While we love to travel, we can’t always get too far from the city. But luckily for us, there are a ton of neat places just a few hours’ drive from the ‘Burgh. One of those places is the Allegheny National Forest, just under 3 hours north of the city.
There’s a ton of great hiking, boating and kayaking, and of course the gorgeous Rimrock Overlook. But the one place we’ve somehow never visited in all the years we’ve been going to the ANF is the famous Kinzua Bridge.
That decision could not have been any more timely: on July 21, 2003, an F1 tornado hit the side of the bridge. It lifted 11 of the bridge’s towers into the air and threw them down on the ground. (Luckily, the workers who were in the process of repairing the bridge had abandoned their work for the day when the storms started rolling in, so no one was present to be hurt.)
In the years following the tornado, the remaining structure was turned into a viaduct with an observation station at the end. There is a hiking trail which leads down to the fallen towers, as well as a nice picnic area at the top of the park.
The planks on the walking aisles are quite close together, but in the middle, there are pretty sizable gaps. Needless to say, I was freaking the hell out when we tried to cross over the tracks. You could lose a flip flop down there!
At the end of the viaduct, you can walk out onto a glass floor and see beneath you. This is actually not *quite* as scary as walking over the railroad tracks, but still pretty terrifying if you’re me. If you’re all the little kids who were there when we were, it’s not scary at all. I am a wuss about certain things.
The mangled steel is so creepy and impressive. Just imagining the force of the tornado that blew through this park and ripped those steel towers out of the ground gives you chills. I love that they’ve just left the towers there. The fact that the wind just destroyed this steel… it blows your mind.
If you ever take a trip up into the Allegheny National Forest, Michael and I highly suggest that you make a stop at the Kinzua Bridge. It’s well worth the detour!