“second highest railway arch bridge ever built”
This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner. The second highest railway arch bridge ever built in the United States, the Vance Creek arch bridge soars 347 feet (106 mtrs) above a thick forest valley in Washington State’s Olympic peninsula. Originally constructed in 1929 by the Simpson Logging Company, the bridge was eventually abandoned and has neither tracks nor a roadway on top of it. Located several miles north on the same rail line and still in use as a road bridge since 1950 is the High Steel bridge over the South Fork of the Skokomish river and the highest arch bridge ever built for a U.S. rail line at 365 feet (111 mtrs). Both bridges were built by the American Bridge Company.
There are two approaches to this bridge. One is right off NF-23 and the other (longer) is off NF-2341/2199 but requires you to trespass on private property owned by the logging company. I made the mistake of taking the longer approach because it is supposedly more scenic, but someone locked the gate where NF-2341/2199 juts off NF-23 after I got in and I was trapped for a little while and almost arrested for trespassing (the logging company is very strict about enforcing this). Luckily a truck driver got to me before Security did and he helped me find someone with a key that wouldn't turn me in to Security. That being said, this bridge is amazing and terrifying all at the same time. It is well worth the drive from Seattle to check out. Just be aware that the bridge is made from railroad ties with approx 4" gaps between them. So as you are walking out across it, and are looking down at your feet to make sure you're footing is sure, you get the privilege of seeing the water 347' below.
I went on March 21st, 2016. Sheriffs are towing vehicles?? Really? They aren't going to get a tow truck all the way out there. And even if they do, there's always multiple cars there. You're not going to get towed. Don't let these negative reviews scare you and make you afraid to go see something that will certainly be worth it.
You'll drive through a really beautiful rural farming stretch of land for a few miles, then you'll make a turn and start up a hill. The road will turn to gravel for a few miles, then turn back into paved road for a bit. You're on NF-23. Park where it looks like they don't want you to park. And you're there. Walk down the trail they don't want you to walk down. And step over the trees they don't want you to step over, and see the bridge they don't want you to see. You'll think everyone who stayed home was an idiot and you'll be right.
I went here on 09/29/14
The trail to get into this place has been absolutely destroyed to keep people out. There are cut down trees and big trenches built into the path from start to finish. It is not an easy hike as you are going over and under constantly.
That being said it is one of the coolest places I have ever been in my life. The view down the valley and straight down is amazing and the rush of being that high up in itself is crazy!
I have talked to a few people who have been going for 10-30 years and they used to drive their jeeps and motor bikes across it however recently (since it became popular) there are a few holes in the middle from people having fires and burning through sections!
All in all I highly recommend checking this place out although you can't be afraid of heights and be ready for a crazy hike and a ticket (so I hear)
Went there today. Took the short trail right of NF-23. I parked at the trailhead which is covered by knock down trees. The trees serve zero purpose, they actually help you see the trail even more! I was up there for like 3 hours, saw 4 other cool people. Came down, my car was right where I left it and I left unscathed. Overall, incredible place. I suggest going but we aware you could get a ticket. For me, once I was actually on the trail, I just accepted I was going to get a ticket. But I didn't, so all is well. I went on a Friday at 2pm. Also, since I'm not from Washington, I put "Vance Creek Viaduct" in google maps, then dropped a pin at the trail off of NF-23. Then just navigated to that pin. Awesome views. Beautiful all around. Just be careful.
We tried to get there at the beginning of August.
There was a guy at the end of the driving way - he told us that we cannot go there because pass to the bridge is blocked by landowner.
He looked like a ranger though he didn't wear a uniform.
There was another visitor - lady in the car nearby. She told us that recently there was an accident on the bridge - 5 drunk guys were walking there and one of them fall down - obviously dead..
Needless to say we are sad we didn't get there.
Just went there and took the 'short' trail, which did NOT have any 'no trespassing' signs. There were other people there, not too many, but I'm sure on a sunny day it would have been more crowded.
The bridge is AWESOME.
For the 'short' trail, which is nice and seemingly legal, drive past NF-2341/2199(which has a 800 sign and a gate blocking it) onto the paved road. Drive the paved road for like, 400 feet and immediately on your left, the first left you see with a trail, is the short path. It has a ditch to keep cars out. But, yeah....be careful.
Went last weekend 30April16. It was pretty strait forward. Yes plenty of signs saying no trespassing. But there is a trail without them. Park on the FS road with the other 15-20 cars doing the same thing. May get a ticket but that's the chance you take. The whole time I was out there was clear.
Beautiful place and well worth the drive. We personally had trouble finding which trail to take. The 'short' trail is highlighted by a bunch of cut down trees and even has a ditch in attempt to keep people out - as you are trespassing on private property. We had no trouble with anyone enforcing this when we were there unlike some other reviewers. Although we arrived early around 8:30am and I believe that helped our case a lot. We found parking in an abandoned driveway nearby. The trial itself has cut down trees and small creeks you have to cross all along the way. I'd strongly recommend wearing hiking boots or maybe even rain boots if you choose to go on a drizzly day. The trail probably took us about 15 minutes and was well worth it! The bridge is beautiful and a sight you have to see for yourself.
Despite the scary review from Sfleming265, which is totally correct - you should not go! - I went today. When I parked, I was freaked out by the No Trespassing / Criminal prosecution signs. But I gathered my courage or stupidity, whichever you prefer, and added my boot prints to the well-worn trail. I took the short trail from 23. It's there, it's beautiful, I was scared, but I did it. I'm so glad my vehicle wasn't towed.
Interestingly, there was a vehicle there when I arrived, engine running, window open, but nobody in the driver seat. When I got back, it was still there, engine running, but the window was rolled up. Out of state plates. This alone made me want to drive away. But I finally decided they were almost certainly not in the least interested in me; they were probably running their car to stay warm and had likely spent the night in their van in that spot.
Does anyone know how to get ahold of the landowners?
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Credit Cards not Accepted
Not Wheelchair Accessible
No Public Restrooms