Nebraska’s landscape offers many diverse environments, cultural celebrations, and more. Colloquially called the Corn Huskers state, this Midwest destination produces a substantial amount of beef and corn. It even hosts the College Baseball World Series. When you decide to drive through the lush greenery that is Nebraska, most of the areas are unshaded as the sun beats down on the pavement. However, a few covered roads offer the perfect blend of nature and comfort.
There are only a few covered bridges in Nebraska to drive down. During the daytime, these bridges offer a unique way to tour through forests on the way to your destination. However, experiencing these bridges at night makes some drivers feel like they are in a scary movie. Let’s look at the most beautiful covered bridges in Nebraska and the nature surrounding them.
Construction and Repair of Nebraska’s Bridges
Nebraska’s covered bridges are such a significant path to take because there are so few of them. Despite having over 15,000 bridges across the state, only a handful of covered bridges are on that list. Why doesn’t Nebraska have more bridges with this coverage? A lot of the reasons are due to their historical significance.
In the early days of developing the United States and its roads, these covered paths made walking with a horse or on foot much easier. Upkeeping the older bridges is substantially more expensive, so they don’t get as much attention. If you are lucky enough to go on a drive on one, you are one of the few. While some states have hundreds of covered bridges, Nebraska barely has a dozen, and several aren’t even wide enough for more than two people to walk.
Covered Bridges in Nebraska
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
Found in Kearney, the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument provides access across Skinny River, taking you to a housing development in Ginger Cove. Sitting a little more than a quarter of a mile from 1-80, this covered bridge is 309 feet wide and 50 feet across. With a bright white Pegasus at the highest point of the building, it was erected in 2000.
To open this monument and covered bridge, Nebraska paid about $60 million. If you go into the attached building near the road, you have a chance to see some of the historical relics of the American West. Since the museum directly connects to the covered bridge, it currently is the only museum to span across an interstate highway. Owned by the Great Platte River Road Archway Foundation, the exhibit is available to anyone for a small admission fee. If you don’t want to stop, continue along the bridge to continue on I-80.
Ginger Cove-Skinny River Bridge
Set up to look like a house, you may not even realize that this bridge is safe to walk. The covered bridge on the Skinny River is nestled within a lush green forest known as the Platte Valley Township. It is about 1.8 miles from the nearest junction. It stretches 60 feet across a river, giving you the space to walk across safely.
To reach the bridge, go 1.8 miles west of US-275, on the northwest side of the Valley. It is on the left side of Ginger Cove Road. Despite its size, this bridge offers one of the only paths from Ginger Cove Road, on a peninsula surrounded by almost every side. Hidden within the woods, anyone only needs to drive this bridge to reach the housing development.
Koi Lagoon Bridge
One of the most common covered bridges to walk isn’t part of a road or a river – it’s in a zoo! At the Omaha Zoo, there’s a beautiful and colorful koi lagoo, providing the perfect view as you walk along the path. It is almost half a mile from 1-80, situated on Bert Murphy Avenue. To get to the zoo, you need to go to the easternmost edge, which is across from the Desert Dome.
While you stand under the shade of the bridge, make sure to bring some food. The zoo lets you feed the koi, even from the bridge. As they dart around, you get to have a glimpse of a long-standing bridge meant only for people to walk on. While zoo officials might take carts to get around, this path isn’t made to provide public transportation.
Duane E. Carman Memorial Bridge
One of the most beautiful sights to see in Nebraska is the Duane E. Carman Memorial. Rather than constructing this bridge as a museum or a small path over a small river, this bridge is entirely made of reclaimed materials from old buildings. Carman created the plans for this idea while studying at Southeast Community College, basing the design on Vermont styles.
While the bridge is named for Carman, it was hardly an independent project. The only reason the bridge ever became a reality was due to the locals’ funds contributed to the cause. Though Carman passed in the 1990s, his idea lives on.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jacob Boomsma/iStock via Getty Images
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