The Kinzua Sky Bridge is nestled in the northwest part of Pennsylvania. It’s a great place to visit for a day trip. With many state parks and hiking opportunities nearby, this piece of history has something to offer for all kinds of visitors.
What’s the Kinzua Sky Bridge?
The Kinzua Sky Bridge wasn’t always the Sky Bridge. Constructed in 1882, the Kinzua Bridge was originally a 301 ft. tall and 2052 ft. long railway. Its capability to cross the valley and transport goods meant it was an essential viaduct for the area.
Kinzua was once the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world. It was initially built using wrought iron and rebuilt using steel in 1900. When first built, not only was it one of the highest and longest railroad viaducts in the world but it was also called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
As it aged, repairs and restoration were necessary to return the structure’s integrity. In 2002, the repairs began. Unfortunately, 18 years ago, on July 3, 2003, a tornado’s winds caused the collapse of nearly all of the viaduct’s towers.
Sadly, it was too expensive to repair the then-defunct viaduct. So instead, the sky bridge was born.
So, what’s this Kinzua Sky Bridge?
The area around Kinzua has long been something of an attraction. The bridge and its surrounding area were purchased in 1963 and converted into a state park. Sightseeing tours and travel continued until the early 2000s, when the tracks’ condition deteriorated.
After the state decided that the repairs required due to the tornado weren’t going to move forward, the remaining towers were transformed into an incredible pedestrian bridge.
Visitors can walk out 600 feet on the bridge. The bridge was created using the old train tracks, so you feel like you’re walking out across the valley.
Even more exciting is that near the end of the lookout, a floor piece is swapped out for clear glass. As a result, visitors can look down directly below the bridge and see how nature has taken over.
Don’t miss an opportunity to snap some photos of the train tracks and the fallen railroad towers! They’re a sight not to miss.
Once back on the ground, take a walk under the bridge for another photo opportunity, like these below.
Before you venture out onto the bridge, you can learn its history and its importance. With an interactive exhibit that’s great for children and adults alike, you will surely learn lots.
There are also several hiking trails, including some around the fallen towers. So if you’re feeling outdoorsy, give them a go! It was awesome to see how large the tower bases were compared to the people climbing on them.
If you’re not feeling like a hike, you can rent picnic tables for a more subdued time in nature. I can’t wait to go back in the fall and see the changing leaves. GORGEOUS!
The best part?
It isn’t the views. It’s that anyone can visit the walkway, any day of the year, for free. Thanks to its designation as a state park!
Don’t forget to bring your state park book for your stamp! If you don’t have a state park book, you can purchase one for $10 in the gift shop. The visitor center’s ground floor houses the gift shop. It is easily accessible on the walk back to the parking lot from the bridge.
If you forget your state park book and don’t want to buy another one, don’t worry! You can request a stamp as a sticker or can call the office at a later time. They will mail you a sticker for free.
If you’re lucky, like I was, you will get stamps for other local state parks. These stamps are given at the Kinzua office because there aren’t offices at the parks with workers to stamp your book.
Feel free to explore the area, including hiking on the fallen legs, setting up a picnic, or fishing in the Kinzua River. An indoor exhibit also allows for background info about the viaduct. It’s an interactive exhibit great for kids! ✨
I want to hear from YOU!
Have you been to Kinzua Sky Bridge? If not, would you walk out onto the bridge?
Until my next adventure,
Read about more about beautiful nature areas with my Short Guide to Switzerland.