Michigan is home to some of the most picturesque covered bridges in the country. These iconic structures provide a glimpse into the state’s history and offer a unique and charming backdrop for any road trip. Join us on a virtual journey of the covered bridges in Michigan and discover the beauty and history of these beloved landmarks.
What We Will Cover
Ackley Covered Bridge in Greenfield Village, Dearborn Michigan
The Ackley Covered Bridge, situated in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan, is a historic covered bridge constructed in 1832. Originally spanning the Enlow Fork of Wheeling Creek in southwestern Pennsylvania, it was named after the Ackley family, who owned the land where the bridge was built. This remarkable structure embodies the architectural style of covered bridges prevalent in the United States during the 19th century.
Measuring 75 feet in length, the Ackley Covered Bridge boasts a Burr arch-truss design, a common choice for covered bridges in the United States. The amalgamation of the arch and truss grants strength and flexibility, enabling the bridge to support heavy loads while withstanding nature’s forces. The covering was explicitly designed to shield the wooden structure from the elements, thus extending its lifespan.
In 1937, Henry Ford acquired the Ackley Covered Bridge, meticulously disassembling, transporting, and reassembling it within Greenfield Village—an open-air living history museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Opening its doors in 1929, the village forms part of The Henry Ford Museum complex, one of the nation’s largest indoor and outdoor historical museums.
Today, the Ackley Covered Bridge stands among numerous historical structures in Greenfield Village, which features over 80 historic buildings relocated from their original sites to preserve and showcase America’s rich history. Visitors can meander through the village, immersing themselves in the experience of life across various eras, from the country’s early days to the mid-20th century.
Ada Covered Bridge in Kent County, Michigan
The Ada Covered Bridge, a historic landmark in Ada Township, Kent County, Michigan, was constructed in 1867 and spanned the Thornapple River. This iconic bridge is a popular attraction in the community and an integral part of the region’s history.
Stretching 125 feet in length, the Ada Covered Bridge boasts a Brown truss design, patented by Josiah Brown in 1857. This unique design combines vertical and diagonal timbers, creating a sturdy and rigid structure. In addition, the covered aspect of the bridge protects the wooden elements from the elements, prolonging its lifespan.
The bridge’s eye-catching red paint, gable roof, and white trim contribute to its picturesque appeal. It also features a pedestrian walkway on one side, allowing visitors to appreciate the scenic surroundings while strolling along the river. As one of only nine historic covered bridges in Michigan, the Ada Covered Bridge is a cherished part of the state’s heritage.
Over the years, the Ada Covered Bridge has undergone several restorations to preserve its structural integrity and appearance. In 1941, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and designated a pedestrian-only crossing. Recognizing its historical and architectural significance, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Today, the Ada Covered Bridge remains a popular attraction for locals and visitors. Surrounded by a tranquil park, it provides an idyllic setting for picnics, strolls, and the Thornapple River’s beauty. Additionally, photographers and artists often frequent the bridge, eager to capture its undeniable charm.
Augusta Covered Bridge in Kalamazoo County, Michigan
The covered bridge in Augusta, Michigan, is nestled within the W.K. Kellogg Forest, an experimental research property managed by Michigan State University. Open to the public for various recreational activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, the Augusta covered bridge offers a picturesque entry point to the forest constructed in 1973.
This enchanting bridge is adorned with shuttered windows on both sides, inviting visitors to take in the captivating views of the stream below from multiple perspectives. As a popular photography spot, the bridge is a notable landmark within the W.K. Kellogg Forest.
Spanning approximately 716 acres, the W.K. Kellogg Forest is devoted to research, education, and demonstration projects related to forestry, wildlife, and natural resource management. Providing an invaluable educational resource for students, researchers, and the public, the forest showcases sustainable forest management practices and functions as a living laboratory. Through its efforts, the W.K. Kellogg Forest aims to inspire a deeper appreciation for nature and foster a greater understanding of the delicate balance between human activities and the environment.
