georgia

In Cartersville, Georgia, among the open green fields, you’ll discover something most unusual: an abandoned Boeing 747 jumbo jet. This decommissioned plane is not a crash site, but rather it was purposely brought to its resting place and is one of the most unique instances of “aircraft graveyard” in the United States.

The plane is stripped down to its skeletal frame, with the paint faded and peeling, creating an uncanny juxtaposition against the backdrop of the Georgia countryside. Up close, the colossal size of the aircraft is awe-inspiring. Explorers can observe the plane from the outside, noting the hollowed-out engines and the empty spaces where rows of passenger seats once stood.

Over the years, this abandoned plane in Cartersville has garnered significant attention from urban explorers, aviation enthusiasts, and photographers alike, drawn by the sheer oddity of its presence. The sight of the grounded jumbo jet, slowly being reclaimed by nature, is a stark symbol of the impermanence of even the most titanic human-made machines. It is indeed a must-visit for anyone interested in unusual US plane crash sites.

Harrison Plane Crash, Palmer Lake, Colorado

In a secluded area near Palmer Lake, Colorado, tucked away from the bustle of everyday life, the remains of a twin-engine plane crash can be found. This particular site is home to the remnants of a small aircraft that crashed in the early 1960s. The accident, which occurred under unknown circumstances, unfortunately resulted in the loss of all passengers on board.

Access to the crash site is achieved through a challenging hike that climbs over 1,000 feet in elevation. As you traverse the trail, the serene beauty of the surrounding Pike National Forest provides a striking contrast to the somber destination. Upon reaching the site, visitors are met with the scattered debris of the plane, a tangible echo of a past tragedy that adds a solemn ambiance to the location.

Over time, nature has begun to reclaim the site, with vegetation creeping over the remnants of the plane, slowly swallowing the debris. Still, visitors can make out the plane’s engine, wings, and other fragments, now partially embedded into the earth. The site stands as a quiet reminder of the risks involved in aviation and the lives abruptly ended in this tranquil forest location.

B-18 Bomber Crash Site, North Woodstock, New Hampshire

Located in the depths of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, near the town of North Woodstock, lies the crash site of a B-18 Bomber. The plane was on a routine patrol mission during the Second World War when it tragically crashed into the side of Mt. Waternomee in January 1942. The crew members managed to parachute to safety, but the aircraft was lost.

The journey to the crash site is not an easy one; a strenuous hike that demands respect for the terrain is necessary. The trail weaves through dense forest, eventually leading explorers to the site where aluminum wreckage remains, scattered among the trees and rocks. Fragments of the plane, including parts of the wings, engines, and fuselage, are spread over a large area, illustrating the force of the impact.

The crash site is now a place of quiet reflection, where hikers can contemplate the courage of the crew who parachuted into the dark, cold mountain night. As a significant piece of wartime history lying dormant in the peaceful landscape of the White Mountains, the B-18 Bomber crash site in North Woodstock is a poignant testament to the perils faced by those who served in the Second World War.

Our Final Thoughts on US Plane Crashes and Abandoned Plane Crash Sites

These twelve US plane crash sites offer an enthralling and somber exploration into history and the inevitability of our human fallibility. Each crash site tells a unique story of flight, calamity, and often, survival against the odds. The remnants of these aircraft are scattered across some of the most breathtaking and diverse landscapes America has to offer, from the remote Alaskan wilderness to the warm shores of Hawaii, to the verdant forests of New Hampshire.

For urban explorers and history buffs alike, these sites provide an unusual window into the past, not only through the wreckage they left behind but also through the stories of the people who were involved. As we walk through these locations, we’re reminded of the lives touched by these incidents, the daring rescues, and the technological leaps and bounds that have been made in aviation safety since these crashes occurred.

Finally, as you plan your exploration, remember to respect these sites. They are not just historical landmarks but also hallowed ground where real-life tragedies unfolded. As you encounter the twisted metal and debris, let’s remember the brave souls involved, their stories, and their families. With each visit, let’s ensure we leave these sites undisturbed, preserving them as silent, open-air museums for future generations to experience and learn from.

Whether you’re an avid urban explorer or a newcomer, the exploration of these plane crash sites across the US is bound to leave you with a greater understanding of our history and a profound appreciation for the advances in aviation technology. As you embark on this unique adventure, safe travels, and happy exploring!