Exploring the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County

Somerset County's Longest Covered Bridge

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1993
A picture-perfect winter day at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA
A picture-perfect winter day at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA

The Barronvale Covered Bridge isn’t just the longest covered bridge in Somerset County.

It’s one of the longest covered bridges in all of Pennsylvania.

So if visiting the biggest and best covered bridges in PA is on your bucket list, you have to make visiting this elongated beauty a priority!

All the information you could ever need to make that visit happen is contained in this article.

So read on!


Where is the Barronvale Covered Bridge?

A map showing the location of the Barronvale Covered Bridge as well as the former Barron's Mill in Somerset County, PA
A map showing the location of the Barronvale Covered Bridge as well as the former Barron’s Mill in Somerset County, PA

The Barronvale Covered Bridge is located just off of Covered Bridge Road (imagine that!) in southwestern Somerset County.

It is approximately 5 miles west of New Centerville, or 3 miles southwest of Laurel Hill State Park.

GPS coordinates for the parking area next to the bridge: 39.953030, -79.269958

There is a large parking area at the northeastern end of the bridge (see the map above).


History of the Barronvale Covered Bridge

Exactly when the Barronvale Covered Bridge was built is a bit of a mystery. The sign on the bridge itself says 1830.

A chilly winter scene at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania
A chilly winter scene at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania state survey lists it as 1846.

And the World Guide to Covered Bridges lists it as 1902.

As with many covered bridges, historical records from sparsely populated rural areas during this time period are sketchy.


Who Built the Barronvale Bridge?

Cassimer Cramer is credited with building the current bridge.

However, given that the date of construction is not clear-cut, there might have been earlier bridges built by others builders at this very same site, perhaps leading to some of the confusion.

Interesting Facts and Figures About the Bridge

A blue sky summer morning at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA
A blue sky summer morning at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA

What is not in dispute (because we can measure it today) is that the current bridge is 162 feet, 3 inches long and 13 feet, 10 inches wide.

By comparison, the longest covered bridge in all of Pennsylvania, the Academia Pomeroy Bridge in Juniata County, is 278 feet long.

The Burr-arch trusses inside the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County Pennsylvania.
The Burr-arch trusses inside the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

The Barronvale Covered Bridge utilizes Burr-arch trusses in its construction, the most common style of trusses used in the remaining covered bridges in Pennsylvania.

The World Guide to Covered Bridges inventory number for this bridge is 38-56-03.

It was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and its inventory number there is 80003633.

Laurel Highlands fall foliage in full swing at the Barronvale Covered Bridge, Somerset County PA
Laurel Highlands fall foliage in full swing at the Barronvale Covered Bridge, Somerset County PA

The Barronvale Covered Bridge is sometimes referred to (locally, at least) as the Barron’s Mill Bridge. This is because, as you might guess, a mill once stood in the large open space to the right of the bridge in the photo above.

The house in the background of the photo above was the home of the miller.

A late summer/early autumn view of Barronvale Covered Bridge and Laurel Hill Creek in Somerset County, PA
A late summer/early autumn view of Barronvale Covered Bridge and Laurel Hill Creek in Somerset County, PA

The bridge spans Laurel Hill Creek, as does Kings Covered Bridge a mile further downstream.

A light dusting of snow at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
A light dusting of snow at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

It is privately owned now, but open to the public.

Only foot traffic is permitted on the bridge. Large boulders on either side prevent vehicles from entering and damaging the bridge.


When to Visit

Springtime greenery emerging around the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA
Springtime greenery emerging around the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

There is really no bad time to visit the Barronvale Bridge. In the spring and summer it is enveloped in greenery and wild flowers.

Autumn arrives in the Laurel Highlands at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA.
Autumn arrives in the Laurel Highlands at the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA.

It also makes a great autumn location for “leaf peeping” in the Laurel Highlands.

A low-angle winter view of Laurel Hill Creek and the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County PA
A low-angle winter view of Laurel Hill Creek and the Barronvale Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

And of course in the winter the bright red (as are all Somerset County covered bridges) bridge really stands out against a snow white backdrop.

Morning sun warms the Barronvale Covered Bridge on a winter day in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
Morning sun warms the Barronvale Covered Bridge on a winter day in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Final Thoughts

The Barronvale Covered Bridge is an exceptionally well-maintained covered bridge that is pleasant to visit any time of the year.

The fact that it is only open to foot traffic, and has plentiful parking makes it easy to spend as much time as you want to exploring it.

The Barronvale Covered Bridge.

Somerset County’s longest covered bridge.

Put it on your PA Bucket List!


Looking for more Somerset County Covered Bridges?

Kings Covered Bridge is located one mile from the Barronvale Covered Bridge, and also spans Laurel Hill Creek.

A springtime view of Kings Covered Bridge in Somerset County
A springtime view of Kings Covered Bridge in Somerset County.

The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge is the most famous covered bridge in Somerset County.

A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
A lone fisherman on Brush Creek below the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

Lower Humbert Covered Bridge is the southernmost covered bridge in Somerset County.

Autumn at Lower Humbert Covered Bridge
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge near Confluence, Somerset County.

Glessner Covered Bridge is on the outskirts of Shanksville, near the Flight 93 Memorial.

The Glessner Covered Bridge over the Stoneycreek River near Shanksville PA
The Glessner Covered Bridge over the Stoneycreek River near Shanksville, PA.


Nearby Attractions

If waterfalls are your thing, be sure to check out 20 Must-See Waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands.

Selfie at Lower Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
The author at Lower Jonathan Run Falls in the Laurel Highlands.

If mountain vistas are your thing, be sure to check out Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest, Somerset County.

Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.
Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Another amazing find right in our own backyard.I have only seen one covered bridge,and that was near Shunk, Pa.
    We were visiting friends that have a cabin nearby.
    Thank you Rusty.

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