Visiting the Covered Bridges of Lancaster County: The Northwestern Bridges
Among covered bridge aficionados, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is legendary. In fact, there is no county in Pennsylvania that has more historic covered bridges than Lancaster County’s 29.
Previously, I’ve written about the northeastern covered bridges in Lancaster County and the southwestern covered bridges in the county, and today, I’m going to write about the county’s northwestern covered bridges.
There are five covered bridges in northwestern Lancaster County. These five bridges stretch roughly from Manheim to Mount Joy. The bridges are listed below from west to east, which is also north to south. Visiting these bridges can also be done in the opposite direction just as easily, if you wanted to.
It’s also worth noting that the first three bridges listed are located south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and north of Route 283, while the last two are south of 283 and north of Route 30. This access to three major roads through the area makes these bridge easy destinations for travelers in the area wanting to see some of the historic covered bridges in Pennsylvania.
Shearer’s Covered Bridge
Shearer’s Covered Bridge is located in Manheim, directly next to Manheim Central High School. This bridge was originally built in 1847, though it had to be rebuilt in 1855. The bridge stayed in its original location until 1971, when it was moved to Manheim Memorial Park to ensure its preservation.
Today, Shearer’s Covered Bridge crosses 86 feet over Big Chiques Creek. It is the furthest upstream of the five covered bridges that cross this waterway. While cars are no longer allowed on the bridge, pedestrians can use the bridge to cross to a portion of Manheim Memorial Park.
Interestingly, while all Lancaster County covered bridges are painted red, this is the only bridge that features a red interior and red approaches, giving it a bit of a unique look.
Getting There: Shearer’s Covered Bridge is located on the outskirts of Manheim next to Manheim Central High School. The bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 40.171917, -76.389764.
There is plenty of parking around the bridge, though it might be difficult to find parking if you visited during school hours. Should you have difficulties with parking, the park has several parking lots that should have parking during school hours, though you may have to walk through the park to see the bridge.
Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge
Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge is located southwest of Manheim and is the second historic covered bridge on Big Chiques Creek. The bridge was originally built in 1857 and named for the nearby Kauffman’s Distillery Mill. At that time, Kauffman’s was one of 130 distilleries in just Lancaster County.
While sources differ on the length, it appears that the bridge is up to 96 feet in length. It is still open to vehicular traffic.
Getting There: Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge is located southwest of Manheim, about a quarter mile off of Route 772, also known as Mount Joy Road. The bridge can be found at the following coordinates: 40.148294, -76.409949.
Parking at this bridge is a bit of a challenge as there is not a set area for parking. However, there are places where a car could carefully pull off to the side of the road. Just ensure if you go this route, you aren’t blocking traffic while enjoying this beautiful bridge.
Schenck’s Mill Covered Bridge
Schenck’s Mill Covered Bridge is the third covered bridge to cross Big Chiques Creek. It is 96 feet long and was completed in 1855. The original Schenck’s farmhouse and mill are still standing along Shenck Road, directly in front of the bridge. The buildings are now the home of Longenecker’s Construction.
Like Shearer’s Covered Bridge, it is one of three covered bridges in the county that have horizontal boards on the outside instead of vertical boards.
Getting There: Schenck’s Mill Covered Bridge is located just over a mile off of Route 283, and just around the corner from the massive Spooky Nook Sports Complex, making this a very easy covered bridge to visit. It can be found at the following coordinates: 40.115683, -76.425147.
The best option for parking is on the northeastern side of the bridge where there is a small gravel pull-off along Shenck Road.
Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge
Siegrists’s Mill Covered Bridge is a 102-foot-long covered bridge that crosses Big Chiques Creek. It is located southwest of Mount Joy near the community of Farmdale.
Siegrists’s Mill Covered Bridge was originally built in 1855. While it was one of the few covered bridges that survived the massive floods brought on by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, it was swept downstream by a flood in September 2011 during Tropic Storm Lee (See footage of it being swept away). After sitting along the side of the road for a period of time, the bridge was rebuilt in 2013. Today, it is one of the most scenic covered bridges in Lancaster County.
Getting There: Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge is located approximately 3.5 miles south of Route 283. It can be found at the following coordinates: 40.076091, -76.470992.
Parking at this bridge is a challenge as there is little room to pull over along the side of the road. Ensure that, if you do park, you aren’t blocking traffic or a driveway.
Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge
Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge is the last covered bridge over Big Chiques Creek before it meets the Susquehanna River between Marietta and Columbia. Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge was built in 1869 and is 103 feet in length.
The bridge was named after the Forry family who lived in a stone house that’s still located on the hillside overlooking this beautiful bridge.
Getting There: Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge is located less than a mile and a half from Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge. It can be found at the following coordinates: 40.066479, -76.478153.
There are no official pull-offs here, though there is room next to the electrical station on the bridge’s eastern end.
If you are still looking for more covered bridges to visit, check out our guide to the southwestern covered bridges in Lancaster County and our guide to the northeastern covered bridges in the county.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
See map below for other area attractions.[webdirectory-map height=500 ajax_loading=1 start_latitude=40.120753 start_longitude=-76.425147 start_zoom=12 show_readmore_button=0]
Jim Cheney is the creator of UncoveringPA.com. Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited, written about, and photographed all 67 counties in the state. He has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.