Pisgah Covered Bridge is one of only two remaining original historic covered bridges in the state of North Carolina, which is exactly why I’ve been here twice now. It’s off the beaten path, but still easily accessible and a delight to visit. It’s more than just a sightseeing destination, though; it also features a short trail, a great place for a picnic, and a place to let children, pets, and adults play in the water.
The first time I visited the covered bridge was mid-2010. I was traveling through Western North Carolina on the recently completed Interstate 74. I was mostly just minding my own business, but a little bored; there was no cellphone signal out there, so my Pandora Radio had stopped playing on my phone. That’s when I had a flicker of hope: I passed a sign that said “Pisgah Covered Bridge Next Right”. Suddenly, I was on an adventure.
Little did I know, however, there were no signs to direct traffic once off the interstate. My cellphone signal was so low I couldn’t rely on the GPS navigation, so I just trudged along as best I could. After getting lost twice, I finally found a sign that pointed toward Pisgah Road. I figured this was the right direction. Shortly thereafter, I found Pisgah Covered Bridge Road. I figured surely this was named after the destination I sought? Sure enough, there it was.
When I returned again almost four years later, I was equipped with a much better GPS navigation unit in my car, and I was happy to see the cellphone signal had improved greatly. However, I still got lost again. On my way back out of the national forest my GPS (I’ve named it Clara because I spend so much time listening to it tell me what to do) decided to take me on a little adventure. As it turns out, I had not updated the maps in the past year so the GPS unit did not know of the completed Interstate 74. Despite getting lost twice while visiting this covered bridge, it’s still one of my favorite off the beaten path destinations.
The covered bridge has a small gravel parking area with enough room for about five or six vehicles. Do not attempt to take a camping trailer down there as it will be difficult to get turned around (and you’ll just simply take up too much room). The parking area is directly adjacent to the bridge, so there is almost no walk at all involved in visiting the historic structure. You can walk through it to the other end, but there isn’t really anywhere to go once there.
There is also a nice picnic table under the shade of the massive trees, providing an excellent place to enjoy a meal. Both times I visited the bridge I found families there enjoying food they’d picked up from somewhere nearby (I still need to figure out where exactly that is). Visitors can also hop on the short 1/4-mile trail that leads down to a large baptismal pool in the small river/large creek. It’s mostly shallow, but just deep enough for children and pets (perhaps some adults) to enjoy a good splash.
This bridge is one of only two original covered bridges left in North Carolina, the other being the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge in Claremont, North Carolina. Although this bridge is listed as “original”, it actually is not. In 2003 the bridge was swept away during a massive flood, but then it was rebuilt the next year by local volunteers. The reconstruction used 90% of the original materials, but a brand new shingle roof, so it is actually a recreation of the original using mostly original materials. It was built in 1911 for $40 by J.J. Welch.
This is a fun place to make a quick stop through Western North Carolina. It’s an easy 15 minute detour off the interstate, and a nice place to spend about an hour. It’s off the beaten path, so my question is always why not?