Visiting the Covered Bridges of Bucks County, PA: The Western Bridges
Traveling around Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to visit the covered bridges is unlike any other bridge hunting experience that I’ve had in the state.
In the southeastern corner of the state, there is history around every corner. As one of Pennsylvania’s original counties, the County of Bucks, as it’s officially known, was formed in 1682.
Because of its early formation and settlement, Bucks County has a much older feel that many of the other counties in the state. And, while much of the southern half of the county is crowded Philadelphia suburbs, the Upper Bucks is surprisingly rural, filled with the types of charms you would expect from the English countryside.
It’s in Upper Bucks that you’ll find the majority of the county’s 12 covered bridges.
The covered bridges of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, are a bit different from most of the other bridges in the state in that all 12 are built using Town’s Lattice Truss. Even to the most casual observer, you’ll likely notice the lattice boards inside these bridges and how they differ from the typical Burr Arch Truss’ curved beam.
Since covering 12 bridges in one article would be a bit much, I’m going to break them down into three separate articles over the coming months. If you want information about the other seven covered bridges in Bucks County, check out the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society websites.
Today’s article will focus on the five northwestern covered bridges in Bucks County, PA. These bridges stretch from near Doylestown all the way up towards Allentown and I-78. The bridges are listed south to north, starting from the one closest to Doylestown, but could also be visited in reverse order if coming in from the north.
If you want to see even more covered bridges, these covered bridges can be very easily connected with the covered bridges of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Simply reverse the listed order of whichever county you do second, and you can very easily visit 11 covered bridges in half a day.
Pine Valley Covered Bridge
Located less than a 10-minute drive outside of downtown Doylestown, Pine Valley Covered Bridge sits in a scenic area along a busy road. The bridge spans 81 feet over Pine Run Creek along the border of Doylestown and New Britain. Pine Valley Covered Bridge was built in 1842 and was repaired in 2007 after it was damaged by an over-height truck.
The bridge sits next to Covered Bridge Park, a small community park in New Britain. The park contains ample parking and amenities such as a playground, basketball court, and walking trails. It’s along these walking trails that you can get the best views of Pine Valley Covered Bridge.
There is also a wide area next to the covered bridge to view the covered bridge or just for photographs.
Getting There: Getting to Pine Valley Covered Bridge is quite easy if you’re coming from downtown Doylestown as the bridge sits just half a mile off the main road heading west out of downtown.
When you get to the bridge, park in the parking area for Covered Bridge Park and walk the 100 yards to the bridge. The parking area can be found at the following coordinates: 40.304823, -75.186929.
South Perkasie Covered Bridge
Of the 12 covered bridges in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, there are only two that are no longer open to cars, and South Perkasie Covered Bridge is one of them.
South Perkasie Covered Bridge was built in 1832, making it the oldest covered bridge in Bucks County, and one of the oldest in the state. The 93-foot long bridge used to span Pleasant Spring Creek, about a mile from its current location, but was moved in 1958 to keep it from being destroyed.
Today, the bridge is a feature of Lenape Park just a few blocks from the heart of Perkasie. It sits in the middle of a flat, open field near Pleasant Spring Creek. Given that the bridge sits directly next to a creek, it would have been great to have the bridge span the water, but it’s still relatively scenic over land.
While visiting, don’t miss the signage inside the bridge, which has photos and information about the moving of the bridge to its current location in August 1958.
Getting There: South Perkasie Covered Bridge is located at the edge of Lenape Park, a small park with nothing more than a couple of baseball fields. It’s not hard to miss the bridge, which is a couple hundred yards beyond the outfield fences of the baseball fields.
Park anywhere in the park and walk to the bridge. South Perkasie Covered Bridge is located at the following coordinates: 40.367480, -75.294955.
Mood’s Covered Bridge
Located next to the Upper Bucks Campus of the Bucks County Community College, Mood’s Covered Bridge sits in a fairly residential area. Because of this, it sees a good amount of traffic. Fortunately, though, it is located next to a small park with ample parking space, which means you don’t have to get on the main road when visiting.
Mood’s Covered Bridge spans 121-feet over the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. It was originally built in 1874, but unfortunately was burned to the ground in an arson fire in June 2004. The bridge was rebuilt and reopened in February 2008.
Unfortunately, because the bridge was completely destroyed, it has been removed from the National Register of Historic Places.
The bridge is located next to the Morris C. Bryan Walking Path, which follows the creek in both directions.
Getting There: Like South Perkasie Covered Bridge, Mood’s Covered Bridge is located in Perkasie. Parking is available in a lot on the western side of the bridge, just downhill from the community college.
The parking area can be found at the following coordinates: 40.381226, -75.271710.
Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge
Unlike the first three bridges I’ve covered, the last two are located in quite rural areas of Bucks County.
Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge, also known simply as Sheard’s Covered Bridge was built in 1873 and spans 130-feet over Tohickon Creek. Many covered bridges are named after local mills, but rarely are those mills still standing. However, Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge is located next to the still standing Sheard’s Mill, giving this bridge a great historic character.
The Mill sits on the edge of the Tohickon Family Campground. The land is posted, so I didn’t get close enough to read the historical marker next to the mill, but you can still enjoy it from the road.
Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge is surrounded by private property and forest, making it one of the more difficult bridges to photograph that I’ve visited in Pennsylvania. However, the historic charm of the mill more than made up for it.
Getting There: Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge is located in a forested area of the borough of Quakertown, just a couple of miles from Lake Nockamixon.
Parking at this bridge is a challenge because of private property, but there are a few areas surrounding the bridge that are large enough to pull a car off the road.
Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge is located at the following coordinates: 40.454819, -75.278159.
Knecht’s Mill Covered Bridge
Knecht’s Mill Covered Bridge is located in an area of beautiful farmland just a few miles south of I-78 and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Its proximity makes this an easy covered bridge to visit if you are already in southern Lehigh or Northampton Counties.
The bridge crosses 110 feet over Cooks Creek and was built in 1873.
While there are no historic buildings next to the bridge like at Sheard’s Mill Covered Bridge, the drive to and from Knecht’s Covered Bridge is one of the most historically interesting drives I’ve been on in Pennsylvania. It seems like everywhere you look in this part of Upper Bucks County there is a historic barn or old mill.
Getting There: Knecht’s Covered Bridge is located in about the most out of the way place you can find in Bucks County, spanning the border between the townships of Riegelsville and Springfield, PA.
Parking here is a bit tricky as the bridge is surrounded by private property and scenic white picket fences. Fortunately, the road that the bridge is on is very out of the way and likely sees little traffic. The bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 40.538083, -75.277833.
[If you need help using the coordinates listed in this article, read my explanation here.]