By Amy Bayer
Spanning rivers and ravines, these Wisconsin bridges have unique characteristics that will make you want to stop and take a photo. It's time to go exploring and see for yourselves. How many of these unique bridges have you walked across?
1. Soo Line "S" Bridge –
Located in the Banbury neighborhood
of Eau Claire, this former railroad bridge over the Eau Claire River is appropriately named, as it curves into an "S" shape. The bridge was specifically designed as an S to connect railroad tracks running parallel on either side of the river without using the sharp turns of a linear bridge. Now a part of Wisconsin's Rails-to-Trails program, is was converted to part of the Chippewa River State Trail in 2002.
2. Glen Park Swinging Bridge – River Falls
Connecting River Falls' oldest park to downtown, this suspension bridge spans the South Fork rapids of the Kinnickinnic River. It is a replica of a swinging bridge built in 1925 on the site of the former Cascade Mill and dam. Below the landmark is a beloved fishing spot among locals.
3. Covered Bridge (originally "Red Bridge") – Cedarburg
Built in 1876 over Cedar Creek, this fabulous relic is one of the last original covered bridges in Wisconsin. Originally known as the "Red Bridge," it's located in Covered Bridge Park and is open to pedestrian traffic. The serene setting along the creek is a perfect spot for a picnic.
4. Fox Cities Trestle Trail Pedestrian Bridge – Menasha
The Trestle Trail Bridge spans Little Lake Butte des Morts, from Fritse Park in the Town of Menasha to the City of Menasha. Open year-round, the 1,600-foot-long, lighted pedestrian bridge is the longest in Wisconsin and includes a center pavilion area with seating, as well as several fishing platforms along the way. Officially opened in 2005, the trail is popular with both local residents and visitors to the Fox Cities.
5. Palm Tree Road Bridge –
Locally known as the "Old River Bridge," the Palm Tree Road Bridge is a unique example of stone arch bridges in Wisconsin. It contains the largest number of spans of any surviving stone arch bridge in the state – nine! The bridge, which spans the Sheboygan River, is next to Riverside Park, a small oasis with picnic tables and several excellent views of this remarkable structure.
6. Smith Rapids Covered Bridge – Fifield
The Smith Rapids Covered Bridge has a Town Lattice design, which creates an eye-catching diamond pattern. Constructed in 1991, the bridge passes over the South Fork of the Flambeau River, a popular destination for canoers and kayakers. The bridge's latticework creates an excellent scenic backdrop.
7. Pamperin Park Footbridge – Green Bay
This small but stunning suspension bridge crossing Duck Creek is the perfect location to take photos.
Both ends have picturesque stone towers, constructed as a direct result
of Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression. Located nearby in the park are a gazebo and dance hall that are popular event venues.
8. Bridge of Pines ("Rumbly" Bridge) – Chippewa Falls
Crossing a deep ravine in Irvine Park, this bridge originally was built in 1907 and then altered and moved in 1913.
Its unique deck construction caused a "rumbly" sound when vehicles passed over – providing the bridge its nickname. Since 1981, it has only been open to pedestrians and cyclists, but locals still remember the unique noise it made when cars were allowed.
9. McGilvray Road Bridges – New Amsterdam
Originally designed to shorten the route between La Crosse and Trempealeau counties, McGilvray Road and its historic bridges were constructed over the swampy backwater of the Black River. Now part of the Van Loon Wildlife Area, it is known as the 7 Bridges Trail. Five of the original bridges remain, one has been replaced, and the seventh bridge no longer exists. Enjoy a picturesque hike through the wildlife area to see these historic structures.
10. Gilman Swinging Bridge – Gilman
This suspended cable bridge is one of the last true swinging bridges in the state. Located in the Gilman Village Park, the 100-year-old pedestrian bridge crosses the Yellow River.
While stopping in Gilman, be sure to visit all five of the community's bridges.
11. Manchester Street Bridge – Baraboo
Constructed in 1884, the Manchester Street Bridge is a former road bridge that was relocated to Ochsner Park as
a pedestrian bridge in 1988. It is the
last remaining camelback truss in Wisconsin. The 26-acre park houses a free zoo and large picnic shelter, and also is home to a section of the Ice Age Scenic Trail, making it a great destination to explore along the shores of the Baraboo River.
Can't get enough architecture? Check out Wisconsin's seven man-made wonders, and our architecture directory for more marvels.