Bowens Mills Bridge in Delton, Michigan
The Bowens Mills Bridge, also known as the Gun Lake Dam Bridge, is a historic wooden covered bridge in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area near Delton, Michigan. Constructed in 1964 as part of a Barry County Road Commission project, the bridge connects the Gun Lake Dam’s east and west sides, spanning the Little Thornapple River.
At 65 feet in length, the Bowens Mills Bridge features a Town lattice truss design. This design consists of a lattice-like arrangement of wooden planks diagonally crisscrossing each other, forming a robust and durable structure. The covered bridge design aids in protecting the wooden elements from weathering, consequently extending the structure’s lifespan.
The bridge derives its name from the nearby historic Bowens Mills, established in the 1860s by the Bowen family. Presently, the Bowens Mills complex functions as a living history museum, showcasing a variety of restored buildings, such as a water-powered mill, a blacksmith shop, a cider press, and numerous other historic structures.
Visitors to the area can revel in the picturesque setting of the Bowens Mills Bridge while exploring the diverse recreational offerings of the Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and camping.
Clinton River Covered Bridge at the Drayton Plains Nature Center in Waterford, Michigan
The Drayton Plains Nature Center in Waterford, Michigan, is a local attraction dedicated to preserving and appreciating nature. Encompassing approximately 137 acres, the nature center boasts diverse habitats, such as forests, wetlands, and meadows. It provides educational programs, nature walks, and a variety of outdoor activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in and learn about the natural world.
The quaint covered bridge within the property is a delightful feature of the Drayton Plains Nature Center. This charming bridge stretches across the shallow Clinton River, connecting the interpretive center with the trails and pond of the former historic fish hatchery.
Offering an exceptional opportunity for both locals and visitors to engage with nature, the Drayton Plains Nature Center showcases the area’s rich flora and fauna. In addition, the covered bridge enhances the site’s overall charm and allure, making it an ideal spot for photography and a memorable visitor experience.
Fallasburg Covered Bridge in Lowell, Michigan
The Fallasburg Covered Bridge is a historic wooden covered bridge near Lowell in Kent County, Michigan. Spanning the Flat River, it is an integral part of the Fallasburg Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1871 by builder Jared N. Bresee, the bridge remains a picturesque landmark in the area.
Measuring 100 feet in length, the Fallasburg Covered Bridge features a Brown truss design comprising a combination of vertical and diagonal timbers that form a sturdy and rigid structure. In addition, the bridge’s covering helps safeguard the wooden components from weathering, prolonging the structure’s life.
In 1905, the bridge underwent significant repairs due to flood damage, and in 1945, it was further reinforced with steel beams. Despite these updates, the Fallasburg Covered Bridge is one of only three Michigan covered bridges that remain open to vehicular traffic, with a weight limit of three tons.
Visitors to the area can revel in the beauty of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge and the surrounding park, which offers recreational activities such as picnicking, fishing, and hiking. As a popular spot for photography, the bridge’s rich history makes it a vital part of the region’s heritage.
Fallasburg Park, home to the bridge, also hosts the annual Fallasburg Fall Festival, an arts and crafts event celebrating the area’s history and natural beauty.
Fisher’s Covered Bridge in Deerfield Park, Mt. Pleasant
Fisher’s Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge located in Deerfield Nature Park in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The park, managed by the Isabella County Parks and Recreation Commission, spans over 591 acres and offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, picnicking, and disc golf. In addition, the covered bridge is a picturesque and functional feature of the park.
Fisher’s Covered Bridge was built in 1968 and is named after local residents, the Fisher family, who were instrumental in developing the park. The bridge spans the Chippewa River, connecting different park sections and providing a scenic crossing for visitors to enjoy. The bridge design features a gable roof and wooden trusses, typical for covered bridges in the United States.
Langley Covered Bridge in Three Rivers, Michigan
The Langley Covered Bridge is a historic wooden bridge near Three Rivers in St. Joseph County, Michigan. Spanning the St. Joseph River, the bridge is the longest remaining covered in Michigan. It was built in 1887 by Pierce Bodner, a local builder who constructed several covered bridges.
The Langley Covered Bridge features a Howe truss design, a popular design for covered bridges in the United States during the 19th century. The Howe truss consists of diagonal wooden members combined with vertical iron rods to create a strong and rigid structure. The bridge’s covering helps protect the wooden components from the elements, extending the structure’s life.
