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4.07.2019

Northwestern Bedford County Covered Bridges

Northwestern Bedford County is home to a series of awesome covered bridges. Five of the county's 14 covered bridges are within a 15 minute drive of each other, with four of those crossing Dunning's Creek, with all of them being absolutely gorgeous.
Our first stop is at Cuppett's Covered Bridge in New Paris. This covered bridge is just a short drive from Gravity Hill and the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, making it a wonderful place to check out.
Cuppett's/New Paris Covered Bridge:
Built in 1882 
Crosses Dunnings Creek
Burr Truss Construction
96 feet long by 12 feet wide
Coordinates:
40.116, -78.64
Through the years as wood has been replaced, they have opted to go with a rustic wood look instead of repainting it the traditional white and red of Bedford County. It is a pedestrian bridge now, located just to the side of the road that bypassed it, Route 96.
Ryot Covered Bridge
Built in 1868 
Crosses Dunnings Creek
Burr Truss Construction
Coordinates:
40.142222, -78.625
This bridge is in pristine shape and open to vehicular traffic, but this is thanks to a community effort to rebuild the bridge in 2002 after some knuckleheads tried to get their jollies through arson. Renovation just a few years prior to reinforce the bridge had remained intact, so they were able to easily repair the bridge. It is a shame that efforts like this have to be undertaken though.
The bridge is surrounded by farmland, forest, and a mountain, on top of its creek setting. It is an absolute beauty.

Dr. Knisley Covered Bridge
Built in 1867
Crosses Dunnings Creek
Burr Truss Construction
Coordinates:
40.16, -78.602222
While this bridge is privately owned, it is impeccably maintained. My first reaction after seeing this was that I am glad that this bridge has retained its original Burr Truss construction style. Even if this means that the bridge cannot handle normal daily traffic, the bridge retains its original integrity. Many bridges are often reinforced, which is a nice thing in keeping the bridges in the community and an eye upon the heritage of the bridges, but it is nice to see bridges that retain their original integrity. The downside to this is that the bridges require more maintenance to preserve them without steel reinforcements, and this is especially difficult if the bridge is privately owned and funding is limited for preservation. A fine case in contrast with this beautiful covered bridge is the Felton Covered Bridge on the other side of the county, which has received zero maintenance and appears to be on the verge of collapse. I am happy to report that the Dr. Knisley Bridge is in excellent shape with authentic structural integrity.
The property that the bridge sits on seems to be the pride and joy of the owner. The area immediately surrounding the bridge is a beautiful grove of trees. There are quaint farm fields just beyond the treeline. 

Snooks Covered Bridge
Built in 1880
Crosses Dunnings Creek
Burr Truss Construction
Coordinates:
40.169167, -78.58
Snooks has a very similar appearance to the nearby Ryot Covered Bridge. It is a beautiful span that is maintained by Bedford County.


Bowser Covered Bridge
Built in 1890 
Crosses Bob's Creek
Burr Truss Construction
Coordinates:
40.176944, -78.541667
We finish at Bowser Covered Bridge. This has always been one of my favorite covered bridges in the state. This is a great place to launch off to Blue Knob State Park, home to the second tallest mountain in Pennsylvania, with tremendous views, hikes, and the ski area with the second highest elevation change in the state. For more information, check out this article from a prior visit.
Overall, Bedford County is a wonderful place to check out covered bridges. Northwestern Bedford County is home to a series of great spans that are located very close to each other. We highly recommend checking them out.

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