Six Covered Bridges East of Salem

This is the last time I am going to post this paragraph!  Just in case you haven’t seen it already.

Clicking on the linked bridge names will take you to with historical information about each bridge, location maps and photos. Hovering with your mouse over the photos will give you the name of the bridge as well. Again, the google map and link to our tour is here. My picasaweb/google photo albums have many additional photos of the bridges and our trip.

along the bike path to Irish Bend Bridge on the campus at Oregon State University As someone noted in a recent comment, the Benton Oaks RV Park was a fairly pricey stay. Although expensive, we wanted a location central to the western area bridges and the fairgrounds were the cheapest deal around.  We really weren’t up for boondocking in cold rain in the forest, and were glad at least for electricity to power the little electric  heater we have for cold nights. It is so much nicer and quieter than the big noisy furnace.

Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University (the black and orange colors for the Beavers are sooo much prettier than that yellow and green Duck thing (University of Oregon). Just thought I might mention that for a couple of my more regular readers. 🙂 Very important that folks don’t mix up OSU and O.

As is often the case in a university town, expenses are high. In fact, Corvallis has the highest cost of living of any community in Oregon. It is a beautiful small city, with a vibrant and interesting downtown with lots of restaurants, breweries, great local shopping venues, and a fantastic live theater. Of course, not as fantastic as the one in Albany, but darn nice. (Yeah, my daughter sang and acted at Albany Civic Theater for years.)

It also has a beautiful quilt store, and of course I had to check it out. Again I was thrilled at the incredible variety of fabrics and styles and came away with another pile of amazing gorgeous fabric. Who knows when I will ever get a chance to actually quilt it, but my newbie stash is growing exponentially.

Hoffman Covered Bridge near CrabtreeAfter our two day stay in the somewhat funky expensive campground, we decided to head for Silverton and the fairly new Silver Spur RV Park, one of the few parks in the area that honors our Passport America discount. Being the middle of the week, we didn’t worry about a reservation and simply knew that after a long day of bridge hunting, we had a nice park to go to with all the amenities we might need for half the price of what we paid to stay in Corvallis.

There are six bridges not far east of the interstate north of Albany and south of Salem. I had some difficulty trying to map out a route that didn’t include a bit of backtracking, so we just let it be and backtracked as needed.

Our first bridge of the day was the Hoffman Bridge near Crabtree, (pictured in the first collage above). Not far from Crabtree, this bridge is on a main route to the highway, and with its asphalt decking seemed to be pretty popular with bikers. Instead of worrying about dogs this time I had to be careful to stay out of the way of the bikers when I was taking photos.Larwood Covered Bridge The route to the Larwood Covered Bridge (above) was a bit less straightforward. We had dropped the MoHo off at a wide spot in the road just before the Crabtree bridge (which was a good thing since it only had a 10.5 foot clearance!) and picked it up before traveling east to find Larwood and the Roaring River. I was driving the MoHo and Mo was following in the baby car as we attempted to find a place to turn around.  In the entire six miles from the highway to the Larwood bridge there wasn’t a single turnout, wide place, or even a road to turn around at all.  Crabtree Creek at Larwood BridgeInstead, we drove all the way with both rigs, and thankfully there was parking on the far side of the Larwood Bridge at the most lovely little park I have seen in a long time. We stayed there a long time, enjoying the river, the park, and the beautiful setting of this lovely open bridge.

The GPS wasn’t much help, but I had cell service and was able to navigate back to the highway and the town of Scio without having to turn around. Wandering the back roads of Linn County gave us a chance to see some lovely farms and fields, freshened by the spring rains.

Gilkey Covered Bridge near Skio Back to the town of Scio, we once again left the MoHo parked in town and drove the few miles to the Gilkey Covered Bridge (above) about 3 miles back west along Goar Road. The countryside was lovely, and Gilkey was another bridge with open sides showing off the weathered trusses. In addition, the roof rafters were still visible and quite lovely. More bikers were using this country road as well and enjoying the asphalt paving.  Of course, after seeing so many bridges with wooden pavers, we didn’t appreciate the asphalt as much as the bikers did.

