Stunning Covered Bridges in Ohio: Preble County

Do you enjoy leisurely drives that bless you with beautiful scenery and history? Julie and I made an impromptu decision one morning to take a covered bridge tour. With warm sun, blue skies, and autumn foliage, we had a blast. We will spotlight Preble County and explore covered bridges in Ohio.

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Brief History of Covered Bridges

Before we start our tour, let’s take a quick look at the history of covered bridges.

What is a covered bridge?

Simply put, it is a timber truss bridge complete with a roof, deck, and siding.

When were covered bridges built?

Most were built between 1825 and 1875.

Why were the bridges covered?

Most of the bridges built at the time were constructed of wood due to accessibility and cost. Coverings protected the truss and deck from rain and snow, preventing rot and decay. The shells also reinforced the truss, giving the bridge more durability.

Why did we stop making covered bridges?

In the mid-1800s, the cost of iron became more affordable. Accordingly, we began to use metal for bridge construction.

How many covered bridges exist today?

At one time, the United States had more than 12,000 covered bridges. Ohio had about 3,500, second only to Pennsylvania.

Today there are fewer than 1,000. Pennsylvania has over 200 covered bridges, while Ohio has 148. Vermont has over 100 and boasts the most per square mile.

Why do people like covered bridges?

I think this differs depending on who you ask. Covered bridges remind many of a simpler time when technology was not king, and we enjoyed nature. Some admire the engineering, while others find them beautiful against the backdrop of farmland or a coursing river.  

For me, it is a combination of all these reasons. I grew up in a small town, and covered bridges flood my brain with fond childhood memories.  

Admittedly, I enjoy a covered bridge tour the most when the autumn foliage is at its peak. Weathered wooden bridges stand proudly while trees display bright colors in the background.

Ohio Covered Bridge Tour

From 1829 to 1896, 29 covered bridges were constructed in Preble County. Eight of these remain.

Where is Preble County?

Preble County sits in southwestern Ohio, north of Cincinnati and directly west of Dayton. The county contains many picturesque small towns and farms. Although often overlooked, it is beautiful.

What is special about the Preble County covered bridges?

Six of the bridges were built by Everett S. Sherman (Sherman). He used the Childs truss, which Horace Childs designed. Sherman reconfigured the truss system, inserting diagonal iron rods into a multiple kingpost layout.

The county houses the oldest covered bridge in Ohio. By the way, Sherman did not build that one.

Preble County Covered Bridges

Let’s cross the proverbial creek and discuss the covered bridges. As part of a scenic drive, you can easily see all eight Preble County covered bridges in a half-day. We will give you a bonus bridge to check out as well.

Map of Covered Bridges in Preble County, Ohio

Covered bridges map for Preble County, Ohio
Map of Preble County, Ohio covered bridges

To guide you on your journey, we have included a map of the covered bridges in Preble County. There is no right or wrong place to start on the tour. Enjoy the scenic drive and the tranquil settings of Main Street America in small, rural communities.

Visit the Preble County site for a larger digital map and more information on their covered bridges.

Hueston Woods Covered Bridge

Covered bridge in Hueston Woods State Park near Oxford, Ohio
Hueston Woods Bridge
  • Location: Camden College Corner Road between Buck Paxton and Hedge Row Roads
  • Built: 2012
  • Length: 108 feet
  • Design: Single-span modified Burr arch
  • Accessibility: Cars and pedestrians

There is a reason the Hueston Woods Bridge looks new. It is. The bridge was built in 2012, giving it a fresh, modern appearance. It is Preble County’s newest covered bridge and the first made in over 100 years.

Hueston Woods Bridge is a single-span bridge that easily accommodates the paved two-lane road. The bridge includes a pedestrian lane on each side. It is a great design that allows safe passage and scenic views for both cars and pedestrians.

The bridge spans Four Mile Creek in the beautiful Hueston Woods State Park. If you are looking for things to do besides seeing a covered bridge, put this one on your list. Hueston Woods offers hiking, camping, fishing, frisbee golf, and more. Trees along Acton Lake provide an incredible view, especially during foliage season.

Harshman Covered Bridge

Harshman Covered Bridge in Preble County, Ohio
Taking a selfie with Harshman Bridge
  • Location: Concord-Fairhaven Road
  • Built: 1894
  • Length: 102 feet
  • Design: Single span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: Cars

Sherman built the Harshman Covered Bridge in 1894. It was refurbished in 2008.

