Walk the Tracks Across the Sky
Once the World’s Longest, Highest Railroad Bridge
Kinzua Sky Walk offers a unique glimpse into the bridge’s history revealing the ingenuity, dedication and determination of its designers and builders.
Physical Address: 296 Viaduct Road, Mt. Jewett, PA 16740
Coordinates: N 41 degrees 45.078 W 78 degrees 34.846
The Kinzua Viaduct, when first constructed in May 1882, was the highest and longest viaduct in the world, measuring 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long. The need to transport coal, oil and lumber across the Kinzua Gorge inspired General Thomas Kane, president of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Coal Company and Octave Chanute, Chief Engineer for the Erie Railroad to design a colossal viaduct.
In 1900, the viaduct was rebuilt of steel to accommodate larger loads and the weight of modern train traffic In 1963, Gov. William Scranton signed legislation that provided for the acquisition of the viaduct and adjacent lands to become a state park. The Kinzua Bridge State Park opened in 1970. In 1977, the Kinzua Viaduct was placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks by the Federal Department of Interior.
The bridge stood for 121 years. The Erie Railroad operated trains across the viaduct from 1882 until 1959. After 28 years of inactivity, the Knox and Kane Railroad offered excursion passenger trains from Marienville (48 miles to the South by rail) to and across the bridge starting in 1987. These steam driven trains continued until 2002 and were the last trains to ever cross the bridge.
The bridge partially collapsed under the powerful winds of a tornado in 2003. In 2009, work started to reinvent the remaining towers of the historic viaduct as a pedestrian walkway. That plan was changed.
Today the Viaduct, has been reinvented as the Kinzua Sky Walk — a spectacular walkway that once again allows the public to “Walk the Tracks Across the Sky.” A partial glass-bottomed observation deck enables visitors to look down at the remaining towers supporting the historic structure.
The Kinzua Bridge State Park features lovely picnic areas, hiking trails, interpretive programs, group tent camping and scenic overlooks. A park pavilion may be rented for special events.
Did you know?
In the language of the Seneca-Iroquois, “Kinzua” is written as, Tgëhjowa (tgenh-joh-wawh!), which translates as “fish on a spear”.
The park is accessible via the Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway (SR 3011) which is a designated shared use hike/bike corridor, connecting Pennsylvania Route 6, just east of the village of Mount Jewett, to the Kinzua Bridge State Park. Request a free Travel Guide & Map!
Future plans at the park include the Kinzua Visitors Center which will feature classrooms, a visitor center, restrooms, and a small retail store along with interpretive programming and interactive displays on engineering, energy and the environment.
To schedule a group/motor coach tour or interpretive program, or for additional information, please call the Kinzua Bridge State Park: 814-778-5467 or mail in the Kinzua Bridge State Park Request Form – Group Tours
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You can own the award winning documentary “Tracks Across the Sky”, which is available in DVD format from our online store.
Relax and Have Fun with a Picnic Pavilion at Kinzua Bridge State Park
If you’re looking for a spectacular venue for your family reunion or large group outing, look no further than Kinzua Bridge State Park near Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania. Here you can gather in the great outdoors with friends and family at your own picnic pavilion while pondering the dramatic backdrop offered by the Kinzua Viaduct.
Advertised in the 1880s as the eighth wonder of the world at 2,054 feet long and 301 feet high, the Kinzua Viaduct was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003. In 2011, this engineering masterwork was reinvented as a new pedestrian walkway where visitors can walk the “Tracks Across the Sky.”
A picnic pavilion makes a great home base for leisurely strolls 600 feet out onto the Sky Walk, where you can gaze across miles of breathtaking scenery, view mangled support towers, and peer down into the Kinzua Gorge through a glass floor at the end of the walkway. Read More »