The best PA Covered Bridges


There are more than 200 historic covered bridges in PA (209 to be exact, but who’s counting?). I’ve made it my goal to visit all of these beautiful and historic structures during my travels around Pennsylvania. Currently, I’ve visited nearly all of them and only have a small handful left to visit in the state.

Not only are Pennsylvania’s covered bridges beautiful and historic structures, but the quest to see them will take you along some of the most beautiful backroads in all of the state. Many of these are roads that you would never find yourself on unless you were hunting down covered bridges.

All told, 34 of Pennsylvania 67 counties are home to at least one historic covered bridge. That makes visiting them all a quest to uncover nearly every corner of this great state.

Below, I’ve organized the covered bridges of PA in a variety of ways. Whether you want to see a map of the covered bridges closest to you or you want to discover the top bridges around the state, scroll down to find out more about these great bridges.

 

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History of Covered Bridges in PA


At one point in time, it is estimated that Pennsylvania was home to more than 1,500 covered bridges. However, advances in technology, types of vehicles, and the amount of traffic has reduced this number to just over 200.

The first covered bridge in the United States was built over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia in 1805 and was known as the Permanent Bridge. This bridge, located along present-day Market Street (next to 30th Street Station) was destroyed by fire in 1875.

First covered bridge in Pennsylvania
The current Market Street Bridge in Philly is located on the site of the first covered bridge in the United States.

Fire (particularly arson) is one of the major causes of covered bridge loss. In recent years, several bridges have been destroyed by arson, including Dellville Covered Bridge in Perry County.

The longest covered bridge ever built was constructed in Pennsylvania between Lancaster County (Columbia) and York County (Wrightsville). This bridge was over a mile in length and was completed in 1814. Sadly, it was destroyed by flood waters in 1832, but it was replaced by another covered bridge 40 feet shorter in 1834. This bridge was burned in 1863 to prevent Confederate soldiers from crossing the Susquehanna.

Today, the longest covered bridge in Pennsylvania can be found in Juniata County. The Academia Pomeroy Covered Bridge is 278 feet in length.

Truss styles used in covered bridges in Pennsylvania
A look at the truss system inside Kidd’s Mill Covered Bridge

One of the most commonly asked questions about covered bridges is why were they covered in the first place? While there are many theories, the primary reason was that covering the wooden trusses extended the life of the bridge from roughly 20 years to 100 years.

Pennsylvania’s covered bridges are built primarily using a Burr arch truss. This truss style was designed by Theodore Burr in 1804 and is the style used in more than half of the remaining covered bridges in Pennsylvania.

One fun activity is to try and figure out which truss style each of the covered bridges you visit uses. There are several other truss styles that can be found in PA: queen post truss (the second-most common), king post truss, Smith truss, Howe truss, and Town truss.


PA Covered Bridges Map



Favorite Counties for Covered Bridges in PA


Covered Bridges in Lancaster PALancaster County Covered Bridges – Lancaster County is home to 29 covered bridges, more than any other county in PA. Visiting these covered bridges offers a great chance to get out and explore this popular destination and experience Amish culture.
Somerset County PA Covered BridgesSomerset County Covered Bridges – Somerset County is home to 10 historic covered bridges. Of these, my favorite is Packsaddle Covered Bridge. Packsaddle is the only covered bridge in Pennsylvania with a natural waterfall directly beneath it.
Bucks County Pennsylvania Covered BridgesBucks County Covered Bridges – Bucks County is home to some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful covered bridges. This County is one of my favorite counties to drive through in PA and exploring the covered bridges here is a great way to see these amazing structures.
Covered Bridges in Indiana County, PAIndiana County Covered Bridges – Indiana County is home to four of the most beautiful covered bridges in PA. These bridges are centered around Indiana, PA, and it’s a great time visiting each of these bridges. The county is also home to the only two covered bridges that are within sight of each other.
Covered Bridges in Lawrence County, PALawrence County Covered Bridges – Lawrence County in western PA is home to two historic covered bridges. One of these, McConnell’s Mill Covered Bridge, is one of my favorite covered bridges in the entire state. This bridge is located at the heart of McConnells Mill State Park.

Covered Bridges in Adams County, PAAdams County Covered Bridges – Adams County is home to four historic covered bridges, two of which are on public property. One of these bridges, Sach’s Covered Bridge was used during the Battle of Gettysburg, making it the most historic covered bridge in PA.

Our newest articles about Covered Bridges in PA




PA Covered Bridges by Region


Covered Bridges in the AllegheniesThe Covered Bridges in the Alleghenies are located in Bedford County and Huntingdon County. Huntingdon County is home to only one covered bridge, but it’s very beautiful. Bedford County is home to 14 of these great structures.
Covered Bridges in Pennsylvania's Great Lakes RegionThe covered bridges in the Great Lakes Region are located within two counties in the northwestern corner of PA. The region is home to three bridges, two in Erie County and one in Mercer County. The bridge in Mercer County uses a unique style of truss that is found no where else in the state.
Covered Bridges in PA's Laurel HighlandsThe Laurel Highlands covered bridges are concentrated in Somerset County, one of my favorite counties for covered bridges in Pennsylvania. This includes Packsaddle Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge with a natural waterfall benethe it. There is also one historic covered bridge in Westmoreland County.
Covered Bridges in the Lehigh ValleyThe covered bridges in the Lehigh Valley can be found in both counties in this eastern PA region. Lehigh County is home to six covered bridges, most located north of Allentown. There is also one historic covered bridge in Northampton County.
Covered Bridges in northeastern PANortheastern Pennsylvania’s covered bridges can be found in two counties. Rural Sullivan County is home to three historic covered bridges located amidst the beautiful Loyalsock State Forest. There is also one covered bridge in Bradford County.
Covered Bridges in Pennsylvania Dutch CountryCovered Bridges in Pennsylvania Dutch Countryare plentiful and make this one of the best areas in PA for covered bridge lovers. The region is home to Lancaster County, which has more covered bridges than any other county. There are also covered bridges in Adams County, Berks County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, and Franklin County.
Covered Bridges in the PA WildsCovered Bridges in the Pennsylvania Wilds are sadly almost non existent. In fact, despite there being 10 counties in the region, there is only one historic covered bridge remaining here. Located in Clearfield County, this bridge is also the only covered bridge remaining across the Susquehanna River.
Covered Bridges in Philadelphia and its suburbsCovered Bridges in Philadelphia and its Suburbs can be found in three of the five counties in the region. While Bucks County and Chester County are home to more than a dozen bridges, Philadelphia is only home to one. However, it is the last historic covered bridge in a major city in the country.
Covered Bridges in Pittsburgh and its suburbsCovered Bridges in Pittsburgh and its Suburbs can be found in three different counties. Washington County just south of Pittsburgh is home to the second-most covered bridges in the state, and Greene County even further south has seven more bridges. Lawrence County and Indiana County also have fantastic bridges worth seeing.
Covered Bridges in the PoconosCovered Bridges in the Poconos can only be found in Carbon County. In this county, there are two fantastic covered bridges that are sure to delight anyone that loves these historic structures.
Susquehanna Region of PA Covered BridgesCovered Bridges in the Susquehanna Region are one of this area’s star attractions. Ten of the region’s 11 counties have covered bridges including Clinton County, Columbia County, Juniata County, Lycoming County, Montour County, Northumberland County, Perry County, Schuylkill County, Snyder County, and Union County.
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