Ashtabula County, Ohio Covered Bridge Ride

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I know there are a lot of people who are really interested in covered bridges.  I have to admit that I am not one of them, but I sure do love riding motorcycles.  Last weekend I was trying to dream up some kind of an excuse to ride my motorcycle when I decided I would ride to each of the covered bridges in Ashtabula.

Click here for a GPX file with all the waypoints.

GPS makes attempting such a thing pretty simple.  I simply downloaded a file of waypoints for each of the bridges and told the GPS to route me to each one of them.  I know a lot of people say that a GPS takes away the freedom of riding a motorcycle, but I think it does just the opposite.  I think it gives complete freedom when you are riding.  It would be so much more work to do a ride like this without a GPS.  With the GPS all you do is enjoy the ride and you don’t have to worry one bit where the next turn might be.

Windsor Mills Bridge

My first stop on the trip was the Windsor Mills Bridge.  I think it is one of the nicest bridges in the county.  It has a very nice wood inlay on the front and back and appears as if great pains were taken to make this an attractive bridge.  The bridge was built in 1867, and then it was rebuilt on opened for traffic again in early 2004. The supports are made from sandstone that was taken from a nearby quarry, and from stone right out of the river it goes over. Here is the location of the Windsor Mills Bridge: View Map

Riverdale Road Bridge

My next stop was the Riverdale Road Bridge. This bridge is really starting to show signs of its age.  This one was built in 1847 and was rebuilt in 1981. Here is the location of the Riverdale Road Bridge: View Map

This is the type of road you will find if you take the tour

If you are not comfortable riding on dirt or gravel roads, you probably should not attempt to see all these bridges.  You will ride many miles on roads like these if you do take the bridge tour.  As far as dirt roads go, they were all in very excellent condition and I had no problem at all riding comfortably at 50mph on these roads.  If you are the type of person who does not like to see his motorcycle get dirty you should probably avoid it as well.  By the end my bike was totally covered in dirt.

Harpersfield Bridge

My next stop was the crown jewel of all the bridges in Ashtabula, the Harpersfield Bridge.  The bridge itself is quite nice, but it is also surrounded by a spectacular park.  A great place for picnicking, swimming, or fishing.  This bridge was built in 1868 and the steel section was added in 1913 after a flood washed out the north end of the bridge and altered the river channel.

If you are only going to see one bridge, this is the one I would recommend.  If you are making a day of it this would also be a great place for your midpoint.  Pack a lunch and hang out for an hour or two here.

Here is a map to the Harpersfield Bridge:

View Map

Mechanicsville Road Bridge

My next stop was the Mechanicsville Road Bridge.  Personally, I found this one quite unattractive.  This one was built in 1867 and is believed to be the oldest one in Ashtabula.  Across the street from this one is a great bar that serves some very excellent food, so this would also be a good place to take a break during your tour.

Here is a map to the Mechanicsville Road Bridge:

View Map

Doyle Road Bridge

This bridge was built in 1868.  In 1987 it was renovated and a laminated arch was added.

Several of these bridges feature a laminated arch and I think they are very interesting.  It seems like a more honest way to provide support for the bridge than to run a bunch of steel underneath it.

Here is a map to the Doyle Road Bridge:

View Map

Netcher Road Bridge

Next up was the Netcher Road Bridge.  This is one of the newest bridges in the county as it was built in 1998.  It also features a laminated arch and the walls are inverted Haupt style.

Here is a map to the Netcher Road Bridge:
View Map

Giddings Road Bridge

The Giddings Road Bridge, built in 1995 was my next stop.

Here is a map to the Giddings Road Bridge:

View Map

Olin Bridge

The Olin bridge was named after a family that has owned the land next to the bridge since it was built in 1873.  This was also one of my favorites because it was in a very scenic and peaceful area.

Covered bridge museum

The Olins Museum of Covered bridges is just past the Olin bridge, but they had a sign in the window that said closed the day I was there.  I don’t know what the hours are that they are open, but it might be an interesting place to visit if you are interested in learning more about the bridges.

Here is a map to the Olin Bridge:

View Map

Benetka Road Bridge

Another laminated arch bridge, this one was built in 1900 and renovated in 1985.

Here is a map to the Benetka Bridge:

View Map

State Road Bridge

This one was built of southern pine and oak in 1983.

Here is a map to the State Road Bridge:

View Map

I had got a fairly late start for the ride, so I was beginning to run out of daylight.  To make matters worse, somebody was borrowing my camera and the camera I was using did not work nearly as well in low light, so I needed to pick up the pace if I was going to hit all the bridges before it got dark.