The Langley Covered Bridge is 282 feet long and has three spans and a gable roof with an asphalt shingle covering. The bridge’s exterior is painted red with white trim, which adds to its picturesque appearance. The bridge is open to vehicular traffic, with a weight limit of three tons.
The Langley Covered Bridge is important to Michigan’s transportation history and a cherished landmark for locals and visitors. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, acknowledging its architectural and historical significance. Visitors to the area can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the bridge, along with the recreational opportunities offered by the surrounding parks and natural areas.
Donald F. Nichols Covered Bridge on the Kal-Haven Trail, Michigan
The Donald F. Nichols Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge on the Kal-Haven Trail in Michigan. The Kal-Haven Trail is a popular recreational rail trail that stretches 34 miles between Kalamazoo and South Haven, Michigan. The trail is a multi-use path suitable for walking, running, cycling, and horseback riding, depending on the season.
The Donald F. Nichols Covered Bridge was constructed in 1999 and named in honor of Donald F. Nichols, who served as director of the Van Buren County Road Commission for many years. The bridge spans the north branch of the Black River and provides a scenic crossing for trail users.
Featuring a traditional covered bridge design, the Donald F. Nichols Covered Bridge is characterized by its gable roof and wooden construction. Covered bridges like this one are often appreciated for their historical charm and the picturesque quality they add to the landscape.
Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
The Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge located within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. The national lakeshore, established in 1970, covers a 35-mile stretch along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan and is known for its stunning sand dunes, forests, and beaches. In addition, it offers various recreational activities, including hiking, swimming, and wildlife viewing.
The Pierce Stocking Covered Bridge was built in the early 1970s by Pierce Stocking, a local lumberman and the developer of the scenic drive that now bears his name. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a 7.4-mile loop that takes visitors through various landscapes within the national lakeshore, offering breathtaking views of the dunes, forests, and Lake Michigan.
The covered bridge is a picturesque feature along the scenic drive and provides a charming focal point for visitors. The bridge design features a gable roof, wooden construction, and a traditional appearance reminiscent of historic covered bridges. It serves as a functional and aesthetic addition to the scenic drive.
Whites Bridge in Ionia County, Michigan
White’s Bridge is a historic covered bridge located in Ionia County, Michigan, near the village of Smyrna. Initially built in 1869, it spanned the Flat River and was an important crossing point in the area. The bridge was named after a prominent local family, the Whites, who owned a sawmill and other businesses nearby.
The original White’s Bridge was a 120-foot-long Brown truss structure. The Brown truss design consists of vertical and diagonal timbers that create a robust and rigid frame. In addition, the bridge’s covering protected the wooden elements from the weather, helping extend its lifespan.
Unfortunately, on July 7, 2013, White’s Bridge was lost to arson. The community came together to rebuild the bridge, and through their efforts, a replica of the original White’s Bridge was completed in 2020. The new bridge resembles the historic structure and retains its charm and appeal.
White Pine Trail Covered Bridge in Reed City, Michigan
The White Pine Trail Covered Bridge is located in Reed City, Michigan, and spans the Hersey River. This charming wooden covered bridge is a part of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, a linear state park that stretches for approximately 92 miles between the cities of Cadillac and Comstock Park, Michigan. The trail follows the abandoned railroad corridor of the former Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad.
The White Pine Trail is a multi-use recreational trail that accommodates walking, running, cycling, and horseback riding in the summer, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing in the winter. The trail passes through various landscapes, including farmland, forests, and small towns, allowing users to enjoy Michigan’s diverse natural beauty.
The covered bridge in Reed City is a popular attraction along the White Pine Trail, offering a scenic crossing over the Hersey River. While I couldn’t find specific details about the construction or history of the White Pine Trail Covered Bridge, covered bridges are often appreciated for their historical charm and architectural beauty. In addition, they serve as functional structures that protect the wooden components from the elements, prolonging the bridge’s lifespan.
Visitors to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park can enjoy the picturesque setting of the covered bridge in Reed City and the many other natural attractions and points of interest the trail offers. The covered bridge is a charming and memorable part of the trail experience.
