Parke County Indiana is home to more than 30 covered bridges, located 80 miles west of downtown Indianapolis. Looking for a scenic road trip, or an exciting day trip from Indianapolis? Come visit the beautiful and historic covered bridges of Parke County. It’s nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life in Indy, and refreshing scenic routes are just a hop, skip and jump away.
Most of the covered bridges of Parke County are still in daily use. Area residents are proud of their beautiful covered bridges, preserved small towns and samplings of Amish country. Known as the Covered Bridge Capital of the World, Parke County has more covered bridges than any other county in the United States. In 1978, the county’s 31 covered bridges were added to the National Register of Historic Places. Now, the County Park Board manages and maintains the bridges for the enjoyment of future generations.
The Covered Bridge Festival brings masses of Hoosiers and travelers to Parke County each year. The festival began in 1957 to celebrate the covered bridges and the history of these structures. What started as a project to generate revenue for bridge upkeep has turned into a gigantic annual celebration. Artists, crafters and venders of all types bring their offerings to the Covered Bridge Festival each October. Indianapolis shopping lovers can enjoy an escape from the norm at this festival, where rare art pieces, unique crafts and other knickknacks are endless. There is no shortage of entertainment at the Covered Bridge Festival, street musicians and scheduled concerts are spread out all over the county.
The majority of the covered bridges of Parke County are made out of Poplar, a termite resistant wood that’s readily available in the area. For stability and strength, the arches, support beams, trusses and floor boards of the bridges are made from Oak. Because of their strong wood and arch structure, many of the bridges have an infinite amount of stability. The Conley’s Ford Bridge is different from the rest. Located in the southern part of the county, the Conley’s Ford Bridge is made almost entirely from White Pine, and it was erected in 1907.
Parke County was established in 1821. While the majority of Hoosier towns were converting to urban areas, Parke County has been preserved as a culturally rich rural community. The area used to be home to more than 50 covered bridges. Before the covered bridge preservation began, several bridges were lost to arson, or were torn down for other uses of the land.
Turkey Run State Park is located in Parke County, the perfect for a family camping trip or even a couple’s retreat. Hiking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding and camping are all popular things to do in the area. The county has such educational and historic value, making this a great trip for Indianapolis kids. For more information about he covered bridges of Parke County, or to plan a day trip from Indianapolis, click the county’s home page link below.
Covered Bridges of Parke County