Creek Road Bridge

Nobody knows when the Creek Road bridge was built, but it was renovated in 1994.

Here is a map to the Creek Road Bridge:

View Map

Middle Road Bridge

Middle Road Bridge, built in 1868 and renovated in 1984.

Here is a map to the Middle Road Bridge:

View Map

Root Road Bridge

The Root Road Bridge was built in 1868 and rebuilt in 1983.

Here is a map to the Root Road Bridge.

View Map

Graham Road Bridge

With time running out on me, the Graham Road Bridge was a bummer.  You can’t even drive through this one!  It was washed downstream during the 1913 flood and it was rebuilt from the remains in this field alongside the road.

Here is a map to the Graham Road Bridge:

View Map

Caine Road Bridge

This is the first Pratt truss bridge built in Ohio.  The Caine Road Bridge was built in 1986 to celebrate Ashtabula Countys 175th anniversary.

Here is a map to the Caine Road Bridge:

View Map

Unfortunately for me, this would be the last bridge I could see because it was getting too dark for the camera to get a good picture.  I still did pretty well considering I had not even left home until after 1:00.  The only bridge I missed was the South Denmark Road Bridge and I plan on doing this again in the fall when the leaves change!

I highly recommend this ride for anybody.  Even if you don’t care about the bridges there is some very nice motorcycle riding involved in getting to each of them.  I guarantee you will not be disapointed if you spend the day searching these bridges down!

13 comments on “Ashtabula County, Ohio Covered Bridge Ride

  1. Great job on your blog and write up of you covered bridge ride.

  2. Tank,
    Great write up – I hope to join you in the fall tour.
    BTW, your bike is always dirty – LOL

  3. Thanks guys!

    I hope you both come along when I do this in the fall!

  4. I found this site while searching for info about the new bridge and the 2008 festival. I really enjoyed this especially since I was born and raised in that area and moved away in 1983 before they started the covered bridge festival. I have always loved them and especially like the one in Girard, Pa. My cousin, Don Watson, made the video about the construction of the new bridge # 17 and my nephew helped to build it. I have lived in the south for many years and miss those beautiful country roads of Ohio and Pa. My son loves to ride motorcycles and I am sure will find this interesting. I noticed the advertisement for Deals Gap in Tennessee and my son rides his Busa there quite often. That is quite a trip for motorcycles.

    Thanks again, great job,

    Debbie of Dalton, Ga

  5. Thanks for the kind words Debbie! I am glad you enjoyed the writeup!

    I go to Deals Gap quite a bit, maybe some time I will run into your son down there!

  6. Ashtabula County is now the proud owner of the longest wooden covered bridge in the USA. The 613′ Smolen-Gulf Bridge was dedicated on August 26, 2008. The roadway wasn’t finished when the bridge was so the actual opening of the road was October 7. This bridge is built on another State Road in Ashtabula County. This State Road is on the border of Ashtabula township & Plymouth township. I have posted an number of videos on YouTube showing the construction progress while the bridge was being built. Yesterday I had my co-worker take me through the bridge on his bike. I made this video out of that ride: . The setting sun made videotaping a challenge but I think it is worth a look. This bridge is on a paved road and not far from I90 & State Route 11. If you need a place to go, put this one on your list.

  7. Thanks for the link to the videos Don!

    I am going to try to make time to get up there and see this new bridge before the snow flies!

  8. how is the lap joint at the top and bottom chord fastened, what is the longest section of timber used there

    tnanks for the help, i am building a sumilar structure

    • You have to keep in mind that I am just a simple biker. I am not actually a fan of covered bridges, I just need some kind of excuse to ride my motorcycle. I wish I could help you out, but I don’t even know what a lap joint is!

  9. Hi Tank,

    I recently found your site and enjoyed the information and pictures. My wife and I will have some friends from Tennessee visiting in October and would like to take them on your ride. I purchased a GPS for a canadian trip and it sure makes travel a lot easier. Any chance you could send us the waypoints you used to find these bridges?
    Thanks for sharing your rides with all of us.


  10. Here is a link to a GPX file with waypoints for all the bridges:

  11. Very interesting and nice bike! We are visiting the US in the Fall and hope to see covered bridges as we tour around, with Cleveland as a base for a few days.
    Thanks for this

  12. Hey Tank!
    When is this fall tour of the covered bridges. I live in Cleveland and don’t have a GPS. So I gues I print out all the maps of the bridges Lol. How long does this trip take? Do I need to start out early?

    Thanks for your help. I’ve been a rider for about a year and enjoy every minute. Our friends are always looking for a place to go.


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