Covered bridges are among the most popular and attractive places to feel the old-fashioned vibe of stepping back in time. They make people think about horse and buggies, barn raising, gold rushes, and old eras when young lovers went “courting.” For example, The Bridges of Madison County inspires many visitors to hit the road. They make people think of stepping into the shoes of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood and recreating their meet on a picturesque, covered bridge somewhere.
And while a horse and buggy are no longer required to visit them…unless you want to, these covered bridges are perfect places to hike, go for a picnic, or explore some beautiful foliage. And every single one is highly photogenic, like stepping into a pretty painting. With time, many covered bridges have fallen into disrepair and have disappeared.
Luckily, some have remained thanks to towns dedicated to preserving their historical sites. And even though covered bridges are becoming rare, chances are there’s a beautiful one close to your home. Let’s take a look at 11 of them to add to your bucket list. Click “Next” to see them all!
Humpback Covered Bridge, Covington, VA
The Humpback Covered Bridge also happens to be one of the oldest still-standing covered bridges in the US. It’s located in Alleghany County in the state of Virginia, and it was built in 1857. The state added it to the Virginia Landmarks Register in November 1968.
This covered bridge is a popular spot to take photos for wedding parties and tourists. The bridge’s center makes an unusual arc shape, reaching 4ft higher at its middle than at either end. While you’re in the area, make sure to check out some other amazing historical attractions in the Shenandoah Valley. Including two Civil War battlefields.
Roseman Covered Bridge, Winterset, IA
We obviously couldn’t create a list like this without mentioning this one! The Roseman Covered Bridge can also be seen in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County” from the famed novel. This covered bridge was built in 1883 and included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The bridge is built over a land of less than one acre, and if you’re a Meryl Streep fan, you will definitely recognize it.
Robert Kincaid, a photographer, played by Clint Eastwood, seeks out this 107ft crossing, one of six countywide, while in town for an assignment. And Francesca Johnson invites him to dinner by tacking a note on the bridge, igniting one of Hollywood’s most memorable love affairs.
West Cornwall Covered Bridge, Cornwall, CT
Nature lovers seem to flock to Housatonic Meadows State Park, Connecticut’s only stretch of the Appalachian Trail, for riverside picnicking, hiking, and camping among 10,000 acres of foliage. As you drive through the area, keep your eye out for the West Cornwall Covered Bridge.
It’s a red wooden landmark designed by Connecticut native Ithiel Town. It’s also known as Hart Bridge, and you’ll find it situated over the Housatonic River. The covered bridge is one of the oldest covered bridges in the state, and you can also catch a glimpse of it in the movie Valley of the Dolls.
AM Foster Covered Bridge, Cabot Plains, VT
If you couldn’t already tell by the name of the town it’s in, this bridge will take you across part of this state’s famous cheese trail! It’s close to Cabot Creamery, which is renowned for its delicious sharp cheddar cheeses, among others.
And while this particular bridge happens to be off the beaten path, nature lovers will fit right in, but a GPS will definitely come in handy to reach this location. We especially recommend grabbing that picnic basket, cheese included, and blanket and waiting for the sun to set on the horizon. This is one of the most amazing views you will see!
Flume Covered Bridge, Franconia Notch, NH
The Flume is actually a natural gorge, with granite walls rising up to 90ft high, and a waterfall that was formed almost 200 million years ago. It was masked by glaciers during the Ice Age that later melted into a bubbling brook. Large rock formations surround the Pemigewasset River, which is ornamented by the unique Flume Covered Bridge and its adjacent footbridge for hikers.
The bridge itself was built in 1886 and is one of the oldest covered bridges in the state. It also happens to be a beautiful picturesque spot, so be sure to bring a camera when visiting!
Artist’s Bridge, Newry, ME
Maine’s covered bridges first appeared sometime in the mid-1800s due to horse-drawn caravans popping up in the area. Over time, before fires, floods, and ice could take their toll, the state counted 120 of these historic structures, but only nine are still standing today.
While Artist’s Bridge, constructed in 1872 above the Sunday River near the town of North Bethel, is no longer open to traffic, it remains one of the most photographed-covered bridges in Maine. It’s also known as the Sunday River Covered Bridge and definitely deserves a viewing if you’re in the area. It’s the perfect stop for a picnic or hike.
Wawona Covered Bridge, Yosemite National Park, CA
This covered bridge was built by Galen Clark in 1868 and spans the South Fork of the Merced River near Wawona in the national park. In the initial days, the area had Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, but it lacked one essential element.. a roof! But by the late 1880s, the Wawona Hotel’s owners, a trio from Vermont supposedly homesick for a bit of New England, had the bridge covered.
Its initial purpose was to provide a direct route to Yosemite Valley for local horse traffic and pedestrians. But today, visitors can walk the same stretch that Ralph Waldo Emerson once traversed.
Newfield Covered Bridge, Newfield, NY
Out of the 29 covered bridges in the state of New York, the one in Newfield is the oldest, having been built sometime around 1853. The bridge connects across the finger lakes wine region, which perfectly compliments the bridge’s dark wine-red color.
Even though a fire in 1875 destroyed most of Newfield’s records, it is known that stonemasons Benjamin Starr and Dick Russell laid the bridge in the very early 1850s. As you can imagine, mother nature intervened with time. Still, by 1998, a large-scale restoration included abutment and bank stabilization, new decking and roofing, a pedestrian bridge, the Musser overlook, and a quaint picnic area.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge, Landrum, SC
Adjoining the Greenville County Recreation District, constructed in 1909, this bridge is the last remaining covered bridge left in the state. Luckily, Campbell’s Covered Bridge remains a bright, red pinewood that’s perfect for a fall photo or a brisk, romantic walk or picnic. The 38ft long, 12ft wide pine structure that spans Beaverdam Creek was built by Charles Irwin Willis.
The bridge was named after Lafayette Campbell, who at the time of the bridge’s building owned 194 acres in the surrounding area. Greenville County now owns the bridge and everything around it. It has been converted into a passive park where visitors can picnic, explore the remnants of the old mill, and cool their feet on a hot summer day in Beaverdam Creek.
Ada Covered Bridge, Ada, MI
This one is a 125ft span Brown truss-covered bridge erected in 1867 in Ada, Michigan, United States. Carrying Bronson Street across the Thornapple River, it is located just south of where the Thornapple enters the Grand River, in turn just south of M-21. It also appears on the National Register of Historic Places. Walking across this bridge is like going back through time.
The classic bridge was built to cross the Thornapple River, and due to the Thornapple’s propensity for flooding, farmers used to leave wagons full of stones on the bridge during high waters to hold it to the foundation.
Sachs Covered Bridge, Gettysburg, PA
If you’re visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield, you’ll find the Sachs Covered Bridge not far from it. Union Army soldiers used it during the Civil War to access a field hospital. Also, this is the bridge that the Confederate Army retreated across after the Union won the battle.
In 1938, the bridge was named the state’s “most historical bridge” by the Department of Highways, and in 1980, it was included in the National Register of Historic Places. Today, visitors can walk across it, taking in both the history and picturesque nature of the area. It is also rumored to be haunted if you believe in such things.
What did you think about all these beautiful covered bridges? Let us know in the comments below!
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