Vance Creek Bridge

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Vance Creek Bridge
Shelton, Washington, United States
347 feet high / 106 meters high
422 foot span / 129 meter span


The second highest railway arch bridge ever built in the United States, the Vance Creek arch bridge soars 347 feet (106 mtrs) above a thick forest valley in Washington State’s Olympic peninsula. Originally constructed in 1929 by the Simpson Logging Company, the bridge was eventually abandoned and has neither tracks nor a roadway on top of it.

Located several miles north on the same rail line and still in use as a road bridge since 1950 is the High Steel bridge over the South Fork of the Skokomish river and the highest arch bridge ever built for a U.S. rail line at 365 feet (111 mtrs). Both bridges were built by the American Bridge Company.

By 2013 the abandoned Vance Creek Bridge had become a viral tourist destination on various social media platforms with people posting selfies in various poses. Some people relax with their legs dangling over the side or in extreme cases have hung by their hands precariously from the end of one of the steel beams that stick out from the edge of the deck.

In recent years the local authorities have tried to crack down on hikers by giving no trespassing tickets as well as placing barbed wire around the easy to access north side. If you decide to visit be careful and don't take any foolish risks. Currently there is more then 10,000 photos posted to Instagram with the hashtag #VanceCreekBridge.

The good news for thrill-seekers is the nearby High Steel Bridge is just as spectacular as Vance Creek and easy to access. At certain times of the year you can even bungee jump from the High Steel Bridge.

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Vance Creek Bridge Elevation


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Image by Elevated Perspective.

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Image by Elevated Perspective.


Vance Creek and High Steel Bridges Direct Size Comparison


Trespassers were once blocked on the north approach by a huge circular drum. Image by Eric Sakowski /


In later years the drum was moved onto the ground. Image by FunForLouis.

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More recent images show the drum is gone but there is now barbwire around the foundation. Property owners Green Diamond Resource Company have also removed about 100 feet of wood decking and rail from the north side of the bridge. Image by Bytwowanderingsoles.



A hiker decided to retrieve a dropped phone and ended up sliding down the steep slope beneath the bridge and had to be hospitalized. Image by masonwebtv.


Image by imcannabess.

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Image by Leslie Carvitto.



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Image by abu dahbi of Kent.





Image by FunForLouis.


Image by FunForLouis.

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Image by Elevated Perspective.

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Image by Noll-S.


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Vance Creek Bridge and logging train - Art Forde / John Labbe Collection.


Image by Eric Sakowski /


Kerry Skarbakka is a photographer who captures himself at the moment an accident or disaster has begun to overtake him as seen here on the Vance Creek bridge. The scenes look real even though they are all set up. You can see several other images of Kerry falling off ladders and down stairs at or his website:

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Vance Creek Bridge satellite image.



Vance Creek Bridge location map.