Visiting the 5 Covered Bridges of Southern Somerset County, PA
While Somerset County might not be home to the most covered bridges of any county in Pennsylvania, the 10 bridges in the county are some of the most beautiful you’ll find anywhere in the state. Of these 10 bridges, five are located north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and five are located south of the turnpike, making it very easy to visit these bridges in one trip or two.
The five historic Somerset County covered bridges south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike are some of the best in PA. They also include the only covered bridge in Pennsylvania with a natural waterfall underneath.
The bridges below are listed west to east, but could just as easily be visited in the opposite order. For more information on the other bridges in Somerset County, check out this site.
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge is the westernmost and southernmost historic covered bridge in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This bridge is located only 25 minutes from Ohiopyle State Park, making it the closest covered bridge to this popular destination. The closest community to the bridge is Confluence, just about 3.5 miles away.
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge (also known as Faidley Bridge) was built in 1891 and extensively rehabilitated in 1991. It crosses 126 feet over Laurel Hill Creek, the furthest downstream of the three covered bridges that cross this creek. Thanks to the rehabilitation in 1991, the bridge is still open to vehicular traffic.
Getting There: Lower Humbert Covered Bridge is located in western Somerset County, a few miles from Confluence, Pennsylvania. The bridge is located on a rural road off of Route 281. The bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 39.840138, -79.323077.
There is room for several cars to pull off directly across from the bridge along Humbert Road.
Barronvale Covered Bridge
Barronvale Covered Bridge is the furthest upstream of the three historic covered bridges that cross Laurel Hill Creek. At 162 feet in the length, it is the longest of the 10 covered bridges in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
There is a bit of a dispute about the construction date for this bridge. A sign on the bridge says it was constructed in 1830, but that is unlikely as it would predate the settlement of the area. Another date floated is 1846, but it is more likely that the bridge was built in 1902. Today, the bridge is in great condition and is one of the most beautiful covered bridges in PA.
It’s worth noting that this bridge is privately owned, though visitors are allowed to check out the bridge and walk around it. Please respect the property so that this arrangement continues to exist.
Getting There: Barronvale Covered Bridge is one of the most remote covered bridges in the state, and isn’t located near any large communities. It is, however, located just a few miles from Cole Run Falls, which makes a worthwhile detour.
Barronvale Covered Bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 39.952746, -79.270497. There is an area to pull off along Ream Road on the western bank of Laurel Hill Creek.
King’s Covered Bridge
Located just a few minutes drive from Barronvale Covered Bridge is King’s Covered Bridge. Like Barronvale, this bridge also crosses Laurel Hill Creek, and despite the road being rerouted to a modern bridge, it has been preserved for posterity.
King’s Covered Bridge was likely built in 1906, though some sites list 1802 or 1806 as the construction date. However, as previously discussed, these dates are highly unlikely. This covered bridge is 127 feet in length.
This bridge should not be confused with King Covered Bridge in Greene County, PA.
Getting There: King’s Covered Bridge is located only about a mile south from Barronvale Covered Bridge. It can be found at the following coordinates: 39.937631, -79.271248.
There is a large parking area located next to the bridge and some signage explaining the history and nature of the area.
Burkholder Covered Bridge
Burkholder Covered Bridge (also known as Beechdale Covered Bridge) is located just off of Route 219 between Garrett and Berlin. Built in 1870, this bridge crosses Buffalo Creek and is 52 feet in length.
Unlike many other covered bridges in Pennsylvania, this bridge has low walls and open sides, offering a great look along Buffalo Creek while crossing the bridge. This bridge is in great shape and still allows traffic. It was last rehabilitated in the early 1990s.
Getting There: Burkholder Covered Bridge is located just a few yards off of Route 219, a major thoroughfare through this part of the state. The bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 39.881800, -79.034578.
There are several places to pull off to the side of Burkholder Bridge Road near the covered bridge.
Packsaddle Covered Bridge
Of all the covered bridges in Pennsylvania, Packsaddle Covered Bridge is easily one of my favorites. This is because it’s the only bridge in Pennsylvania with a waterfall directly underneath the bridge. This creates one of the most idyllic scenes I’ve come across in my travels.
Packsaddle Covered Bridge is the shortest Somerset County covered bridge at only 48 feet in length. It was built in 1870 and still carries traffic over Brush Creek.
The waterfall under Packsaddle Covered Bridge is roughly 10-15 feet in height and falls over a series of drops. The best time to see this bridge is during periods of high water, especially in the spring. This gives the full effect of the waterfall below the bridge.
While you can see the waterfall from the bridge, the best views can be found by carefully walking downstream a bit and looking back up the waterfall and the bridge. Make sure to note which land is posted so as not to accidentally cross onto private property.
Getting There: Packsaddle Covered Bridge is located in a very rural portion of eastern Somerset County, roughly halfway between Routes 219 and 220. The closest major road to the bridge is Route 96. You can find Packsaddle Covered Bridge at the following coordinates: 39.867543, -78.817203.
There is space to park several cars in a pull-off just before reaching the bridge.
Suggestions for Further Exploration
If you are looking for other things to do either before or after checking out these Somerset County Covered Bridges, here are a few suggestions.
- Explore the covered bridges of Somerset County that are north of I-76
- Visit the many waterfalls of Ohiopyle State Park
- Head southeast of Packsaddle Covered Bridge to check out the two southernmost covered bridges of Bedford County
- Take a bike ride along the fabulous Great Allegheny Passage
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]