The overpass is less than 5 miles from the Indiana border, surrounded by quiet farmland. You have plenty of time to take photos in a more remote location.

You will quickly notice that the six bridges built by Sherman are nearly identical. If you appreciate the history of the bridges and the beauty of each setting, I think you will find each is worth your time. After all, covered bridges are rare in today’s world.

This tour is about going back in time. I encourage you to soak in the scene at each bridge. Feel the breeze and enjoy the sound of rushing waters.

Roberts Covered Bridge

view from Roberts Covered Bridge in Eaton, Ohio
View from Roberts Covered Bridge
  • Location: Beech Street in Eaton
  • Built: 1829
  • Length: 79 feet
  • Design: Double-barrel, Burr arch truss
  • Accessibility: Pedestrians

The Roberts Covered Bridge is fascinating for a couple of reasons. It is the oldest covered bridge in Ohio and one of six remaining in the United States with a double barrel design.

The stunning red bridge spans Seven Mile Creek in Eaton. It was restored and relocated in 1991. If you only visit one bridge on our list, we recommend the Roberts Covered Bridge due to its history.  

You can only cross the bridge on foot. Be sure to look through the windows for a spectacular view.  

We were fortunate to visit on a sunny day with trees displaying fall foliage and geese swimming in the water. The window framed the scene like a treasured gallery painting. 

Gypsy Mug

The Gypsy Mug coffee shop in Preble County, Ohio
The Gypsy Mug serves delicious coffee, breakfast & lunch

Location: 118 East Main Street, Eaton, Ohio 45320.

Eaton is a lovely town and a perfect place to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat during your covered bridge tour. Julie and I stopped at a little place called The Gypsy Mug. They offer many unique flavored coffee drinks along with breakfast and lunch items.

Everything we had was fantastic. I tried the hazelmallow latte, and Julie had the mad hatter.  

My drink perfectly blended the hazelnut and marshmallow flavors. Julie’s drink was a sweet combination of raspberry, white chocolate, and marshmallow. It was tasty but made for those who love their coffee with sugary goodness.

Julie designed her own sub, and I had a Mariella chicken wrap that included sundried tomatoes and pesto. The hero was fresh and tasty. I am unsure how my wrap could contain all those wonderful flavors in a small package. It was delicious.

The Gypsy Mug is worthy of your business. Cindy is a kind, hardworking one-woman show. The coffee shop has a relaxing, comfortable, slightly eclectic atmosphere. Your tastebuds will be happy!

Christman Covered Bridge

Christman Bridge in Preble County, Ohio
Christman Covered Bridge
  • Location: Eaton-New Hope Road
  • Built: 1895
  • Length: 108 feet
  • Design: Single-span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: Cars

Sherman built the Christman Covered bridge in 1895. It crosses Seven Mile Creek in Washington Township, a little northeast of Eaton. The bridge was restored in 2008.

Astonishingly, the cost for the original project was just north of $4,000. Inflation is real!

You will find that many covered bridges were named for the landowner in the area at the time. That is the case here. Solomon Christman owned the land and ran a sawmill downstream.

Geeting Covered Bridge

Geeting Bridge in Preble County, Ohio
Peering through Geeting Bridge
  • Location: Price Road
  • Built: 1894
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Design: Single-span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: Cars

The Geeting Covered Bridge, built by Sherman, sits near the intersection of Interstate 70, US-40, and SR-127. It runs over Price’s Creek.

The overpass is named for Dave Geeting. You guessed it. Yes, he owned land in the area.  

Legend tells us that Dave was the first person to drive across the bridge as well. I guess being a landowner has many perks.

The bridge is a poster child for perseverance. A 1914 windstorm damaged the roof. 

In 1969, a truck that exceeded the height limit tried to cross. Once again, the roof was damaged. The restoration was completed a few years afterward. Battered and bruised, Geeting Covered Bridge still stands.

Dixon’s Branch Covered Bridge

Dixon's Branch Covered Bridge in Preble County, Ohio.
Dixon’s Branch Covered Bridge now serves as a picnic shelter
  • Location: Lewisburg Community Park, 101 Knapke Lane, Lewisburg, Ohio 45338
  • Built: 1887
  • Length: 50 feet
  • Design: Single-span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: Pedestrians

Dixon Township’s first settler was Eli Dixon. The township and the bridge honor his name.

