Vance Creek Bridge: The Highest Railway Bridge in Washington State

May 24, 2023

Vance Creek Bridge: The Highest Railway Bridge in Washington State

Completed in 1929, Vance Creek Bridge is a railway bridge located in Mason County, Washington State. It was originally built by the Simpson Logging Company for timber transportation purposes.

The Stats

The bridge stands at a height of 347 feet and spans over 800 feet across. It is the tallest railway bridge in the state of Washington and one of the tallest in the United States. The bridge was constructed using steel and iron, and its construction allowed for the transport of lumber across the canyon. Its impressive structure and height have made it a popular destination for hikers and photographers alike.

Abandoned Status

In 1957, the Simpson Logging Company ceased operation, causing the bridge to be abandoned. Since then, the bridge has been the subject of numerous discussions regarding its destruction or preservation. Despite the lack of maintenance and the potential risk of collapsing, the bridge has held up surprisingly well over the years and still attracts visitors.

Hiking to Vance Creek Bridge

Hiking to Vance Creek Bridge is a popular activity enjoyed by many visitors. The trailhead is located near the town of Shelton and is approximately a two-mile hike to the bridge. The route is marked with signs and offers stunning views of the surrounding forest and creek. Visitors are advised to exercise caution while hiking to the bridge and to avoid standing on the bridge itself, as it is unsafe and has been the site of several accidents.

Preservation Efforts

Many preservation groups and individuals have advocated for the preservation of Vance Creek Bridge and its history. These groups recognize the importance of the bridge’s engineering and construction, as well as its historical significance to the logging industry in Washington State. Despite the challenges of preserving such a large and inaccessible structure, these groups remain committed to ensuring that the bridge remains intact for future generations to appreciate.


Vance Creek Bridge is a remarkable engineering feat and a testament to the logging industry that once flourished in Washington State. It remains a popular destination for hikers and photographers and continues to spark discussions about its preservation and historical significance. Whether you’re hiking to the bridge or simply admiring it from afar, there’s no denying that Vance Creek Bridge is a Washington State icon that deserves to be preserved and celebrated.



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