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hough it may only be 600 feet long, the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk is a special treat for history buffs and thrill seekers alike. Situated within Kinzua Bridge State Park in the township of Mt. Jewett, the steel trestle bridge was once touted as the eighth wonder of the world before a disaster in 2003 changed its fate forever.
At 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long, the Kinzua Bridge—also known as the Kinzua Viaduct—was the tallest and longest railroad bridge in the world when it was built in 1882. The bridge served the Erie Railroad and occasional excursion trains until 1959, when access to a nearby Baltimore & Ohio Railroad line made the aging bridge obsolete. In 1970 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania opened Kinzua Bridge State Park to the public, preserving the famous trestle, adjacent land, and stunning views of the Kinzua Gorge in perpetuity. From 1987 until the bridge closed for restoration in 2002, the Knox and Kane Railroad operated sightseeing steam-train trips over the trestle and through the Allegheny National Forest.
In 2003 a tornado struck the Kinzua Bridge at speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour, leaving a large part of the historic trestle in ruins. Due to the high cost of repairing the 121-year-old bridge, the state decided to use the remaining structure to create a pedestrian walkway that would allow visitors to view the breathtaking gorge below. Remnants and wreckage of the bridge remain in the gorge, allowing users to imagine the scale and length of the bridge in its heyday.
Ever since the skywalk was constructed in 2011, users have explored the history of the bridge and tornado at the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office. From here, users can access the 600-foot pedestrian walkway, with the track still intact. A glass-bottomed section at the end of the walkway provides views of the gorge below.
Users can also walk to a picture-taking platform, adjacent to the bridge, that delivers stunning views of the bridge in its entirety. It’s also not as high up, so this is a great spot for those who are not fond of dizzying heights. Note that while the skywalk itself is wheelchair accessible, the viewing platform is only accessible by stairs.
A 3.8-mile section of the Knox Kane Rail Trail, opened in 2018, now provides a seamless, mostly forested, crushed-stone connection between Mt. Jewett and Kinzua Bridge State Park. The Kinzua Valley Trail Club is working to extend the 6.5-mile Kinzua Valley Trail which currently connects the Red Bridge Bank Fishing Area along SR 321 in Kane to Westline—to Kinzua Bridge State Park and the skywalk for an eventual 21-mile trail.
To reach parking at the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office from the intersection of US 219 and US 6 in Kane, head east on US 6/E. Main St. Go 4.4 miles to Mt. Jewett, and turn left onto Lower Lindholm Road. Go 0.7 mile, and turn right onto SR 3011/Lindholm Road. Go 2.3 miles, and turn left onto the park access road. Follow signage for Kinzua Bridge. In 0.8 mile, the road dead-ends at the parking lot for the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office.
Lov'd the trip out to the edge and the hike down to the bottom. Aist see if in the area
We generally travel over 2 hours annually to visit the Skywalk. Though only a few tenths in length, there is an awesome visitors center with plenty of picnic area.
You can hike down to the bottom of the gorge. Make sure you have sturdy shoes.
New visitor center constructed approx 2018. Informational signs throughout the skywalk, visitors center and grounds.
This has long been one of our favorite parks. The new walkway is well done and there is access to the valley again, so park goers may get a different perspective from below. A new visitors center will open in the spring of 2017. Well worth a visit.
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