Exploring the Kinzua Skywalk: Breathtaking Views in Kinzua Bridge State Park

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Have you heard about the Pennsylvania railroad bridge that was reduced to piles of twisted metal, resting on the valley floor below? Did you know that you can now walk out over part of the bridge for sweeping views of the gorge and the wreckage below? The Kinzua Skywalk is where you’ll find these views!

Suspended 225 feet above the ground, this breathtaking attraction, in more ways than one, offers visitors a unique and thrilling experience.

If you’re a fan of heights and stunning views, the Kinzua Skywalk is a must-visit destination.

Located in northern Pennsylvania, the Kinzua Skywalk was once part of the Kinzua Viaduct, a historic railroad bridge that spanned the Kinzua Gorge. However, in 2003, a tornado destroyed a portion of the bridge, leaving behind a captivating structure that has become a popular tourist spot.

Today, the Kinzua Skywalk stands as a testament to both the power of nature and the resilience of human engineering.

We’re sharing all the ins and outs of exploring the Kinzua Skywalk because we were so impressed with this structure ourselves. In this article, we will highlight the awe-inspiring views that await, both from on and around the platform.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or simply appreciate breathtaking landscapes, the Kinzua Skywalk is an attraction that should not be missed.

Towers from the damaged Kinzua Viaduct can be seen on the valley floor from the end of the Kinzua Skywalk.
Views from the end of the Skywalk

Exploring the Kinzua Sky Walk at Kinzua Bridge State Park

The Kinzua Sky Walk at Kinzua Bridge State Park is a remarkable engineering marvel that offers breathtaking views of the stunning Kinzua Gorge. Located near Mt. Jewett in Pennsylvania, this impressive attraction is constructed on the remaining steel towers of the historic Kinzua Viaduct.

As you walk along the Kinzua Sky Walk, you can marvel at the sheer scale and beauty of the Kinzua Gorge below.

Not only does the Kinzua Sky Walk offer stunning views, but it also serves as a cultural remnant of the region’s industrial past. The original Kinzua Viaduct was once the tallest railroad structure in the world, spanning the Kinzua Creek Valley with its impressive length.

As you walk out on the old railroad bridge, notice that there are 2 sets of tracks traveling down the middle of the bridge, quite close to each other. This design was a safety precaution put in place in case a train jumped the tracks while out in the middle of the bridge. The putter track would catch the train, keeping it on the bridge. Can you imagine?

For those seeking an unforgettable experience surrounded by natural beauty, the Kinzua Sky Walk is a must-visit destination, especially when exploring the Allegheny National Forest or traveling along on a historic Route 6 road trip.

A railraod track travels out to the horizon on a wooden bridge, the Kinzua Skywalk.
Notice the 2 sets of tracks still remaining. This is where you’ll begin walking out on the bridge.

Kinzua Bridge State Park

Kinzua Bridge State Park is home to the iconic Kinzua Sky Walk, and it sure is the star attraction. You shouldn’t just walk out on the skywalk during your visit, though. There is plenty more to explore.

Seasons and Hours

Kinzua Bridge State Park welcomes visitors year-round to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Kinzua Skywalk and its surrounding scenery.

Whether it’s the vibrant colors of spring, the sunny days of summer, the breathtaking foliage of autumn, or the serene winter landscape, there is always a perfect time to explore this remarkable destination.

The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center, located within the park, has varying hours depending on the season. From the middle of March through at least October, it welcomes visitors from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., providing ample time to take in the informational displays and learn about the park’s history.

During the winter months, the visitor center maintains slightly adjusted hours. It opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 4:00 p.m., ensuring visitors can still access essential services and resources to enhance their park experience.

It is closed on some holidays, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Please note that the Skywalk does close in times of severe weather, including high winds, heavy rain, and snow. Check with the park office for the most up-to-date conditions.

To ensure the safety and structural integrity of the skywalk, inspections, and routine maintenance planning are conducted by qualified engineers. This may result in the skywalk being closed for typically a day or two at a time during any time of the year.

