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Drive the Covered Bridge Trail in Blount County

Oneonta, Alabama

based on 2 reviews


Added by Ricky Turner

I've always had a desire to find the covered bridges around the state.

I'll be honest, I've gotten a little caught up (obsessed) in the Overland hype the past few weeks and wanted to get out and explore. I didn't want to start off with anything crazy knowing the kids would lose interest pretty quickly. I sat at my desk and did some research and I'm glad that I did. A quick Google search of local covered bridges brought up two that were pretty close to the house but after reading more, I found that both are now pedestrian bridges. That kind of took all the fun away for me as I wanted to drive through a few. I wanted to hear the creaking of the wood. I wanted the family to experience them as they should be. After I found the initial two (pedestrian) bridges, I came across what is known as The Blount County Covered Bridge Trail. BINGO!

I mapped it out so that we could hit all 3 before lunch and then make our way over to Rickwood Caverns State Park as a surprise stop on the way home. I entered my address as our starting point, Easley Covered Bridge as stop A, Horton Mill Covered Bridge as stop B, Swann Covered Bridge as stop C, Rickwood Caverns State Park as stop D, then home. Total trip time (without stops) 3:13. 

Stop A - Easley Covered Bridge was just outside of Oneonta. A turn off of the main drag, about a mile through a rural neighborhood and there she was. Built in 1927, Easley is easily the nicest of the 3 but the smallest and least trafficked for sure. (Great for photos!) Owned by the county she was closed in 2009, restored and then reopened traffic in 2012. Listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on March 3, 1976 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 20, 1981. Short and sweet, just like this bridge.

Stop B - Horton Mill Covered Bridge was the next stop. The main road to this next covered bridge will take you back in time. When we finally approached it, my Wife was not too keen on the idea and stiffened up in her seat. She knows I'm not turning around at this point. Built in 1934 Horton is much taller than Easley. It is the highest covered bridge above any U.S. waterway standing at 70 feet above the Calvert Prong section of the Little Warrior River. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 29, 1970. Closed in 2007 thanks to some asshats that vandalized it, it was reopened in March of 2013. (You'll notice that all 3 bridges are monitored by cameras because of even more recent vandalism.) Upon entry, and of course seeing my Wife's uneasiness, I rolled the windows down and crept along the 220 foot long monstrous wooden structure taking in every creak and moan as we crossed. If I'm being honest, I got a little nervous on this one but it was great! Once through to the other side, the road wraps around to a main road and just to the left there is a parking area with a walkway back down to the bridge. In one of the pictures you can see the Horton Mill Bridge sign. What you don't see in this photo is the dead dog that was laying right underneath which garnered instant attention from the kids. One of them tried "taking a picture of the sign" but she was aiming her iPad mini right at the base of the sign. Yeah, I had to play bad Dad and not allow that one. The picnic tables are concrete if I remember correctly and they're not positioned in the best place as the area was a bit overgrown and sadly could use some love. After a few photos and taking Horton Mill all in, we climbed the steps back to the Jeep. Getting out of this parking area and making a left onto the busy speedy road in front wasn't easy. 

Stop C - Swann Covered Bridge is located in Cleveland, AL. It was about a 20 minute drive from Horton but we took in the country side scenery and were there before we knew it. Constructed in 1933 Swann is the middle child of the three. Just like the other two, Swann is owned and maintained by the county and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 20, 1981. Upon approach, this one has a bit of a blind entry and is a bit startling when you inch around to find someone coming at you. Did I mention that all of these bridges are one lane? I think Swann was the one that spooked me the most mainly just because of the look of it. Standing 27 feet above the Locust Fork section of the Black Warrior River and running (the longest of the 3) 324 feet, it looked like it was made of three sections pieced together. Once on the other side of this one, there is a small strip of parking to the right and an area where trucks or Jeeps can access the river bed. This seemed like it could be a good kayak launch area or maybe even a swimming hole. I don't remember the current being too crazy. There were some other people down there fishing and you could tell it was a well used area. Up by the bridge though, it was difficult to get good pictures because its a well used bridge with blindspots. The area underneath though presents some great photo ops. 

By the time we finished up at Swann, the morning had gotten away from us and we were unable to go to the Caverns. Tip: use the restroom while travelling to and from each of the bridges as there is nowhere at the sites to go. All in all we enjoyed our morning road trip. The kids found it very interesting and were busy at each location taking pictures with their iPads. We will definitely be searching for our next roadtrip adventure soon!

Please feel free to critique any inaccuracies if you're more knowledgeable on the areas mentioned. I want to know the correct info rather than believing something incorrect. Also, this is my first "Adventure Post" so my apologies if it's a bit longwinded. I tried to give the Cliff's Notes version.

Easley Covered Bridge info - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Horton Mill Covered Bridge info - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Swann Covered Bridge info - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Blount County Covered Bridge Trail map and short article from AL.com - http://blog.al.com/bargain-mom...

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Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

Drive the Covered Bridge Trail in Blount County Reviews

Despite the chilly weather (mid 40s-50s), this outing was incredibly pleasant and relaxing. Easley Bridge was a charming hidden treasure, Horton Mill Bridge was a magnificent, 100-year old piece of workmanship, and Swann Bridge was a perfect combination of both! I highly recommend this trail for a nice nature outing or self-care date! My only suggestion is to choose a day with warm weather and plenty of sun.

I did the Easley bridge and the Horton Hill one. Nice little photo spots for my Jeep as well!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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