Community,  Editorial

Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour

Are you looking for a scenic driving tour in Frederick, MD? Look no further than the Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour! In northern Frederick County, you’ll find three historic covered bridges: Utica, Loy’s Station, and Roddy Road. Not only are these bridges visually stunning, but they also boast different truss systems that add to their structural interest. These bridges are listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, making them even more special. The driving tour is approximately 33 miles long and starts at the junction of US15 and Old Frederick Road. Use caution as these bridges have weight and height restrictions, and the roadways can be narrow. So why not take a day to explore and appreciate these architectural marvels?

Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour

Driving Tour Directions

When embarking on the Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour in Frederick, Maryland, there are a few important guidelines to follow. First, it is important to note that all three of the bridges on this tour are listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, making them valuable pieces of architectural history. Additionally, each bridge has its own unique truss system, which adds to their structural interest.

Weight Restriction

One key consideration when driving on this tour is the weight restriction. All three bridges have a weight restriction of 30,000 lbs. It is important to ensure that your vehicle does not exceed this limit in order to preserve the integrity of the bridges and maintain their historical significance.

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Height Restriction

In addition to weight restrictions, two of the bridges also have height restrictions. The Roddy Road covered bridge is posted for an 8 foot 6 inch height restriction, while the Utica bridge is posted for a 9 foot 6-inch height restriction. It is crucial to take note of these restrictions and ensure that your vehicle can safely pass through without causing damage to the bridges or vehicles.

Cautionary Notes

When visiting these historic bridges, it is important to exercise caution and be mindful of the narrow roadways. These bridges are located in rural areas, and motorist may have difficulty seeing you. Always be aware of your surroundings and watch out for oncoming traffic when crossing the bridges.

Tour Starting Point

The tour begins just north of Frederick at the junction of US15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) and Old Frederick Road. From here, turn right onto Old Frederick Road, located on the east side of US15. Drive for approximately 1.5 miles and make a left onto Utica Road, which will lead you to the first covered bridge on the tour, the Utica Covered Bridge.

Tour Route

After exploring the Utica Covered Bridge, return to Old Frederick Road and make a left. Drive for 3.9 miles until you reach a stop sign, just before entering Creagerstown. At the stop sign, make a left onto MD550. Continue driving for 0.4 miles and make a right back onto Old Frederick Road. Travel for an additional 2 miles and make a left into the parking lot of Loy’s Station Park. This is where you will find the second covered bridge on the tour, Loy’s Station Covered Bridge.

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From Loy’s Station Park, take a left and drive through the bridge, and continue for 0.3 miles until you reach a stop sign. Make a left onto Rocky Ridge Road (MD77) and drive for 2.7 miles. At this point, make a right onto Apples Church Road in Thurmont, and continue straight for 1.6 miles until you reach the final covered bridge on the tour, the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

Return Route

To complete the tour and return to your starting point, leave the Roddy Road Covered Bridge’s parking lot and make a right onto Roddy Creek Road. Drive for 0.4 miles until you reach a stop sign at the junction of US15. From here, the ride back to the starting point is approximately 15 miles.

Utica Covered Bridge

Location

The Utica Covered Bridge is situated in northern Frederick County, Maryland. It can be found on Utica Road, which is accessed via Old Frederick Road.

History

The Utica Covered Bridge has a rich history dating back to its construction in 1850. It was originally built to provide access across Fishing Creek and served as an important transportation route for locals and travelers alike. Over time, the bridge underwent restoration efforts to preserve its historic charm and structural integrity.

Truss System

The Utica Covered Bridge features a single-span multiple kingpost truss system. This unique truss system consists of vertical posts connected by diagonal timbers, providing stability and support to the bridge structure.

Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour

Loy’s Station Covered Bridge

Location

Loy’s Station Covered Bridge is located within Loy’s Station Park, which is situated in northern Frederick County, Maryland. The park is easily accessible from Old Frederick Road.

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History

This picturesque covered bridge has a fascinating history that dates back to 1880 when it was originally constructed. The bridge served as a vital transportation link for the local community, allowing for the safe passage across Owens Creek.

Truss System

Loy’s Station Covered Bridge utilizes a multiple kingpost truss system, characterized by vertical posts connected by diagonal timbers. This type of truss system provides a sturdy and reliable framework for the bridge’s structure.

Roddy Road Covered Bridge

Location

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is nestled within the Graceham and Rocky Ridge communities of northern Frederick County, Maryland. It can be found on Roddy Road, which intersects with Apples Church Road.

History

Built in 1856, the Roddy Road Covered Bridge has stood the test of time and is an iconic landmark in the area. It played a vital role in connecting the local community and served as a vital transportation route for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Truss System

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge boasts a Burr arch truss system, which consists of multiple arches made from wooden timbers. This unique truss design offers exceptional stability and durability, making the bridge visually striking and structurally sound.

Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour

Other Historic Bridges of Frederick County

Exploring More Bridges

While the Historic Covered Bridges Driving Tour focuses on three specific covered bridges, Frederick County is home to several other historic bridges that are worth exploring. These bridges provide a glimpse into the area’s rich architectural heritage and contribute to the county’s cultural landscape.

Additional Information

For more information on the other historic bridges of Frederick County or to plan your visit to the covered bridges, visit the official website of the Frederick County Tourism Council. They provide comprehensive resources and details that will help you make the most of your driving tour and experience the beauty and history of these iconic structures.