The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County is perhaps Pennsylvania’s most iconic covered bridge.
But even icons need a facelift once in a while!
And in April/May of 2020, what is arguably the most beautiful covered bridge in all of PA underwent a rehabilitation project.
The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge had suffered a considerable amount of insect damage over the past few years.
The fact that this is a bridge still very much in use for vehicular traffic made the repairs a matter of public safety.
Thankfully, the repairs were made with the original aesthetics and historical authenticity in mind as well.
Of course photos of the beloved waterfall beneath the Pack Saddle Bridge looked a little strange in the interim.
Although I admit as a photographer, having the chance to document such an historic event was exciting.
Repairs to the Pack Saddle Bridge were finished ahead of schedule and it is now back in service.
And soon this idyllic setting, nestled down in the Brush Creek valley near Fairhope, will once again bustle with visitors.
Waterfalls at the Pack Saddle Bridge
If you have never been to the Pack Saddle Bridge, there is one thing that sets it apart from all others in Pennsylvania.
Frothy and surging when Brush Creek is swollen by heavy rain.
Sluggish and COLD in the Laurel Highlands winter!
Sometimes seeming to literally grind to a halt in February, although the current is always moving beneath the ice and snow.
Fishing here below the waterfalls at the Pack Saddle Bridge is a rite of passage for locals.
The Pack Saddle Bridge is also a tremendously popular setting for senior portraits and engagement photos.
Even the view from upstream is almost Currier and Ives perfect.
There really is no bad angle to photograph the Pack Saddle Bridge from.
But it’s the downstream view, with the bridge framed by sky, hemlocks, and waterfalls, that sets the Pack Saddle Bridge apart from every other covered bridge in Pennsylvania.
How to Find the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge
Most visitors to the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge arrive by turning off of Route 31/Glades Pike, travelling 5.5 miles on Glen Savage Road, then turning right onto Pine Valley Road and descending the hill roughly 1/3 of a mile to the bridge (just follow the sign indicating a bridge ahead).
GPS coordinates for the Pack Saddle Bridge are 39.867592, -78.817354.
An informational monument is located near the eastern side of the bridge.
The Pack Saddle Bridge Mystique
For nearly 150 years (since 1870) the Pack Saddle Bridge has been both a necessity for travel in the area, as well as a source of pride and identity in the Laurel Highlands.
Whether the unknown builder/builders intentionally laid this bridge out with aesthetics in mind (in addition to the practical necessity of getting across Brush Creek) we’ll never know.
But certainly all who have stopped to gaze upon the bridge, or cast a line beneath it, or snap a photo of it owe a debt of gratitude to the builders.
The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge – perhaps Pennsylvania’s most beautiful covered bridge.
Put it on your PA Bucket List!
Looking for more Somerset County Covered Bridges?
The nearby New Baltimore Covered Bridge spans the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River.
Barronvale Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in Somerset County, at 162 feet.
Lower Humbert Covered Bridge is the southernmost covered bridge in Somerset County.
Glessner Covered Bridge is on the outskirts of Shanksville, near the Flight 93 Memorial.
Kings Covered Bridge is a great spot for a creekside picnic, with a covered pavillion right next to the bridge.
If waterfalls are your thing, be sure to check out my guide to the 20 must-see waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands.
If scenic vistas are your thing, be sure to check out Beam Rocks Overlook in the Forbes State Forest, Somerset County.
For a completely different type of bridge, the Salisbury Viaduct along the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail is a 1,908 foot long engineering marvel, towering 101 feet above the Casselman River in Somerset County.
For a unique underground experience, the Big Savage Tunnel along the Great Allegheny Passage offers you the chance to hike/bike a 3,294 foot long former railroad tunnel, originally constructed in 1912.
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