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The Kinzua Bridge, a former railway bridge of the Erie Railroad in McKean County, Pennsylvania, USA, which collapsed in 2003 due to a tornado

Located in the picturesque Allegheny National Forest region of Pennsylvania, Kinzua Bridge State Park accommodates one of the most unique attractions in the state: the Kinzua Viaduct.

This historic railroad bridge, once the longest and tallest in the world, suffered significant damage when a tornado hit in 2003. But it has since been rebuilt and transformed into a breathtaking pedestrian walkway, offering panoramic views of the surrounding forest and the Kinzua Creek Valley below.

In addition to the viaduct, this PA state park boasts over 600 acres of forested land, a visitors’ center, and numerous hiking trails, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Visitors can explore the remains of the original bridge and learn about its history, take a guided tour of the park, or simply take in its stunning scenery from various overlooks.

Activities

Those who decide to visit the park can partake in a small range of leisurely outdoor activities during the time they spend there.

Presented below is an overview of the most popular recreational activities you can enjoy at Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Kinzua Viaduct at Kinzua Bridge State Park

The Kinzua Viaduct, is a historic and engineering marvel that once held the title of the world’s tallest and longest railroad structure. It was originally built in 1882 to transport coal and timber from the surrounding areas to cities throughout the country.

In 1900, the viaduct was rebuilt with steel to increase its strength and length. At its peak, the structure was 301 feet tall and 2,053 feet long, and it was used until 1959 when it was retired.

Sadly, a tornado destroyed a large portion of the viaduct in 2003. Though a part of the bridge was preserved and turned into a pedestrian walkway with a glass-bottomed observation deck.

Today, visitors can take a walk across the Kinzua Sky Walk, learning about the history of the viaduct and enjoying stunning views of the surrounding forest and valley below.

Hiking at Kinzua Bridge State Park

Hiking at Kinzua Bridge State Park is a must-do activity for any nature lover.

The park has an extensive trail system that covers over 4,000 acres of forested land. Allowing visitors to explore its diverse terrain of scenic overlooks, deep valleys, and towering old-growth forests.

One of the park’s most popular hiking trails is the Kinzua Creek Trail, which follows the creek for nearly two miles and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Another regularly tackled trail is the Rimrock Trail, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Kinzua Bridge and the surrounding mountains.

Throughout the year, the park also hosts guided hikes led by knowledgeable rangers, which provide a fascinating unique insight into the park’s history and ecology.

Picnicking at Kinzua Bridge State Park

The park is an ideal destination for picnickers looking for a relaxing outdoor experience.

Dotted throughout the park are several picnic areas, including the main picnic area which is located near the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk. These areas offer picnic tables, grills, and plenty of open space for families and groups to gather and enjoy a meal while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.

For those looking for a more private experience, there are several secluded picnic areas located along the trails within the park.

If you do indulge in a picnic at the park, the drinking of alcoholic beverages is strictly permitted.

Birding at Kinzua Bridge State Park

Kinzua Bridge State Park is not only a stunning engineering marvel, but it also provides an excellent opportunity for birding enthusiasts.

Those who visit the park can explore its trails to spot different species of birds, such as woodpeckers, warblers, and raptors.

Some of the popular bird watching spots at the park include the Kinzua Creek Trail, the General Kane Trail, and the Kinzua Skywalk. The park is also home to a bird feeding station that attracts a variety of bird species, providing visitors with an up-close and personal bird watching experience.

In addition to this, the park also hosts guided birding walks where visitors can learn about bird identification and behavior from expert naturalists.

Pets

You are welcome to bring your four-legged friend to Kinzua Bridge State Park. However, you will need to follow the rules and regulations of the park as outlined in its pet policy.

This involves keeping your pet restrained on a hand held leash at all times and ensuring they are well behaved.

Additionally, while pets are not allowed in the park’s Visitor Center or the Kinzua Sky Walk, they are welcome on the hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping sites.

For a full rundown of the park’s pet policy you should get in touch with the staff manning the main office.

Camping

While the park does not have its own camping facilities, there are several campgrounds near Kinzua Bridge State Park that offer comfortable and convenient accommodation options for visitors.

One popular choice is the Willow Bay Recreation Area, which is located just a few miles from the park and offers a range of campsites, including electric and non-electric sites.

Another is the Dewdrop Campground in the nearby town of Kane. It features tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and a swimming pool.

Alternatively, The Bucktail Camping Resort offers RV and tent sites, as well as cabins and a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, mini-golf course, and playground.

With their scenic surroundings and modern facilities, these campgrounds all offer an ideal base for exploring the park and the general beauty of this area of Pennsylvania.

Park Location

Kinzua Bridge State Park
296 Viaduct Rd
Mt Jewett, PA 16740
Phone: 814.778.5467

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Kinzua Bridge State Park: