Skip to main content

Travel New England - Quechee Gorge - Vermont's Little Grand Canyon

A popular stop along US 4 in Central Vermont, both the Quechee Gorge and Bridge have a fascinating history of their own.  The bridge - a 285 foot long steel arch structure that carries US 4 over the Ottauquechee River - was first built for rail cars.  Constructed in 1911, the Quechee Gorge Bridge had originally carried the tracks of the Woodstock Railroad 163 feet over the gorge.  The bridge, designed by John W. Storrs and built by the American Bridge Company of New York, replaced a wood truss structure that had crossed the gorge since 1875. 
 
With the demise of passenger railroad in the region, the bridge was retrofitted and converted to automobile use in 1933.  Since then, the Quechee Gorge Bridge has carried US 4 over the scenic landscape below.   Today, the bridge is the oldest remaining steel arch bridge within the state of Vermont.  Over the years, the bridge and gorge, known as "Vermont's Little Grand Canyon," has become a very popular sightseeing spot along Route 4.  Hiking trails run north and south along the gorge.  One trail heads to the bottom of the gorge providing spectacular views of the bridge high above the Ottauquechee.  Others opt to take in dizzying views of the land below from both sides of the bridge. 

The bridge is surrounded by Quechee State Park.  The park, which opened in 1965, features camping, hiking and fishing as some of its top activities.  Quechee State Park is open from mid-May through Mid-October.

The Quechee Gorge is 165 feet deep and is Vermont's deepest gorge.  It is estimated to have formed as a result of glacial activity around 13,000 years ago.



Sadly, over the last decade the bridge has been the site of numerous suicide attempts.  From 2007 through the Summer of 2018 - 14 suicides occurred at the bridge.  In the first half of 2018, four were committed.   In 2018, the Vermont Agency of Transportation installed a temporary nine foot chain-link barrier to deter any additional attempts.  This is in addition to numerous other steps Vermont has taken to curb suicides at the bridge since 2016.  A final solution that would include either a barrier wall or net below the bridge is planned to be in place by 2022. (1)




All photos taken by post author May 2005 and August 2006.

Further Reading:
Getting There:

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Breezewood - The Rise and Decline of a Highway Rest Stop

It's the Pennsylvania Turnpike Interchange most people hate - and with a passion.  The Breezewood Interchange - a junction of two Interstates (70 & 76) that became complicated due to archaic rules, rural politics and power, and an unwillingness to change.  At its romanticized best, this small unincorporated community of under 100 residents is a reminder of travel days of the 1950s-1970s; at its worst, it is a gradually dying relic of old motels and services that drivers are forced to slow down and drive through on their way to bigger and more modern destinations.

The Breezewood Interchange is an exception to the rule in the Interstate Highway System.  Depending on your direction, Interstate 70 joins or leaves the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) here.  However, unlike nearly every Interstate junction in the United States - Interstate 70 must traverse on a roughly 1/4 mile stretch of US 30.  A four lane highway complete with traffic lights, center turn lanes to cross traffi…

Just a good old fashioned roadgeeking trip

2020 as we all know has been a year unlike any other.   A number of planned trips for my family and for work have obviously been shelved.   So what can cure that itch to get out and explore.  For me, it was a simple four and a half hour loop north of my home.  
This was for me a good old fashioned roadgeek trip - an explore trip on some roads I hadn't checked out before.  In addition to checking out a few towns along some roads I have been on.  No expectations but the hope of discovering some new things and learn about them.
Route: Local Roads to NC 3 , NC 801, US 601, US 64, NC 901, NC 115, local roads home.
Part of the goal for the trip was to hopefully get additional towns and communities for the Carolina Crossroads project.  Fortunately, the trip didn't disappoint.  For the entire set on flickr - head here.

Bear Poplar was one of the more interesting community names.  Just down the road from here was a nice surprise.  The Mount Ulla community barn quilt is posted on the side o…

California State Route 283; former US Route 101 over the Rio Dell Bridge

This week we examine one of California's shortest State Highways; California State Route 283.  California State Route 283 includes the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge and is a former segment of US Route 101.  The photo below is the Rio Dell Bridge after the 1964 Christmas Floods which wiped out the northern approach span. 


California State Route 283 ("CA 283") is a 0.36 Mile State Highway between modern US Route 101/Redwood Highway and the community of Rio Dell in Humboldt County.  The key feature of CA 283 is the 1941 Rio Dell Bridge which was the second alignment of US Route 101.  The Rio Dell Bridge connected Scotia north over the Eel River via Wildwood Avenue to Rio Dell.  The Rio Dell Bridge is a steel truss design which 1,643.1 feet in length.  The Rio Dell Bridge is also known as; North Scotia Bridge, Eel River Bridge, Scotia-Rio Dell Bridge, Albert Stanwood Murphy Memorial Bridge, and the Eagle Prairie Bridge.  CA 283 is unsigned presently ranks as the second shortest State…