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Walk 375 Feet Above Olympic National Forest on Washington’s High Steel Bridge

Washington Art + Architecture
by Matador Creators Jan 10, 2023

High Steel Bridge is one of Washington State’s most impressive engineering marvels. Heck, it’s one of the prettiest bridges in the country. The tallest railroad bridge in the US at 375 feet high, and one of the tallest bridges in the US at large, High Steel Bridge spans 685 feet of the South Fork of the Skokomish River in northwest Washington, roughly two hours west of Seattle. It’s also open to pedestrians — at least the ones who can handle the dizzying heights — making High Steel Bridge one of Washington’s most exhilarating feats of engineering, too.

@visit @Jake Guzman crossing the tallest bridge in Washington State. #visitwashington ♬ original sound – Visit

High Steel Bridge was originally built by the Simpson Logging Company in 1929. It was the second steel bridge built by the logging company in the Olympic Peninsula after Vance Creek Bridge, across which 750 tons of steel were hauled during the construction of High Steel Bridge. The fact that these two arched bridges are made of steel rather than timber, the more common material of their time, is part of what made the massive structures so noteworthy.

In the 1950s or 1960s, High Steel Bridge was paved with concrete and converted to road use. Vehicles cross to this day, although traffic is minimal, but the bridge also attracts thrill-seeking nature lovers who cross on foot to admire the plunging views into the forest below.

How to get to High Steel Bridge

High Steel Bridge sits roughly 20 minutes north of Shelton, Washington, on US Forest Service Road 2340. To reach the bridge, follow Highway 101 from Shelton and take the West Skokomish Valley Road exit. From there, after about 10 minutes, take a slight right onto NF 23 and drive uphill, through the gravel portion of the road, until you see a sign for High Steel Bridge 3 on the right. Take the exit and drive down NF 2340 until you reach the bridge.

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