Covered bridges have long fascinated visitors in Maine. With their historic architectural style, Maine covered bridges invoke a heartwarming sense of nostalgia, comfort, and awe. Maine had 126 covered bridges at one point but is now down to just seven.
The Maine covered bridges are lovely, serene spots to photograph, paint, or just relax while observing the view. Many visitors enjoy having a picnic and sitting by the bubbling brooks and rivers that flow beneath the bridges. Or, you may go fishing at the riverbanks, walk across the bridges, and explore these structures.
About Maine Covered Bridges
Maine’s covered bridges were mostly constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All of the remaining bridges were part of the late 1800s era. While these historic structures have withstood time, they have not been without constant support and aid from the towns in which they were built.
All of the remaining Maine covered bridges have undergone some sort of repair, reconstruction, or modification over the years to maintain safety and allow visitors to enjoy the bridge designs for years to come. Since they are all constructed of wood, they’re susceptible to wood rot, flooding, and general damage.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident of Maine or a visitor, check out these seven historical Maine covered bridges around the state, and bring your camera to snap a selfie or gorgeous scenic photo.
Gorham & Windham
The oldest Maine covered bridge is Babb’s Bridge in Gorham and Windham. This bridge was originally built in 1840 to span across the Presumpscot River. It was vandalized and partially destroyed in 1973.
The Maine Department of Transportation reconstructed Babb’s Bridge shortly after the damage by the vandals. The reconstructed portion features queen-post trusses and was reinforced for traffic. In 1976, the bridge was opened back up to traffic.
Unfortunately, Babb’s Bridge has continued to be targeted by vandals throughout the last 30 years. Holes have been cut in the roof, and graffiti and accidents have all warranted repairs over the years.
While the bridge still stands, it is covered on the interior and part of the exterior with graffiti, so it might not be the best spot for taking scenic photographs.
Construction on the Bennett Bridge began in 1898 when abutments were created. Then, in 1901, the bridge was constructed atop the abutments. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1985 but was once used by many trucks in the logging industry and the many farmers in the vicinity.
The bridge is also referred to as the Bennet Bean Bridge, and it sits over the Magalloway River. It is 93 feet long and built with Paddleford trusses.
If you can find this off-the-beaten-path bridge, you’re in for a real photography treat. The bridge is picturesque and makes for a great place to take pictures throughout the year. Photographers flock to the bridge particularly in the autumn to catch the Maine fall foliage that surrounds the covered bridge.
Hemlock Bridge sits over the Saco River, welcoming guests across its well-preserved path. It has been designated as a Maine Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. When visiting, you will see a placard designating this distinction.
The bridge was built in 1857 using a Paddleford truss and wooden arches, and it was later reinforced in 1988. In fact, it is the oldest surviving example of a Paddleford truss system used on a Maine covered bridge.
The Lovejoy Bridge is the shortest of the Maine covered bridges at 70 feet long. It was built in 1867 to provide a route over the Ellis River. Surprisingly, it has held up very well. It was reinforced in 1984 and has continued to welcome through traffic ever since.
Lovejoy Bridge features timber and Paddleford trusses. Its rustic, weathered look makes for an amazing photo shoot subject. On sunny days, the covered bridge reflects beautifully on the Ellis River waters.
Another bridge built during the popular Maine covered bridge era is the Lowes Bridge. The bridge is 120 feet long and spans across the Piscataquis River.
Built in 1857, this bridge was completely destroyed during a flood in 1987. However, the town decided to rebuild the bridge using the original abutments. In 1990, the reconstructed bridge opened once again.
Since Lowes Bridge was reconstructed in modern times, it is quite sturdy and able to hold larger loads passing over it. Also, it was raised a bit higher than the original bridge in the hopes that flooding would not damage the structure.
Parsonfield & Porter
The Parsonfield-Porter Bridge is interchangeably referred to as the Porter-Paronsfield Bridge. It got its name from the two towns that opted to build the bridge in 1859 using wooden arches and the Paddleford truss style.
Spanning 152 feet across the Ossipee River, the bridge was closed to traffic in 1960 in favor of a new bridge that was built farther upstream.
Located in Corinth, the Robyville Bridge is the only Maine covered bridge that has shingles on its entire roof. The historic bridge was erected in 1876 over the Kenduskeag Stream and was later reinforced in 1984 to withstand traffic.
The Robyville Bridge is 73 feet in length and features Long trusses and abutments made of stone. It became a Maine Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2002 as the oldest surviving example of the Long truss system used for a Maine covered bridge. A placard at the bridge designates the landmark.
The Sunday River Bridge is known as the Artist’s Bridge. It was erected in 1872 and was once open to traffic, but it has been closed to traffic since 1958 when a bridge downstream was erected to provide easier access across the river. Visitors may walk across the bridge, but vehicles are not allowed to cross.
Spanning 87 feet across and built with Paddleford trusses, the bridge has been extremely popular over the years for photographers and painters. It got its nickname as the Artist’s Bridge from the frequent artistic visitors that use the bridge as a subject.
TRAVEL TIP: If you stop to play a round of mini golf at Big Adventure Mini Golf in Bethel Maine you will recognize the 50% scale replica of the Sunday River Bridge on the 12th hole of the course.
Add Viewing Maine Covered Bridges to Your Itinerary
It’s hard to believe that Maine once had over 100 covered bridges and is now down to only seven. With careful preservation, commitment from the town and residents to maintaining the bridges, and respectful visitors, these Maine covered bridges can be enjoyed for many more generations.
While most of the Maine covered bridges are off the beaten path in small towns, it’s worthwhile to spot at least one on your next trip to Maine. Seeing a Maine covered bridge in person, no matter the time of year, will invoke a wistful feeling and bring a smile to your face.
It will feel as if you’ve just stepped into a postcard or the set of a vintage film when you get to see the gorgeous, historic wooden architecture style and hear the rushing waters of the river beneath the bridge. Be sure to visit one of these amazing structures on your next Maine getaway.