When you think of Vermont do you think of covered bridges, rolling hills, and farms? I do. Oh and cows, lots of cows. Covered bridges always evoke picturesque countrysides, horsedrawn carriages, and olden times to me. Well, in Vermont covered bridges are pretty much a necessity in the winter months. They are beautiful anytime you visit though. To help you find some covered bridges I’ve drawn out a route from Rt. 89, along Rt. 4 and around to Rt. 100. This is such a picturesque part of the state. I’m certain you will not be disappointed even if you only chose to do a small portion of the route.
Excuse me if I talk about the construction of the bridges. I still love architecture and will always admire how things are designed and built even though I am not in the field any longer.
Table of Contents
Covered Bridges on Route 4
Since we started this trip on Route 4 off Rt. 89 we went through the quaint villages of Quechee, Woodstock, and Bridgewater. The first town you come to is Quechee, famous for its gorge. Letter B on the map. I highly recommend stopping and walking across the bridge. The hike down to the bottom isn’t difficult at all and can even be done in flip-flops for an adult, weather dependent of course. We enjoyed our hike to the bottom and the girls played in the water. It will be cold at any time of year but still fun to splash around in. Next to the gorge is the Quechee Gorge State Park. They offer camping, hiking, fishing, and nature programs.
Ottauquechee River Bridge
A little bit up the road from the gorge is the Ottauquechee River Bridge. Letter C on the map. This bridge has a separate aisle just for pedestrians which I personally love. There is a waterfall just before the bridge and the view of the valley is beautiful. This bridge is right next to Simon Pearce, which is a glass-blowing factory and store. You can watch as the workers make their glass pieces in the basement of the building. It’s really fascinating to watch them make the different pieces of glass they sell in their shop. We have a decorative glass plate and I love the piece.
Ottaquechee River Bridge The construction of the bridge The pedestrian path The waterfall and sunset
Taftsville Covered Bridge
This bridge is right on Route 4 and is also right after a waterfall on the Ottauquechee River. Letter D on the map. This is the red bridge you think of when we think of covered bridges. Build-in 1836 this bridge is one of the state’s and country’s oldest covered bridges. The construction is beautiful. Build of Kingpost wooden trusses and finished with arches this design is a marvel for its time. This is what is called a 2 spam bridge because of its center support.
Woodstock Middle Bridge
The Woodstock Middle Bridge is in the quaint little town of Woodstock. Letter E on the map. This is a town to meander along its main street and go into all the boutiques, gift shops, and restaurants. The Middle Bridge is the second youngest covered bridge in the area, built in 1969. However, it’s hard to tell isn’t so young because it was built using traditional methods including wooden pegs. This is a one-lane bridge that thankfully includes a footpath. The Ottauquechee River is lazy under this bridge.
In addition to the shopping in Woodstock, on the other side of this bridge, you can visit the Billings Farm & Museum. The farm is a national park and your kids can earn a junior ranger badge. My kids love to earn these badges.
Lincoln Covered Bridge
The Lincoln covered bridge was built in 1877 and is a Pratt truss system (it looks like an upside-down truss) with flanking arches. Letter F on the map. This bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places since its design paved the way for future steel highways and railroad bridges. The Ottauquechee River is quiet and lazy at this point. At the moment you can not drive through this bridge. It has been damaged and waiting to be repaired. Please note the height on all bridges before going through them. ** I’m pleased to say as of Feb 2020 the Lincoln covered bridge has been repaired. I will update the photos the next chance I get.
Pittsford, Vermont Covered Bridges
Pittsford is a small town north of Rutland off Rt 7. The town boasts two picket forts used during the Revolutionary War as its claim to fame. The town is also host to the New England Maple Museum.
Gorham Covered Bridge
The Gorham Covered Bridge is a one-way bridge, set among the fields off Rt. 3 north of Proctor. Letter G on the map. Constructed in 1841 and built using the town lattice truss and wooden peg construction. Otto Creek was very sleepy below this bridge.
Cooley Covered Bridge
The Cooley Bridge is just up the road a bit from the Gorham bridge. Letter H on the map. Constructed in the town lattice truss method with wooden pegs. And the same lazy Otto Creek runs under this bridge. The area is certainly a quiet and peaceful area to drive through. The Cooley Bridge was built in 1849.
Depot Hill Road Bridge
The Depot Hill Road Bridge was built in 1840 and is constructed in the town lattice truss method. Letter I on the Map. Again Otter Creek is quite lazy here. Clint said next time we will bring our kayaks on this river and go under all these bridges. It sits among the fields and mountains of Vermont in a most picturesque setting.
Bridge from the other side Town lattice truss constrution with wooden pegs The lazy river Picturesque countryside next to to the bridge
Hammond Covered Bridge
The Hammond Covered Bridge is now a pedestrian-only bridge. Letter J on the map. A new steel and concrete bridge carry’s the traffic over the Otto Creek. This bridge built in 1843 used the town lattice truss method with wooden pegs. Added steel plates and rods have helped to reinforce the structure. The flood of 1927 brought this bridge a mile downstream. Luckily it was unharmed and returned to its original spot the following winter.
Added structure a view of the new bridge from inside Hammond Covered Bridge
Middlebury Vermont is a quaint college town that is home to Vermont’s original marble quarries. The town is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pulp Mill Covered Bridge
The Pulp Mill Covered Bridge was finished in 1820 and built using the double-barrel Burr arch method of construction. Letter K on the map. This bridge has been rebuilt over the years but is on the National Register of Historic Places. It crosses over the Otter Creek where it becomes more of a river. Lastly, the bridge can boast that it is one of only a handful of two-lane bridges across the country.