The Dixon’s Branch Covered Bridge was originally 60 feet long. A windstorm in 1963 damaged the roof.

Dixon Township was and still is, an agricultural area. At that time, farming equipment began to get too big for most covered bridges.  

So, the bridge was moved to the Lewisburg Community Park in 1964. It was shortened to 50 feet and currently serves as a picnic shelter.

This is an excellent opportunity if you prefer to pack a lunch for your tour. How many people can say they had a picnic lunch inside a covered bridge?

Warnke Covered Bridge

Warnke Bridge in Preble County, Ohio
Warnke Covered Bridge on a beautiful fall day
  • Location: Swamp Creek Road between Lewisburg and Verona
  • Built: 1895
  • Length: 51 feet
  • Design: Single-span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: Cars

The Warnke Covered Bridge was the last bridge built by Sherman. Construction began in 1895 and was completed in early 1896. It provides passage over Swamp Creek.

The fall foliage was on full display for us just down the road from the bridge. So, we happily took pictures from a distance for this site.

Brubaker Covered Bridge

Brubaker Covered Bridge damage caused by truck
Sad to see Brubaker Bridge is damaged by a recent truck collision
  • Location: Brubaker Road
  • Built: 1887
  • Length: 88 feet
  • Design: Single-span Childs truss
  • Accessibility: None currently 

Another Sherman design, Brubaker Covered Bridge crosses Sam’s Run Creek just northwest of the village of Gratis. You will notice some of the side panels were removed. More light gives drivers a better view of the curved road they must navigate when exiting the bridge.

The Brubaker Covered Bridge was restored in 2005. Unfortunately, a semi-tractor trailer struck the bridge in August 2022. It is closed and in need of repairs. You currently cannot walk or drive across the bridge.  

Oxford Covered Bridge

Pughs Mill Covered Bridge in Oxford, Ohio
Walking into Black Covered Bridge in Oxford, Ohio
  • Location: 5401 Corso Road, Oxford, Ohio 45056
  • Built: 1868-1869
  • Length: 220 feet
  • Design: Childs truss and Long truss
  • Accessibility: Pedestrians 

We promised a bonus bridge, and we will deliver. The Black Covered Bridge is in Butler County. It sits in Oxford, not far from the Hueston Woods Bridge.

The bridge was originally called Pugh’s Mill Covered Bridge as it provided access to a saw and grist mill owned by James Pugh. Over time, the bridge was referred to as the Black Covered Bridge. It is most likely due to a white covered bridge being located downstream.

The Oxford bridge is unique for two reasons. It is the only covered bridge in Butler County on its original site. The bridge utilizes two truss types in the same structure: Childs and Long.

Drive Through History

The covered bridge tour truly is a drive through history. All but two of the bridges earned recognition on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Built in 2012, Hueston Woods Bridge is not on the list. Now a picnic shelter, Dixon’s Branch Covered Bridge did not make the historical list. Seven for nine is not bad!  

Please take the time to see the modern covered bridge and the picnic shelter. Although not on the prestigious list, they are unique rarities.

Where to Stay

There are many hotels in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. I encourage you to fully embrace the small-town life and stay in one of the communities with a covered bridge.

You can stay at the Hueston Woods Lodge. It is a beautiful retreat with a scenic lake view.  

Expedia is an excellent resource for a bed and breakfast or hotel. We often use Expedia when planning our adventures. The process is easy, and you can often find discounted rates. Eaton is a central location and a good place to start when exploring options. 

Wrap-Up: Covered Bridges in Ohio

If you love the combination of beautiful scenery and history, take a covered bridge tour in Ohio. Preble County offers an unforgettable scenic drive through history. Step into the time machine and enjoy your journey!

About the author

View of Glacier Bay from cruise ship

Scott McConkey is a nationally syndicated travel writer and the founder of Miles with McConkey, where he provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, and inspiration. His travel articles have been seen in The Associated Press wire, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, MSN, and many more. He and his wife, Julie, left the corporate world after nearly 30 years for a life of travel and adventure. What started as a gap year has evolved into a second act. She creates visual content while he utilizes the written word. Their goal is to create content inspiring others to travel more and live their best lives now.