About 14,000 covered bridges were built in the United States, mostly between 1825 and 1875.

Covered bridges are designed to protect the bridge and to extend its lifespan. Uncovered wooden bridges usually only last about twenty years but covered wooden bridges can last as long as a century before any work needs to be done on them.

There are conflicting resources on the estimate of how many covered bridges currently exist but it is somewhere between 500 to 700 with the majority located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, Indiana, New Hampshire and Oregon. There are covered bridges that still exist in 29 states but Pennsylvania has the most remaining covered bridges in the United States with over 200.

Part of a trip to New England should include seeing some of the many covered bridged in the region. The bridges that I have featured in this post are all located near Conway, New Hampshire and they can all be easily seen in a single day.

Swift River Bridge

The Swift River Bridge was originally built in 1850 and was rebuilt in 1869 after being swept off its supports by the flooded Swift River. The bridge is 133 feet long, 21 feet wide and 13 feet overhead clearance. It is closed to vehicle traffic but there are picnic table that allow you to have a great view of the Swift River.

Albany Covered Bridge

The Albany Covered Bridge is located in the White Mountain National Forest and is built to allow Paccanaway Road to cross over the Swift River. The bridge was built in 1858 and is 120 feet long. This bridge is a pedestrian only bridge but there is parking available in the national forest parking lot near the bridge. A bonus to visiting this bridge is that there are nice hiking trails that let you enjoy the forest and the bridge at the same time.

Saco Bridge

The Saco Bridge has a turbulent past. The original bridge was built in 1850 but was destroyed in 1869 when the Swift River Bridge crashed into it during a flood. The rebuilt bridge was destroyed by fire in1890 and the existing bridge was built in 1890. This bridge is 224 feet long and still allows traffic but it is a single lane bridge and vehicles are required to yield to oncoming traffic. There is a small parking lot on the side of the bridge.

Jackson Covered Bridge

The Jackson Covered Bridge is also known as the Honeymoon Bridge because of a longstanding tradition of newly married coupled having their photo taken at the bridge. The Jackson Bridge was built in 1876 and a pedestrian sidewalk was added in 1930. The bridge is 121 feet long, 26.5 feet wide and has a vertical clearance of 12 feet.

The Dust on My Shoes

In a way wooden covered bridges are similar to lighthouses, they were very important during the era when they were being built but their purpose for being built has come and gone. There are still many of them around but they are primarily being kept for nostalgia purposes. They remind us of a period in our history when the pace of life was much slower.

Wooden covered bridges are scattered throughout the United States and other countries. In the United States the majority of the existing covered bridges are in the northeastern states. Many of the covered bridges are located a distance apart from each other. I chose the covered bridges in this post because they were located in a small cluster and I could see several covered bridges in a short period of time.

There are some things that are a must see when traveling to the New England region: historical places, lighthouses and covered bridges. Try to set aside a day on your schedule to take a covered bridge journey. Driving through the countryside is beautiful, the bridges are charming and they are all located on picturesque rivers.

Just like lighthouses, covered bridges all serve the same purpose but no two bridges are alike. Try to see several different styles of covered bridges when you go on a covered bridge journey.

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