Kinzua Sky Walk, Kinzua State Park, Pennsylvania

The bridge, October 2002

The bridge, October 2002

The Kinzua Bridge is no longer there, but it is worth visiting.  Before I started writing this blog, before I had a digital camera and before I kept digital records of my photos, we visited the Kinzua Bridge in Pennsylvania. But a 21 July 2003 tornado destroyed the 121 year-old bridge. Fortunately I kept prints of those old photos.

Built in 1882, it was the highest and longest trestle bridge in the world.  It was 300 feet from the ground to the deck and 305 feet to the rails. 125 men took just 94 days to build it using the latest technology of the time.  Almost 2100 feet long, it was constructed of iron. In 1900, the iron was replaced with steel using 894,729 rivets and 37 miles of rivet rods. In 2002, it was still the fourth-highest bridge in the world.  The bridge handled rail traffic until 1959 when it was sold to the State and became the central attraction of a Pennsylvania State Park.  A summer tourist train ran across it from 1987 to 2002.  Then the 2003 tornado swept through the valley taking just thirty seconds to bring down 11 of the bridge’s 20 towers.

I-95 is boring and was closed by flooding in South Carolina in 2015 when we wanted to return from New York to Florida.  So instead, we drove a portion of U.S. 6 west across the top of Pennsylvania and found ourselves in Bradford for a couple days.  One day we drove through the beautiful countryside and revisited the bridge.  Coincidentally, when I looked at the 2002 pictures today, I learned our October 2015 visit was exactly thirteen years to the day after our first visit.

Faced with a $45 million dollar bill to reconstruct the bridge, the State opted instead to build a 600-foot skywalk over the portion that remained.  At the time of our October 2015 visit, they also were building a new visitors center.

2015 from the "skywalk"

2015 from the “skywalk”

It is an attractive 339-acre park with picnic facilities and hiking trails as well as the bridge.  I encourage you to visit it.

But I am very grateful we saw the bridge intact.

 Click on photos to enlarge.


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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6 Responses to Kinzua Sky Walk, Kinzua State Park, Pennsylvania

  1. That last photo is almost ghost like.


  2. marlainpa says:

    I live in eastern Pennsylvania and never heard of this bridge. I am looking forward to visiting it sometime in the future. I loved your story and the photos.


  3. Keith & Loraine says:

    Very interesting. one kind of forgets where and when the weather has impacted different places and the end results. Really looks good and again, thanks for the history lesson. Love you both. Loraine


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