Zehnder’s Holz Brucke in Frankenmuth, Michigan
Zehnder’s Holz Brucke, also known as Zehnder’s Wooden Bridge or Zehnder’s Covered Bridge, is a charming covered bridge in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The bridge spans the Cass River and connects the downtown area with the Bavarian Inn Lodge, serving as a vital transportation link and a popular attraction in the city.
Built-in 1979, Zehnder’s Holz Brucke was designed by Milton Graton, a renowned covered bridge builder from New Hampshire, and his son, Arnold. The bridge is 239 feet long and features a Town lattice truss design, which consists of a lattice-like arrangement of wooden planks diagonally crisscrossing each other to form a strong and durable structure. The bridge is constructed of Douglas fir and reinforced with glue-laminated beams.
Frankenmuth is often called “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” due to its Bavarian-style architecture, cultural events, and famous attractions such as Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.
Visitors to Frankenmuth can enjoy the beauty of Zehnder’s Holz Brucke as they explore the city’s unique attractions, shops, and restaurants. The covered bridge adds to the overall charm of the city and serves as a reminder of Frankenmuth’s cultural roots and architectural traditions.
Road Trip The Top 9 Historical Michigan Covered Bridges
Embark on a scenic road trip through Michigan to explore the captivating world of covered historic bridges of Michigan. This route takes you to some of the state’s most picturesque and historically significant bridges, allowing you to appreciate the architectural marvels while taking in the beautiful natural surroundings. The total driving time is approximately 8 hours, excluding time spent at each location.
Use this handy map to find covered bridges near me.
Covered Bridges in Michigan Map & Covered Bridge Tour
Start at the Ackley Covered Bridge in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan. Address: Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
Proceed via I-94 W and M-60 W to the Langley Covered Bridge in Three Rivers. Drive time: Approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes, 136 miles Address: Langley Covered Bridge, Covered Bridge Rd, Three Rivers, MI 49093
Head north to the covered bridge in Augusta at the W.K. Kellogg Forest. Drive time: Approximately 49 minutes, 34.6 miles. Address: W.K. Kellogg Forest, 7060 N 42nd St, Augusta, MI 49012
Drive further north to the Bowens Mills Bridge near Delton. Drive time: Approximately 41 minutes, 29 miles. Address: Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 2104 S Briggs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333
Head north to the Ada Covered Bridge in Ada Township, Kent County. Drive time: Approximately 36 minutes, 24 miles. Address: Ada Township Park, 1180 Buttrick Ave SE, Ada, MI 49301
Continue your journey east to the Fallasburg Covered Bridge near Lowell. Drive time: Approximately 16 minutes, 10 miles. Address: Fallasburg Park, 1124 Fallasburg Park Dr. NE, Lowell, MI 49331
Head a bit northeast to the Whites Bridge in Ionia County. Drive time: Approximately 8 minutes, 5 miles. Address: Whites Bridge Rd, Lowell, MI 49331
Drive northwest to the White Pine Trail Covered Bridge in Reed City. Drive time: Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes, 74 miles. Address: White Pine Trail, Reed City, MI 49677
Finish your trip at Zehnder’s Holz Brucke in Frankenmuth. Drive time: Approximately 1 hour 49 minutes, 114 miles. Address: 730 S Main St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734
This route covers the most iconic covered bridges in Michigan that we have discussed. However, remember that some bridges, such as those in Drayton Plains Nature Center, Waterford, and Deerfield Park, Mt. Pleasant, were not included due to their more remote locations. However, you may add these additional stops to your road trip to visit more covered bridges.
Don’t forget to take breaks to enjoy the local attractions, picnic, and appreciate the state’s scenic beauty. Happy travels!
Final Thoughts on Covered Bridges in Michigan
As our virtual road trip of Michigan’s historic covered bridges ends, we are reminded of these structures’ lasting impact on the region’s heritage and landscape. Each bridge carries its own story, connecting us to the past while providing a serene setting for recreation and contemplation. We hope this has inspired you to appreciate these architectural marvels and even visit some charming landmarks in person.