This is a day-use park. There are no overnight facilities or camping. There is camping and lodging nearby, though! Stay nearby at an alpaca farmstead, enjoying an off-the-grid experience surrounded by plenty of four-legged friends.

Bettum’s Idlewild Family Campground is the nearest camping option.

Chapman State Park is also located in the Allegheny National Forest, but the two are separated by about an hour of driving.

Visitor Center and Park Office

The Visitor Center and Park Office at Kinzua Bridge State Park serve as a hub for visitors to interact with park staff and learn more about the rich history of the viaduct and the surrounding natural landscape.

Located within the park, the Visitor Center offers a range of amenities to enhance the visitor experience.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by a welcoming reception area, staffed by knowledgeable park personnel who are eager to assist and answer any questions.

The Visitor Center also features a well-stocked gift shop, where visitors can browse a variety of unique souvenirs and mementos to commemorate their visit.

One of the highlights of the Visitor Center is its collection of interactive exhibits that provide a deeper understanding of the park’s history and engineering significance.

You can find valuable resources, maps, and guides for not only this park but the entire surrounding area of the Allegheny National Forest to help plan your exploration of the park, surrounding trails, and beyond.

The Park Office staff are available to provide information on any inquiries or assistance that visitors may require.

A green building labeled the Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park office
Begin your adventure here at the visitor center. We found tons of great info in there!

Scenic Views

Now, on to the best part: the scenic views! The Kinzua Sky Walk in Kinzua Bridge State Park offers breathtaking scenic views that will leave you in awe.

From the Sky Walk, visitors can admire the towering viaduct, once the tallest railroad structure in the world, and appreciate the engineering marvel it represents.

You’ll also appreciate the sheer power of nature, viewing the twisted metal remains from the section ripped away by the tornado on the gorge floor below.

For nature enthusiasts, visiting the Kinzua Sky Walk during the fall foliage season is a must. The vibrant display of reds, oranges, and yellows against the backdrop of the Kinzua Valley is simply breathtaking. It’s the perfect time to capture stunning photos of the landscape.

When you get to the end of the Skywalk, 600 feet from land, be sure to look down! There is a “glass bottom” viewing platform, which you can stand on and look straight down to the Kinzua Valley floor.

The end of the skywalk is not the only spot where you can get spectacular views, though! After you’ve explored the bridge thoroughly, take the paved path to the left, traveling between the visitor center and the gorge.

From there, you’ll find more viewing areas, some with viewfinders. You can walk so far as to become up close and personal with the towers on the bridge underneath. You can also take the Kinzua Creek Trail the whole way down into the gorge, for an even different perspective!

With its scenic views, the Kinzua Sky Walk promises an unforgettable experience appreciating the natural beauty of the Kinzua Creek Valley.

Get up close views of the tornado damage through the view finders!

Getting to Kinzua Bridge State Park

Located in McKean County, Pennsylvania, Kinzua Bridge State Park is easily accessible, but it will certainly take some driving. The park is situated outside of the small town of Mt. Jewett, just off US Route 6.

Once you arrive, the park offers ample parking spaces for your convenience. There are also two electric vehicle charging spots near the picnic area.

Alternatively, if address or point of interest searches aren’t available, the GPS coordinates, Lat. 41.75952, Long. -78.58694, can also be used for navigation.

The park is conveniently located just four miles north of US 6 at Mt. Jewett on SR 3011.

Things to do Near the Kinzua Skywalk

For nature enthusiasts, nearby state parks such as Elk State Park, Bendigo State Park, and Chapman State Park provide opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. These parks offer even more scenic beauty.

Explore the Allegheny National Forest, where there are even more hiking trails, ATV trails, and waterways to explore. There are even a few hidden waterfalls in the Allegheny National Forest, like Hector Falls, if you know where to look.

