Idaho isn’t known for its towering buildings or historic, New England-style architecture the way our coastal counterparts are. But sometimes the coolest thing about a location isn’t what you see when you get there, but rather
how you get there. Life is all about the journey, right? With so many miles of rushing waterways to traverse, Idaho is full of beautiful and historical bridges to bike, walk, or simply admire from afar, and they’ll all take you somewhere incredible. From soaring abandoned trestles to terrifying swinging bridge across Idaho’s most scenic rivers, here are some of Idaho’s most memorable bridges to visit this season… and every season!
1. Ashton to Tetonia Trail Trestles
Part trail, part restored rail spur, this 30-mile route from Ashton to Tetonia officially opened in 2010 and consists of five trestles for the avid bridge lover. Its historical significance as part of the Oregon Short Line is almost as impressive as the views of the Tetons!
2. Sandpoint Long Bridge
Originally the "longest wooden bridge in the world" circa 1908, Sandpoint's 2-mile concrete and steel open bridge connects the city to Sagle over the Pend Oreille. This must-see stretch along the highway features vibrant panoramic views and makes a photo-worthy Northern Idaho bike ride.
3. Chatcolet Bridge
Crossing the St. Joe River within Coeur d'Alene Tribe territory, the Chatcolet Bridge offers a unique bike ride across the water. The stairstep bike path up the bridge creates both a challenge and plenty of opportunities to rest -- making it perfect for all ages -- while also providing a thrilling ride down the other side.
4. Boise River Greenbelt Bridges
The Boise River -- the lifeblood and heart of Idaho's capital metro -- is home to the 25-mile Greenbelt, which runs along the river. There are number of bridges spaced out every few miles that cross over the water, and all are beautiful. Another popular crossing (and photo spot) is the Friendship Bridge on the Boise State Campus off of the Greenbelt, which leads right into Julia Davis Park.
5. Dent Bridge
The Dworshak Dam near Orofino is an enormous feat of engineering at over 715 feet high. The Dent Bridge was designed to connect communities on either side of the man-made Dworshak reservoir, and at over 1,000 feet long, is the longest suspension bridge in Idaho. For the fearless, a trip up to the top of the dam for a stellar view and history lesson is another thrill to add to your road trip.
6. Route of the Hiawatha
We've talked about the Route of the Hiawatha quite a bit on this page, but this towering former railroad bridge is stunning for multiple reasons. Skyhigh views to the forest floor below give this bridge an extra adrenaline factor, while the covered portions provide a place to catch your breath.
7. Cedar Street Bridge
Inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, Sandpoint's Cedar Street Bridge was a long time in the making. Built in the 1930s as an access point to the local train depot, this covered bridge fell into disrepair numerous times before it's last multi-million dollar overhaul in 2007. Today, the bridge is a public market that spans 400 feet across Sand Creek. Boutique shops, vendors, local artisans, and, of course, delicious restaurants fill the space,
8. The Floating Boardwalk, Coeur d'Alene
The world's longest floating boardwalk is right here in Idaho! While not a "bridge" by traditional definitions, it
does go over the water, and includes a mock limestone lookout bridge about midway across that offers lovely views of the lake. A stroll here is free, although a stop at the nearby Coeur d'Alene Resort for some food is highly recommended.
9. Payette River Rainbow Bridge
This historic concrete bridge across the North Fork of the Payette River is always a welcome sight, but it's also a tribute to modern design and made to blend in with nature. This well-traveled bridge was built in 1933 and is the longest single-span arch bridge in the state.
10. Perrine Bridge
An Idaho staple, this 1500 foot architectural feat towers above the expansive Snake River Canyon and offers walking, biking, and base jumping opportunities, as well as scenic views of the gorge. Of course, as a highly traveled freeway, this is one bridge to take caution on. But, a good pair of binoculars will also offer views of the many waterfalls pouring into the canyon.
While you’re out road tripping this season you might just find yourself running across (or over) one of these breathtaking historic bridges. If so, be sure to take a photo and share it with us! Are there any other quaint or must-see local bridges that you think should be on this list? Speak up, Southern Idaho!