This is the Otto River that has run under all the bridges in Pittsford and now in Middlebury. The river gets much wider and as you can see has a much stronger current when you arrive in Middlebury. I think if we kayak on the river it will be down in Pittsford where the river is narrower and much more of a lazy river. I can’t imagine going over these falls in a kayak. Scary!
Morgan Horse Farm
Because the girls and I are horse lovers we stopped at the Morgan Horse Farm in Middlebury. Letter L on the map. There were several horses in the different paddocks in addition to a few foals. Ainsley loved being able to pet this foal so much that she named it “Hershey’. The history of the Morgan horse is very interesting and if you have time we recommend stopping for the half-hour tour.
Ferrisburgh up to Shelburne Vermont
Spade Farm ‘Old Hollow’ Covered Bridge
The Spade Farm bridge is located right on Rt. 7 and built in the town truss method. Letter M on the map. It was moved here as a way to save the bridge from being demolished. The bridge now spans the farm pond. It is also next to ‘America’s #1 Flannel Company’, so go in and check out their stuff.
Quinlan’s Covered Bridge
The Quinlan’s Covered Bridge, built in 1849 makes use of the Multi-Kingpost truss & Burr arch method of construction. Letter N on the map. This bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and crosses Lewis creek.
Seguin Covered Bridge
The Seguin Covered Bridge built in the same fashion as the Quinlan bridge has been in use since 1850. Letter O on the map. Recently restored this bridge sits proudly above Lewis Creek.
The other side of the bridge I’d like to know who gets their mail delivered to the bridge?
Holmes Creek Covered Bridge
The Holmes Creek Covered Bridge runs over the Holmes Creek off Lake Champlain in Charolette. Letter P on the map. Built in 1898 the bridge is a Kingpost truss and tied arch construction. I love the openness of the top of this bridge. Holmes Creek was almost dry when we visited but still has one of the most beautiful settings right off Lake Champlain. With a town beach right after the bridge, I suggest spending time here. We paid $6 to park and brought a picnic lunch to enjoy. The girls were as surprised as I was at how warm the lake water is. Being used to ocean water it was a welcome change. In addition just down the road, you can catch the ferry across the lake to New York.
Charolette beach is rocky instead of sandy but the water being so warm and inviting it was hard to leave the beach.
Shelburne Covered Bridge & Museum
The Shelburne Covered Bridge is now pedestrian-only and within the museum grounds right on Rt. 7. Letter Q on the map. This is another two-lane bridge built in 1845 in a modified Burr design. An interesting fact about the length of bridges, the longer the bridge the more the inventor received for their design.
Side trips in the area
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont and only 45 miles south of the Canadian-US border. This is another great college town that has lots of great shopping, and restaurants as well as a thriving art scene. Of course, being right on Lake Champlain and being close to many ski resorts it’s no wonder this city has outdoor activities to enjoy year-round. Making a stop here is well worth your time.
If you go through Waterbury Vermont and enjoy ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s is a must-stop. I for one love their ice cream so it was a necessity for us. You can’t take pictures inside their processing facility but it is a fun time watching the ice cream being made. They also have a short movie to start off your tour and the ‘piéce de résistance’ is the ice cream tasting at the end. Of course, if you collect their memorabilia there is a whole store for you to enjoy.
Green Mountain Cafe & Visitors Center is also in Waterbury. The visitors center and café are located in a restored train station making the setting even more enjoyable. They have interactive displays and videos for you to learn all about their ‘source to cup’ theory of sustainable growing and producing coffee. Enjoy.
Waitsfield and Warren Covered Bridges
Pine Brook Covered Bridge
Pine Brook Covered Bridge was built in 1872 and is constructed using the Kingpin truss method. Letter R on the map. It recently was refurbished to its former glory. The Mad River is quiet and lazy at this crossing.
The Village Bridge or Waitsfield Village Bridge is a Multi-Kingpost and Burr arch construction, built in 1833 it has gone under a revival since Hurricane Irene. Letter S on the map. Look at the picture of the bridge construction: the arch isn’t even. I’m not sure why but I guess it’s still helping to disperse the weight and working just fine. The Mad River is still lazy and quiet as it goes under the bridge that is used frequently by the townspeople. Luckily there is a pedestrian walkway to keep everyone safe. We saw several people swimming in the river and decided it was a good idea. However, unlike Lake Champlain, the river was quite cold even in the heat of summer. Still, it was a refreshing dip.
Lincoln Gap Covered Bridge
The Lincoln Gap Covered Bridge is built in the queen post truss design and was completed in 1880. Letter T on the map. The Mad River is quiet and lazy here but Hurricane Irene did put the bridge out of commission for a year. This is another bridge on the National Register of Historic Places. The interesting thing about this bridge is that the trusses are ‘completely’ (well mostly) covered, inside and out.
Pin for Later
Final Thoughts on the Covered Bridges of Vermont
I hope you enjoyed our trip around Vermont and all the lovely covered bridges we saw. Vermont has the most covered bridges per square mile in the whole country. So there is a lot to explore here. To enjoy the changing leaves along with the covered bridges explore Vermont Vacations and see what else they have to offer.
Have you ever gone on a covered bridge hunt? Are you intrigued by their construction? Do you wonder about the rivers they pass over? Let us know about your adventures with bridges.