If you’re looking for information about the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge in Elk County, you’re in the right place!
The Blue Rock Swinging Bridge is a 40 foot-long suspension bridge suspended 12 feet above Little Toby Creek, on State Game Lands 44 in Elk County.
The bridge is named after the ghost town of Blue Rock, which once existed on the eastern side of the bridge.
In 1902, an iron bridge was built across Little Toby Creek to connect Blue Rock with another lumber boomtown called Ellmont, on the western side of the creek.
When the lumber ran out, these boomtowns were abandoned, and the iron bridge ended up being scrapped for the war effort in the 1940s.
In 1992, volunteers from “Friends of the Toby” and the Future Farmers of America built a cable suspension bridge there, reusing the old stone abutments from the former iron bridge.
Today it remains a popular attraction alongside the 18 mile-long Clarion-Little Toby Trail, a rail trail that extends from Ridgway in Elk County to Brockway in Jefferson County.
The Clarion-Little Toby Trail follows the banks of the Clarion River and Little Toby Creek on the former railbed of the Ridgway and Clearfield branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Just to be clear – the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge is NOT part of the rail trail – it is an attraction ALONGSIDE the rail trail, and should only be crossed on foot!
Directions to the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge
The Blue Rock Swinging Bridge is located at mile marker 12.2 of the Clarion-Little Toby Trail, with Mile 0 being in Ridgway and Mile 18 being at the opposite end in Brockway.
The closest year-round parking spot to visit the bridge (assuming you just want to see the bridge, not bike the entire trail) is located on State Game Lands 44, at mile marker 15.8 of the Clarion-Little Toby Trail (3.6 miles south of the bridge).
Use GPS coordinates 41.27800, -78.81711 to navigate to the game lands parking lot, or simply park at the Brockway Trailhead, knowing it will add an extra 4.4 miles to your round-trip to the bridge and back.
From wherever you decide to park, head north on the rail trail, with Little Toby Creek on your left-hand side.
At mile marker 14.5 you’ll pass a sign denoting the location of the ghost town of Carrier.
While there nothing to see of the town, the supports of another iron bridge that was scrapped for the WWII war effort still stand silently in Little Toby Creek.
At mile marker 13.3 you’ll cross over Vineyard Run.
Here was yet another lumber boomtown, now just a memory.
A mile north of Vineyard Run, you’ll reach the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge, at GPS coordinates 41.31529, -78.83971.
Exploring the Bridge
As mentioned previously, the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge is roughly 40 feet long and hangs approximately 12 feet above Little Toby Creek at its midpoint.
There is definitely some “swing” to this bridge as you cross it, but not enough to be terrifying.
From the center, you have beautiful views up and down Little Toby Creek.
On the western side of the bridge (that’s the side of the creek opposite the rail trail) is a small picnic area.
And next to the picnic area is a rope swing, which leads me to believe this is a popular swimming hole in the summer (I visited in February, so no swimmers then!).
Overall, this is one of the more enjoyable swinging bridges in PA that I’ve encountered, and I like the fact that 120 years after the original iron bridge was built, this is still a functional creek crossing in Elk County.
So if you enjoy biking or hiking PA’s many wonderful rail trails, add the Clarion-Little Toby Trail and the Blue Rock Swinging Bridge to your bucket list!
Cook Forest State Park is home to Tom’s Run Swinging Bridge, one of the most famous swinging bridges in PA, spanning Tom’s Run just minutes from the park office.
The Clear Shade Creek swinging bridge serves as a connector between the 2 loops that make up the John P. Saylor Trail in the Gallitzin State Forest.
Trough Creek State Park is home to one of the “bounciest” swinging bridges in PA, as you make you way across Great Trough Creek.
Talleyrand Park in Bellefonte is home to what has been called “the most beautiful suspension bridge in Pennsylvania”.
The Cedar Creek Gorge Trail is a picturesque 1.5 mile loop hike featuring two suspension bridges over Cedar Creek in Westmoreland County.
Exploring the Best Swinging Bridges in Pennsylvania is your guide to even more great swinging bridges across PA!
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