Hannah Bridge on Thomas Creek Returning to Scio, we passed the MoHo parked safely along a side street, and drove 6.5 miles back east toward the Hannah Covered Bridge (above).  Another open sided bridge with visible trusses and an asphalt deck near an open road, the redeeming quality of Hannah was its beautiful setting on Thomas Creek.

too much traffic at the Shimanek Bridge! In all our circling around, we had actually passed the Shimanek Covered Bridge (above) twice, seeing it from the main road and decided that we would visit it last.  Just a few hundred yards north of the highway, this little red bridge somehow only seemed “OK” to us. Easily found, with asphalt sporting a yellow line down the middle, and fresh red paint, I only took one photo of this little bridge.  The traffic was coming and going and there was no place to stand with a camera that felt very safe.

Stayton-Jordan bridge For our last bridge of the day we drove north of Scio to the town of Stayton.  I had never been to Stayton before and was surprised to discover a delightful, clean, charming little town tucked away amid green fields and open roads.  The lovely Stayton-Jordan bridge (photo above and collage below) is housed in the city park and has a great story.  It was built, lost, saved, moved, rebuilt, lost again, and then finally rebuilt again.

From Bridgehunter:

“Prior to 1986, the Jordan Bridge spanned Thomas Creek in neighboring Linn County several miles east of Scio. The original bridge location had once been the site for a dam, a cheese factory, two mills and a general store.

When Linn County announced the aging Jordan Bridge was to be replaced in 1986, Stayton residents asked if they could take title to the structure. A covered bridge preservation company was formed, enlisting the help of numerous volunteers and Marine Corps reservists for the 6th Engineering Battalion in Salem. The span was rebuilt over the Salem Power Canal to serve as a foot bridge connecting two parks. The process of rebuilding the Jordan Bridge occupied nearly two years, culminating in a dedication ceremony in June 1988.

Stayton-Jordan Covered Bridge in Stayton In the Tuesday, December 27, 1994, edition of The Stayton Mail, the headlines read “A community dream in ashes.” The bridge had caught fire December 20th at 2:00 AM when Christmas lights ignited the roof. Photos of the still standing charred trusses depicted the scene. The city decided to demolish the trusses and burn what remained of the bridge.

Local citizens toiled throughout 1997 and 1998 to construct a new covered bridge at the site. The new bridge incorporates glue laminated members for added strength and was dedicated in September 1998.”

Next Post: Silverton, the Woodburn Tulip Farm, and the last bridge of our tripWoodburn Tulips_022

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

16 thoughts on “Six Covered Bridges East of Salem”

  1. What a lovely tulip picture, i could have that hanging in my house!! Did not know there were SO many covered bridges in Oregon & i went all the was to Iowa to see covered bridges (of Madison Co)


  2. What a lovely tulip picture, i could have that hanging in my house!! Did not know there were SO many covered bridges in Oregon & i went all the was to Iowa to see covered bridges (of Madison Co)


  3. We missed this treat, covered bridges, when we drove through Oregon on our way to Vancouver. June 2009. I remember Silverton. A couple of deer stopped traffic as they walked across the road, grazing beside the railway. The tulips reminded me …. of the beautiful hanging baskets everywhere. We had lunch in Silverton so had a nice walk around admiring the flowers.

    We have thoroughly enjoyed your covered bridge tour and would love to have time to explore Oregon properly next time.



  4. I really like those open sided bridges. I can see we have missed a lot and need to revisit. Russ's has family in Mill City and we used to go the back roads thru Scio and Stayton area when we went to visit. It is pretty country. I am sorry you got mixed up in your post though. I'm sure you have realized your error by now and will willingly acknowledge that Yellow and Green and the premier colors in Oregon!! GO DUCKS!!!

    P.S. I do root for the Beavers as long as they aren't playing the Ducks!!


  5. Not sure why the bikers would prefer asphalt to wooden floors. After all, the bridges aren't THAT long. I like the wooden floors too and love the looks of the open sided bridges. The streams/rivers they cross over are beautiful.

    You sure have had some great days doing this. What a terrific idea. It would take me about 10 times as long though since I would want to stay at least half a day at each one. 🙂


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