Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio is one of the most popular destinations in the state, and for good reason. With plentiful hiking trails and gorgeous natural attractions, it’s an ideal location for singles, couples, and families to get outdoors, unplug and recharge.
My husband and I make it a point to visit the area at least once a year and we always discover something new. We’ve taken a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and learned some of the mining history of the area, sought out some fun and unusual attractions, and slept in properties fit for a king. On our most recent visit, we decided to take more backroads than usual in search of covered bridges near the small town of McArthur.
Thanks to Google, we discovered there are four remaining covered bridges in Vinton County. One, the Ponn Bridge, a.k.a. the Humpback Bridge, was unfortunately destroyed by arson in 2013. The longest covered bridge and only one still open to vehicle traffic in the county, the Arbaugh Bridge, was a bit further south than we wanted to explore, so we put three covered bridges on our list and set out to find them.
The Mt. Olive Bridge
The first bridge on our list was the Mt. Olive Bridge, was built in 1875. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this covered bridge is a covered Queen post through truss style. This type of construction is used for longer bridges- up to 80 feet in length. There is an area at the intersection of Mt. Olive and Goose Creek Roads where you can stop, park your car, get out and take a few photos and walk through the bridge.
Directions to Mt. Olive Bridge
From downtown McArthur, follow St. Rt. 50 West just over four miles to Mt. Olive Road. Turn right on Mt. Olive and follow for 1.3 miles until you reach Goose Creek Road. There’s no way you’ll miss the bridge on the right.
The Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge was built in 1876. It once rested over Little Raccoon Creek, but was moved to the Vinton County Fairgrounds in 1967. Today, the 63-foot long multiple Kingpost truss bridge is open to pedestrians. It is visible from State Route 93 North when the fairgrounds are closed.
Directions to the Bay Bridge from Mt. Olive Bridge
To reach the Bay Bridge, turn around and follow Mt. Olive Road back to State Route 50 West. Turn left and follow 50 (East Main Street) to the square. Turn left on State Route 93 North (North Market Street) and follow for about one mile. The fairgrounds sit on the left.
The Cox Bridge
The Cox Bridge, built in 1884, is a Queen post through truss style Bridge that is 46-feet long. It does not rest at its original location, but its close. It was moved several feet to make way for a new bridge. You’ll find a small picnic area and pull-off sufficient for two or more vehicles alongside the road.
Directions to the Cox Bridge from the Bay Bridge
Continue on State Route 93 North for 7-8 miles to Woodgeard Road (next road after Schurtz Road). Turn left and you’ll see the bridge.
Of course, you can reverse these directions and save yourself some backtracking, but my husband and I started our hunt in McArthur. Don’t forget about Arbaugh Bridge, we didn’t have have time for it on our visit, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss it.
Have you seen the covered bridges in Vinton County?