We didn’t even know we were into covered bridges until we started seeing them on or weekend road trips around Oregon. They just look neat; they’re photogenic and nostalgic, and we appreciate their history, making them a sought after subject for our travel shots. I swear there was a classic school picture backdrop that featured a covered-bridge-in-fall-foliage background—remember, that one in your kindergarten headshot? Depending what list you’re reading, there could be as many as 56 covered bridges sprinkled throughout the state of Oregon; our goal is to see them all. Some bridges are dilapidated, many have been restored, a few seem decorative rather than practical, but most remain structurally sound and are still open to foot traffic and vehicles.
On a lovely sunny and warm Sunday in February, we set out on our bridge journey. At this point we’d probably seen five or so covered bridges in Oregon, but on this day our objective was to visit as many as possible. We began our tour at the Centennial Bridge, built in 1987 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cottage Grove. The quiet Oregon town, dubbed the covered bridge capital of the West, is located two hours south of Portland in Lane County. If you’re looking to get the biggest bang-for-your-buck in bridges, Lane County is home to 20, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bonus for all you bridge-loving cyclists out there, Cottage Grove is also the start and finish point for the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway, a 36-mile paved loop path featuring six bridges.
Only a day-trip from Portland, we were able to visit 16 covered bridges before sunset, most of which are featured below in pictures. Although that’s a TON of bridges for one day, we still have plenty to see! If you’re looking for something new to do on a nice day, any time if the year, we definitely recommended an Oregon covered bridge tour.