Forest Haven: Exploring an Abandoned Mental Institution

Marc, our friend Will (whom I posted about on Friday), and I all went out together on Saturday to explore Forest Haven, an abandoned mental institution in Maryland.  Marc and I had visited this particular site once before, as had Marc and Will, but this site is so huge that it will likely take at least two more expeditions for us to explore it fully.  It is shockingly undisturbed for an urban exploration site, and we suspect that is because the location has never been published.  I plan on continuing that tradition, though if you are interested in exploring it yourself, contact me and I can give you directions.

The site does have security, and with all the dust, asbestos, etc, we all wore respirator masks.  I was quite proud of how well I did in some of the pitch black sections, though we did have a scare at one point where we thought we heard someone else walking around.  Will, who has quite a good chunk of military combat experience, went ahead to investigate and found…KITTENS!  Sadly, I did not get photos of them, as they all ran away too quickly.  Due to the adrenaline from that experience, plus the somewhat disturbing find of some drag marks leading into the basement, I decided to stop after that building, while Marc and Will continued into another.  Once my nerves are set off I find it difficult to regain them, and it is important to know your personal limits within urban exploration.

I had a lot of fun and got some really great photos, including an incredible self-portrait that Will helped take.  I will be going through the photos for awhile, but here are a few of my favourites so far:

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Marc and Will check out a room in the administration building.

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Marc illuminates something on the floor with his flashlight.

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Will takes a picture through a window in a door.

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Looking down a stairwell.

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Marc and Will stand in a hallway, lit only by the windows in the adjoining rooms.

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Will pauses to check out some of the endless paperwork littering the floor.

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A lone chair in a room.

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My new favourite self portrait. I set it up, Will took the picture.

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Me, standing in the hallway.

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A stairwell.

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Looking into a room.

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The same room.

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Will shines his flashlight at some cabinets near the ceiling.

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Will checks for security with his binoculars from our advantageous position at the top of the administration building.

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A stairwell and a creepy hole in the wall.

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Marc and Will head into a room full of furniture that looked like it had been thrown around like toys.

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Me, in one of the hospital wards.

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A chair and television sit alone in a room.

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Marc and Will pretending to be terrorists.

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A shattered mirror and Marc's foot.

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Marc in his mask.

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Piles of books slowly rotting away.

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More abandoned books.

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The chapel.

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Marc, standing in the glow of the stained glass.

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I love the orange light.

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Stained glass, reflecting off the filthy linoleum floor.


16 Comments


  1. The site is well worth multiple visits. That one locked building was frustrating. i am sure it is completely undisturbed too………….

  2. This is absolutely amazing. AMAZING. I love the self-portrait of you. I’d love to know more of the history of the institution. It looks like it was closed off in the sixties, perhaps? So incredible.

    I visited the ruins of the mental hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York, but it wasn’t nearly this preserved (or awesome, for that matter).

    • Actually parts of it were closed off as recently as the late 90s! One building is actually still in use.

      This one is still quite preserved because there are no directions anywhere on the internet as to how to get there (we had to do it with a little google earth sleuthing) and because there’s still roving security that you have to worry about.

  3. I love this series of photos… colors, light, subject matter– That it’s of a place I would never go but would be curious about. So many of these images are going to stick with me for a while.

  4. So have you gone back to that place? I was hoping to see a picture of the drag marks you were talking about. I think that would have frazzled my nerves too. I’d really love to see pictures from more visits. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I want to save the books! I assume you aren’t allowed to carry anything out of there, though…

  6. so, what’s the security like there?? me and a few friends went to Glenn Dale hospital oday, and went through so much, but couldn’t get in cause of cops. we’re rather adventurous and would really like to go to this asylum. i know there’s a trailor for security right on the glenn dale grounds. and police everywhere. anything like that here?

    • I have no idea about Glenn Dale. As for security, we have never seen any at Forest Haven. In UrbExing, the general rule is that if there is a lot of security, you should leave the site alone.

  7. Those are awesome photos. I love visiting old abandoned places and a couple friends and I have been talking about going to Forest haven. Could you send directions to my email? I’d really appreciate it :)

  8. Is there any way to get actual Permission to explore these grounds, I know my friends and I would like to have the chance to see this place for our selves, but we do not trespass when we explore we always seek permission from the current owner/government body and set dates and times for the visit, just wondering if you would know who to contact to seek permission, worst case scenario is they say no. Awesome pictures by the way, that place looks super creepy

  9. Hey,

    Love your shots, I’d really like to explore this place so any info you could share would be fantastic.

  10. Hello,im looking into going there for a couple of photos,im a senior in highschool trying to build my portfolio for the college im going to and the shots you have gotten are amazing,if you could send me in the right direction as to how to get there it would be very much appreicated(:

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