11 votes

Vance Creek Viaduct


File:Vance Creek bridge.JPG

Photo taken by Dog Walking Girl

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)

View this photo at en.m.wikipedia.org

BH Photo #276070


Street Views 


Vance Creek Bridge - Phantom 2 Drone

Spencer Findlay


At over 800ft long and standing 347ft tall, this massive steel trestle is the second tallest railway arch ever built in the United States, and is one of the tallest railroad bridges in North America.


Massive steel arch bridge over Vance Creek on Simpson Railroad
Mason County, Washington
Built 1929 by American Bridge Co. for Simpson Timber rail logging operations, abandoned 1985
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Simpson Railroad (STC)
Steel arch
Length of largest span: 422.0 ft.
Total length: 827.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1982
Also called
STC - Vance Creek Viaduct
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.33459, -123.32121   (decimal degrees)
47°20'05" N, 123°19'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/475733/5242396 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Vance Creek
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82004266 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 57379 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 7, 2021: New photos from Mike Goff
  • December 3, 2019: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • February 12, 2019: New photo from Luke
  • August 29, 2018: New Street View added by J.P.
  • November 13, 2017: New Street View added by Clark Vance
  • November 12, 2017: Updated by Luke: Noted that decking has been removed.
  • March 29, 2017: New Street View added by Luke
  • April 26, 2015: New video from Will Truax
  • March 3, 2014: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • March 2, 2014: New photos from Nathan Morton
  • February 26, 2014: Photo imported by Dave King
  • January 17, 2014: Updated by Luke Harden: Updated status: Bridge is part of a trail.
  • July 27, 2013: Updated by Dylan VanAntwerp: Added categories "Simpson Logging Co.", "Simpson Timber Co.", "railroad"


  • Dylan VanAntwerp - dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com
  • HighestBridges.com - by Eric Sakowski
  • Vance Creek Bridge at Sunset - Photographers Panorama
  • Luke
  • Nathan Morton - morton890 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Clark Vance - cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com
  • Will Truax - Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com


Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted April 8, 2021, by Mike Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It is tough, we deal with these types of folks on our regular open to traffic bridges within the public view. I can't imagine trying to enforce limits on a remote private bridge like the timber company has to do at Vance Creek.

We actually had someone get a hold of one of our state issued keys and did some crazy stuff on a couple bridges in Portland. Of course they had to post it on YouTube.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted April 7, 2021, by Luke

Mike, I fear your grumpy old man yelling will fall on dead ears, as I was smack dab in the middle of nature/outdoorsy groups on tumblr pleading with them to be smart about it and just visit the similar, publicly accessible arch nearby if they really needed that selfie itch.

They didn't listen in 2013/4... ...I doubt they'll listen in 2021

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted April 7, 2021, by Patrick Gurwell (pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nice post.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted April 7, 2021, by Mike Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I finally got to make an unexpected short visit to the Vance Creek Bridge last month.

The bridge is simply an amazing structure! The arch is massive, the steel work beautiful and the walk in great. Certainly worth the visit for bridge hunters.

Now the grumpy old man rant about social media influencers...

If you so choose to visit this bridge by all means take the hike out there enjoy the bridge for what it is, even make that Instagram post, but for goodness sakes don't climb on the structure!

The private owner does not want the liability. They have placed razor wire around the access points, posted numerous signs, taken the deck off a portion of the bridge and people still feel it is their right to walk out on the bridge and take a selfie. If people do not start respecting the owner's wishes the bridge will be locked away from view. Please respect the private owner!

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted August 29, 2018, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Just added a google street view that shows an amazing. overview shot from a drone.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted August 28, 2018, by Luke

Good news. According to https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article216692430.html... the bridge is not doomed, as the company deemed it too expensive/too environmentally destructive to do so.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted January 16, 2018, by John Taubeneck (jtaub [at] juno [dot] com)

The last log train crossed this bridge in 1985, not 1950. I rode over it in the cab of a locomotive in about 1982.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted November 12, 2017, by Don Morrison

Just like one of my favorite Eagles songs, "The last Resort", actually the last song on the 1976 "Hotel California" LP.

"They called it paradise, I don't know why

You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye"

... About people flocking to a place of interest, and destroying what made it special...

Oh, and IPA-swilling? LOL

IPAs are like opinions - everyone's got one, don't wanna hear about it.

I swill Scotch ales & stouts and Belgian ales, among others. 8^D

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted November 12, 2017, by Luke

I wish I could say this was shocking news, but having witnessed firsthand the "intellectual fortitude" of some members of the "adventure culture" that made this bridge famous on instagram and tumblr, I'm surprised it hasn't been demolished already due to some IPA-swilling simpleton's family suing the forestry company that owns it for "wrongful death".

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted November 12, 2017, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

Bridge is doomed according to this story:


Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted July 30, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

In my experience, lack of awareness of historic bridges does far more damage than awareness. Vandals do damage bridges, however, far more numerous and destructive are the owners of historic bridges, who seek to demolish the bridges they own. The Forest Service probably would like to demolish this bridge. The only way this can be prevented is by preservationists being aware of the bridge and fighting to save when an attempt to demolish the bridge is made.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted July 29, 2013, by K. A. Erickson

This bridge is one of a few I chose out of personal reasons not to add.

One is that they, being forest service and private timber company DO NOT WANT people on it for safety reasons. A rail buff club sought and received permission to enter on the Simpson side for photographing.

Of course many people do indeed venture out there regardless. The deck has singe marks from lightning strikes and on at least one occasion purposely set fire mid span. There has been attempts to knock off the spacings and the railings for the side area.

That's the nature of society though ... vandals will eventually find and destroy these diamonds in the rough regardless of how many roadblocks placed to get there. Another reason I did not add, why draw more attention? There once was mention of repairing, making it into a trail system but ... money is an issue.

I'd volunteer to take you there Mike, other bridges ... I'm sure you'd enjoy. Perhaps one day the yearly Bridgehunter's event will be held in the Pacific Northwest.

Vance Creek Viaduct
Posted July 29, 2013, by Mike Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I am glad to see this bridge was added. It is one of the many notable bridges in Washington State and finally has a spot on bridgehunter.

I keep thinking I will get up that way and visit these two massive structures, but still have not had any luck.

Nice work Dylan!