The Carlisle showgrounds are easily reachable from I-81 & I-83. Carlisle is located approximately 17 miles WSW of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Roughly in the middle of the state.
This page shows driving directions to the showgrounds.
Driving Times and distances from major cities:
|Atlanta, GA||11 Hours||698 Miles||Atlanta - Carlisle|
|Boston, MA||7.1 Hours||399 Miles||Boston - Carlisle|
|Charlotte, NC||7.8 Hours||458 Miles||Charlotte - Carlisle|
|Chicago, IL||10.9 Hours||643 Miles||Chicago - Carlisle|
|Memphis, TN||15.4 Hours||907 Miles||Memphis - Carlisle|
|New York, NY||3.4 Hours||185 Miles||New York - Carlisle|
|St. Louis, MO||13.1 Hours||771 Miles||St. Louis - Carlisle|
|Toronto, Ontario||9.0 Hours||391 Miles||Toronto - Carlisle|
|Washington, DC||2.4 Hours||114 Miles||Washington, D.C. - Carlisle|
* Driving times are estimated MapQuest times based on normally aspirated engines. They do not include the 'Merkur factor'.
The entrance to the showgrounds that we use is Gate 3. The 'official' way of getting to Gate 3 is Turnpike Exit 16, to Route 11, to Clay Street, to Gate 3.
On show days, Route 11 is a long slow drive. Over the years, we have found alternate ways to get to Gate 3.
Map of the Carlisle area:
PA Turnpike East (Rt. 76) to exit 16/226 (Rt. 11 South) - Right onto Clay St. at 4th traffic light.
From Washington DC:
270 North to Frederick, MD. - 15 North to junction 94 North - 94 North to junction 34 North - 34 North into Carlisle (approx. 9 miles) - Turn 1st left after Hardees (Spring Rd.) - Turn right at 2nd traffic light.
83 North to PA Turnpike West (Rt. 76) - PA Turnpike to exit 16/226 (Rt. 11 South) - Right onto Clay St. at 4th traffic light.
Schuylkill Expressway to PA Turnpike West (Rt. 76) - PA Turnpike to exit 16/226 (Rt. 11 South) - Right onto Clay St. at 4th traffic light.
From New York:
78 West to 81 South - 81 South to exit 52 (Rt. 11 South) - Right onto Clay St. at 5th traffic light.
From Route 81 (coming from North):
Exit 52 to Route 11 South - Right onto Clay St. at 5th traffic light.
From Route 81 (coming from South):
Exit 45 to Walnut Bottom Road - Bear left onto West Street - Right onto K St.
Directions provided courtesy of Carlisle Events.
Alternate Route from the Radisson Hotel to Carlisle Showgrounds Gate 3
At first glance, since both the hotel & Carlisle are on Route 11, you can make a left out of the hotel and follow it to Clay Street (see map above) and into the showgrounds. There are signs and this is the most direct route. The trip is 16 miles, but traffic delays can stretch this to well over an hour. An alternate route, which several of us over the years have taken, is shown below. This route is 22 miles, and is an enjoyable drive; taking in a both high speed highway driving and the back-road twists and turns Merkurs love. Conversely, the Route 11 directions are stop/start with lots of traffic light.
Mileage from Hotel
Pull out of the hotel and make a right onto Route 11.
|0.3||Route 11 becomes Route 11/15.|
|2.0||Follow Route 11/15 to its junction with Route 581 - the Harrisburg Expressway.
This is signposted '581 West Carlisle/11 South'.
The junction is just after Camp Hill Mall on the right with a large 'Barnes & Noble'.
|7.5||Follow Route 581 North to the junction with I-81 at Route 581 Exit 1b - a left lane exit.
This is signposted 'Exit 1b - I-81 South, Carlisle'.
|9.7||Don't get carried away in the left lane! - Take Exit 57 Mechanicsburg/Route 114 North (New Willow Mill Road) and make a right (west) off the exit.
Note: It is along this road that the famous Carlisle '99 'Merkur Mile pictures were taken.
|10.5||Follow Route 114 North for one mile to its junction with Route 944. Make a left onto Wertzville Road.|
|14.4||Make a left onto Enola Road. This is still Route 944 and is well signposted, however there are two exits within 100 feet of each other. You want the second exit.|
|17.2||Follow Route 944 West to its junction with Route 34 (Spring Road). Make a left.|
|22.0||Follow Route 34 South. Carlisle Gate 3, where you will collect your show credentials, is on the left just after you pass under the I-76 underpass.
Note: There are several convenience stores along route 34 where you can fill up with ice, soda and snacks.
These include a Rite Aid Pharmacy, a Shur Fine grocery store and the well equipped Turkey Hill gas station/convenience store.
Please don't be tempted to speed on this route. The back roads are great driving roads, and the local Police know it. They also know that there are a lot of performance car enthusiasts going to the showgrounds and are often out in force.
A variant of this route, which some prefer, is to take I-81 to Exit 17, or I-76 to Exit 16, and then follow the Carlisle Showgrounds signs down Route 11 to the Clay Street turning.
DRAG EVENT - SOUTH MOUNTAIN DRAGWAY
Directions from the hotel
HOTEL - Camp Hill Radisson
1150 Camp Hill Bypass,
Telephone: (717) 763-7117
West on PA Turnpike (I-76) to Exit 17. North on Route 15 for six miles to Erford Road Exit.
Pittsburgh and Points West:
East on PA Turnpike (I-76) to Exit 17. North on Route 15 for six miles to Erford Road Exit.
From the GW Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel. South on New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 14 (78 West). Continue on 78 West to 81 South. Take 81 South to Exit 21 (Enola Exit). Take 11 & 15 South through three lights (approx. five miles). Turn right at the third stop light. Follow straight through two more stop lights. We are on the right.
Upper NY, Northeastern PA, Canada:
(From PA Border) South on I-81 to Exit 21 (Enola Exit). Take 11 & 15 South through three lights (approx. five miles). Turn right at the third stop light. Follow straight through two more stop lights. We are on the right.
Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton Area:
West on I-78 which turns into South I-81. Follow I-81 South to Exit 21 (Enola Exit). Take 11 & 15 South through three lights (approx. five miles). Turn right at the third stop light. Follow straight through two more stop lights. We are on the right.
New York, Baltimore, Washington:
(From PA Border) North on I-83 to Route 581 split (toward Camp Hill) to Route 15. North on Route 15 for two miles to Erford Road Exit.
Questions about the directions? Click here to visit the MCA Carlisle Web Forum
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