Covered Bridges of Bennington: Scenic Road Trip to Vermont’s Historic Icons

Bennington County, Vermont, is home to some of the most charming and historic covered bridges in the United States. These bridges, relics of a bygone era, provide a glimpse into the past with their unique architecture and historical significance. With five covered bridges that can all be explored in an afternoon, Bennington County offers a perfect opportunity for a scenic and educational road trip. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the history of covered bridges, the specific bridges in Bennington County, and tips for your own covered bridge tour.

History of Covered Bridges in America

Covered Bridges of Bennington, Vermont – Rusch To The Outdoors

Early Construction

The first covered bridge in America was constructed in Philadelphia in 1805. However, the peak period for building covered bridges spanned from 1825 to 1875. These structures were covered for two main reasons:

  1. Protection from Weather: The primary reason for covering bridges was to protect the wooden trusses and decks from rotting due to prolonged exposure to rain and snow. A covered bridge could last over 100 years, whereas an uncovered wooden bridge might only last about 20 years.
  2. Safety for Horses: The cover also helped prevent horses from being spooked by the rushing water below. Additionally, these bridges often served as gathering spots for various community events, including political rallies, lunch dates, religious meetings, and romantic rendezvous.

Transition to Modern Materials

By the mid-1800s, the introduction of iron trusses meant bridges could be built more economically and without the need for weather protection. As a result, covered bridges became more of a historical icon, unable to handle the heavy loads of modern traffic.

Planning Your Covered Bridge Road Trip

Vermont's Covered Bridges are Where History and Beauty Converge - Vermont Maturity

Suggested Itinerary


  1. Start your tour with the Silk Road Covered Bridge in Bennington. Enjoy a morning walk along the trails and take in the serene views of the Walloomsac River.
  2. Head to the Paper Mill Covered Bridge next. Park on the south end and explore the area, making sure to check out the historic dam and the picturesque fishing spots.

3. Visit the Burt Henry Covered Bridge in North Bennington. Take some time to enjoy McWaters Park, have a picnic, or explore the Edible Forest Garden.

4. Drive to the Chiselville Covered Bridge in Sunderland. Marvel at the height of the bridge and the scenic views of the Roaring Branch River. Take a short hike down to the river bank if you’re feeling adventurous.

  1. End your tour with the Arlington Green Covered Bridge. Stroll around the historic area, visit the nearby church, and maybe take a dip in the river if the weather is warm.

Tips for Your Trip

  • Timing: All five bridges can be visited in a single afternoon, but take your time to fully appreciate each location. Starting in the morning allows for a more leisurely pace.
  • Packing: Bring a picnic, plenty of water, and comfortable walking shoes. A camera is a must for capturing the picturesque scenes.
  • Season: While the bridges can be visited year-round, the best times are during the fall for stunning foliage or the summer for pleasant weather and outdoor activities.
  • Respect Private Property: Some areas around the bridges are private property. Be mindful and respectful of posted signs and local regulations.


The covered bridges of Bennington County are more than just historic structures; they are a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of a bygone era. Each bridge tells a story of the community it served and the people who built and used it. A tour of these bridges offers not only a glimpse into history but also a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Vermont. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply looking for a scenic road trip, the covered bridges of Bennington County provide a unique and memorable experience.