Is the Pack Saddle Bridge Pennsylvania’s Most Beautiful Covered Bridge?

13 Sensational Photos That Might Just Convince You It Is!

The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge - quite possibly the most beautiful covered bridge in Pennsylvania.
The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge - quite possibly the most beautiful covered bridge in Pennsylvania.

The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge (Fairhope Township, Somerset County) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My great-grandparents and grandparents lived 5 minutes away from it, so fishing and swimming in the large pool below the bridge was just something that came natural to me.

It was only later in life, after I had a chance to live, work, and travel all over Pennsylvania that I was able to draw comparisons to the many other covered bridges I encountered.

And my conclusion: the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge was and is the most beautiful covered bridge in Pennsylvania.

Fall foliage starting to turn in the Laurel Highlands at the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Fall foliage starting to turn in the Laurel Highlands at the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

On approach from either direction, it certainly is an idyllic setting, nestled down in the Brush Creek valley. But it’s only when you view the Pack Saddle from downstream that you can truly appreciate what sets this covered bridge apart from all others in Pennsylvania.

A summertime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.
A summertime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Somerset County, PA.

Waterfalls. A double-tiered drop of 6 to 8 feet directly beneath the bridge. Sometimes flowing gently and gracefully as they are here.

Summer downpours in the Laurel Highlands mean huge flow on Brush Creek and the waterfalls beneath the Pack Saddle Bridge.
Summer downpours in the Laurel Highlands mean huge flow on Brush Creek and the waterfalls beneath the Pack Saddle Bridge.

And other times surging in a frothy torrent when Brush Creek is swollen by heavy rain.

The partially frozen waterfalls on Brush Creek beneath the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge.
The partially frozen waterfalls on Brush Creek beneath the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge.

In the wintertime the waters beneath the Pack Saddle Bridge can to slow to a crawl.

A hard winter freeze at the Pack Saddle Bridge in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.
A hard winter freeze at the Pack Saddle Bridge in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

And other times they literally seem to grind to a halt, although the current is always moving beneath the ice and snow.

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.

Fishing here at the Pack Saddle Bridge is a rite of passage for locals. Brush Creek is stocked with trout, and the opening day of trout season is a bustling scene, much more so than in this bucolic photo from autumn.

The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge is an extremely popular spot for senior portraits and engagement photos.
The Pack Saddle Covered Bridge is an extremely popular spot for senior portraits and engagement photos.

The Pack Saddle Bridge is also a tremendously popular setting for senior portraits and engagement photos. People travel from near and far to capture memories like this one.

A wintertime view f the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge near Fairhope, Somerset County, PA.
A wintertime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge near Fairhope, Somerset County, PA.

Even the view from upstream is almost Currier and Ives perfect (Google it, kids).

When asking "What is the best covered bridge in Pennsylvania" it's hard not to put the Pack Saddle Bridge near the top of the list.
When asking “What is the most scenic covered bridge in Pennsylvania” it’s hard not to put the Pack Saddle Bridge near the top of the list.

There really is no bad angle to photograph the Pack Saddle Bridge from.

On a snowy winter day the red sides of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge jump out like in no other season.
On a snowy winter day the red sides of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge jump out like in no other season.

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.

The waters of Brush Creek tumble over rocks beneath the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge, as they have for nearly 150 years.
The waters of Brush Creek tumble over rocks beneath the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge, as they have for nearly 150 years.

Finding the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge

A map showing the location of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Fairhope Township, Somerset County, PA.
A map showing the location of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge in Fairhope Township, Somerset County, PA.

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!).

If you prefer to navigate by GPS coordinates, the Pack Saddle Bridge is located at:


39.867592, -78.817354

There is a parking lot on one side of the bridge (depending on your approach) and roadside pull-offs on the other. Keep in mind this is an active bridge, so vehicles may be passing through it when you visit.

A late springtime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge and the waterfalls on Brush Creek beneath it.
A late springtime view of the Pack Saddle Covered Bridge and the waterfalls on Brush Creek beneath it.

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 luxury in terms of the scenic grandeur it has brought to 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 – Pennsylvania’s Most Beautiful Covered Bridge.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Rusty,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts about Pack Saddle! I’ve been there many times and it is indeed my favorite of Somerset County covered bridges.

    I love to photograph it and have descended the steep sides to get the waterfalls from below. I just wonder how you photograph from the other side which is where you must’ve been for the shots of high water … torrents as you explain. I’ve never shot from that side. Your photograph actually looks like you put yourself in a dangerous spot? In any case, thanks for the white up and the new website!

    • Simply walk around the white fence and you’ll see a trail leading to the spot where I sat for those photos. Not dangerous at all – well above the stream. Probably hundreds if not thousands of people have sat in that same spot for senior portraits, engagement photos, etc. If you have a wide angle lens that is the best choice from that angle, if you want to get the entire bridge and most of the falls in the shot. Thanks for checking out the site!

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