At one time, there were over 50 covered bridges scattered throughout the countryside of Washington County. Grab a friend, grab a loved one, or just a relaxing drive by yourself to discover the nine remaining covered bridges and soak in some of the history that has been preserved in these beautiful pieces of work.
Treat yourself to a self-guided tour starting in Waterford, Ohio. I followed the directions on the CVB website, though I made a few adjustments.
Directions to Waterford, Ohio:
From Marietta– Take Washington Street across the Washington Street Bridge and follow the signs to State Route 676. This route will take you through Churchtown as you pass the beautiful and historic St. John’s Baptist Church (built in 1866). Take a right where SR 676 meets with 339 to Beverly.
From Parkersburg- Take Route 50 West towards Athens and cross the Blennerhassett Island Bridge. Keep left toward Athens/Pomeroy and take the first exit off the exit ramp and turn right on to 339 towards Beverly.
Bridge #1. After you pass the 15 mile marker on 339, you’ll turn left onto Camp Hervida Road (Township Road 108). Continue approximately .5 mile to find The HARRA COVERED BRIDGE (c. 1871) on your right. You can pull off in front of, or behind the bridge.
Bridge #2. Return to 339 and turn right. Follow 339 about 5 and a half miles to TWP RD 39 (Bell Road). Stay on Bell Road and you will run into/cross the BELL COVERED BRIDGE (c.1888).
Bridge #3. Continue on TWP 39. Bear left, and you will see the Murdoch Cemetery on your right. Turn left onto ST RT 676. Proceed 1.2 miles and turn left onto CO RD 6 (Brownrigg RD). Take the first road to the right CO RD 18 (Oak Hill Road) and travel 2.3 miles to TWP RD 570 (Shinn Road). About 1 and a half miles down a gravel road is The SHINN COVERED BRIDGE (c.1886).
Bridge #4. Return to CO RD 18 and turn right. Turn right at the intersection with ST RT 550. Go approximately 2 miles to TWP RD 61 (Clark Road) and turn left. Keep following this road and about 1 mile North of ST RT 555 you’ll find the HENRY COVERED BRIDGE.
Bridge #5. Continue on TWP RD 61 to ST RT 555, turn left passing through Cutler. About 4.4 miles from Cutler, turn left on CO RD 6 (Burnett RD) and you will find the ROOT COVERED BRIDGE (c.1888).
Bridge #6. Return to 555 and take a left. Then turn left on CO RD 3 (Veto Road). Travel CO RD 3 to Veto, taking a left onto 339 at Barlow. At the Barlow crossroads is the fairgrounds where you’ll find the MILL BRANCH COVERED BRIDGE (c.1832).
Return to Marietta via ST RT 550 to discover the remaining 3 bridges.
You’ll find the last three bridges by way of the Wayne National Forest Scenic By-Way.
Bridge #7. Leaving Marietta by the intersection of Greene and Seventh Streets, follow Greene Street into ST RT 26. Keep straight onto ST RT 26 North and pass Broughton Foods Co. Go 6.2 miles and turn right on CO RD 333 (Hills Bridge Road) Not even a mile out 333, you should come to the Hills Covered Bridge on your left. (also known as Hildreth Covered Bridge c..1881). You’ll have to be careful as there is no real place to park at the bridge. I pulled off at the next little gravel road to the right and turned my flashers on to walk across the road.
Bridge #8 Return to ST RT 26 and turn right. Drive 12 miles through Moss Run and Dart and pass Lawrence Baptist Church and Cemetery. Approximately 2 miles past the church, turn onto TWP RD 921 (Duff Road) where you’ll find the Hune Covered Bridge (c.1877) keeping watch over the Wayne National Forest canoe access.
Bridge #9 Return to ST RT 26 and turn right. Continue another 2-3 miles north just off of ST RT 26 turn right on CO RD 406 (Tice Run Road). You’ll find The Rinard Covered Bridge. This bridge was destroyed in a flood on September 19, 2004, but was rebuilt and re-dedicated on October 21, 2006.
Covered bridges are beautiful to look at and photograph, but there are actually many purposes to the covering of these bridges. Covering and enclosing the bridges kept animals from getting scared and leaving the underlying waterways. Covering the wood and the joints of the bridge kept the water from making the bridge less solid. The raised tracks on the floor of the bridge helped to keep water off the main path of traffic.
If you enjoyed yourself touring the Covered Bridges of Washington County, there are plenty of other covered bridges all around the neighboring counties and throughout the state of Ohio. If you exhaust those bridges, I’m sure there are plenty around the rest of the country to discover!
Brittany Fox is a Parkersburg, WV native who currently resides in Waterford, OH. She loves traveling, attending concerts, and is actually a competitive singer herself. Brittany also loves fishing, dirt track racing, and photography.
Photography by Brittany Fox of Foxxie Photography