If you’re interested in history and culture, a visit to the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford is a must. Learn about the fascinating history of these iconic American brands and explore a collection of unique exhibits and artifacts.

For those seeking outdoor adventure, the Pennsylvania Wilds region offers a vast wilderness waiting to be explored. From kayaking on the Allegheny River to hiking along the many trails, there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities in this pristine area.

Experience the beauty of the Kinzua Skywalk and Kinzua Bridge State Park, but don’t stop there! Discover the wonders of the surrounding areas, too. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or outdoor adventurer, there is so much to see near Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Can I Bring My Dog to Kinzua Bridge?

At Kinzua Bridge State Park, your furry friends are more than welcome to join you on your adventure! This dog-friendly park understands the importance of including our four-legged companions in outdoor activities.

However, there are a few guidelines that dog owners need to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

First and foremost, it is essential to keep your dog on a leash at all times while in the park. This not only ensures their safety but also respects the natural habitat and other visitors.

Additionally, it’s crucial to come prepared when bringing your dog to Kinzua Bridge State Park. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for your pup to stay hydrated and energized throughout the visit. It’s also a good idea to pack some basic first aid supplies, such as bandages and antiseptic, in case of any minor injuries.

While walking out on the Kinzua Skywalk was a little nerve-wracking for our pup at first, he quickly adapted and had a great time exploring the park with us.

Why is it Called the Kinzua Viaduct?

The name “Kinzua Viaduct” holds a significant historical meaning to the region. This remarkable bridge, originally constructed as a railroad trestle in 1882, served as a vital transportation link in McKean County, Pennsylvania.

The name “Kinzua” is derived from the Native American word “Kinzua” meaning “fish on a spear.” The bridge was named to honor the local Seneca tribe heritage and their close connection to the nearby Kinzua Creek.

The Kinzua Viaduct, also known as the Kinzua Bridge, was an engineering marvel of its time. Standing as the tallest railroad structure in the world at the time, it spanned the Kinzua Creek Valley, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

However, tragedy struck in 2003 when a tornado tore through the area, causing a portion of the bridge to collapse.

In the wake of this devastating event, efforts were made to restore and preserve the remnants. The Kinzua Skywalk was born, transforming the remains of the bridge into a stunning pedestrian walkway. The restoration project aimed to maintain the historical and structural integrity of the bridge while providing a safe and awe-inspiring experience for visitors. The skywalk opened in 2011.

Today, the Kinzua Skywalk offers visitors the opportunity to stroll along a 600-foot pedestrian walkway, with stunning views of the Kinzua Gorge and the surrounding forest floor

Views of the Kinzua Skywalk can be seen from all angles including on the bridge and from the side trails.

Can You Camp at Kinzua Bridge State Park?

While Kinzua Bridge State Park itself does not offer camping options, there are nearby options for visitors looking to spend the night in the area.

Elk State Park, 35 minutes to the south, does have a campground operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

One popular choice is the Kinzua East KOA campground, located about 20 minutes west. This campground offers a range of amenities, including RV sites, tent sites, and cozy cabins, making it a convenient choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Many campers say that it can be a pain to back campers and RVs into some of the sites, more so than many other places.

For those looking for a more rustic camping experience, the nearby Allegheny National Forest offers numerous campsites where visitors can pitch their tents and enjoy the peacefulness of the forest. With its extensive trail system and beautiful scenery, the Allegheny National Forest provides a great opportunity for outdoor adventure and exploration.

So while Kinzua Bridge State Park does not have camping facilities within its boundaries, there are several nearby options that cater to different camping preferences. Whether you prefer a campground with amenities or a more remote and natural setting, there are plenty of choices to accommodate your camping needs near Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Is the Kinzua skywalk free?

Yes! There is no park entrance fee. There is also no fee to explore the skywalk or the surrounding area.

The Kinzua Skywalk is not just an old, shaky bridge. Exploring the valley provides a breathtaking experience that will leave you in awe. The views and the experience on the Kinzua Skywalk are truly unforgettable.