Are you familiar with this covered bridge? If you’ve ever driven Highway 126 from Eugene to Florence then you should be. It is so incredibly close to the highway you’ll wonder how you’ve missed it. However, since it isn’t visible from the highway (at least, not that I’ve seen), then, like me, you’ve probably driven past it many, many times without knowing it.
It is the Wildcat Bridge. Built in 1925, it spans Wildcat Creek right before it joins the Suislaw River, a stone’s throw from Highway 126 between Walton and Mapleton.
Unique features of this 75 foot-long bridge include the window on the west side, which allows motorists to see oncoming traffic on this curving road. There is also easy access to the river (across the bridge on the north side) which allows for an easy, riverside view of the bridge. You can drive across the Wildcat bridge, but since the road is so quiet, it is fun to walk across, too.
Here’s how to find it:
Head out Highway 126 from Eugene to Florence. 20 miles past the light at Veneta you will turn left (south) at the Whitaker Creek /Clay Creek Recreation Area turnoff. Off the highway, you’ll turn right, go under Highway 126 and the railroad tracks and the Wildcat Bridge is right there!
After you are done enjoying the bridge, if you’d like to escape the hectic traffic on Highway 126 for a few miles, head left (west) on Richardson Road. This is a mostly one-lane gravel road that follows the Siuslaw River for 3 miles, before rejoining Highway 126.