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Road Trip Guide: Kinzua Bridge State Park

The Kinzua Viaduct, originally built in 1882 and rebuilt of steel in 1900, stood until it partially collapsed in 2003. Added a few years later, the Kinzua Sky Walk allows the public to walk to a partial glass-bottomed observation deck.
The Kinzua Viaduct, originally built in 1882 and rebuilt of steel in 1900, stood until it partially collapsed in 2003. Added a few years later, the Kinzua Sky Walk allows the public to walk to a partial glass-bottomed observation deck. Photos provided

A freak weather incident hit the Kinzua Viaduct in 2003, but in a way, it made the area even more of a must-see, said Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau.

A tornado ripped through the area, knocking down part of the viaduct. But years later the visitors bureau opened the partially glass bottom Kinzua sky walk that looks into the famed gorge.

It also allows visitors to see into the forest that the tornado ripped through and shows reforestation.

“It is an amazing panoramic view,” Devlin said.

The viaduct was constructed in 1882 out of wrought iron to haul coal and timber, Devlin said. It was remade in 1900 to hold a heavier load with 6.7 million pounds of steel held together by 895,000 rivets.

The viaduct was built before the first planes moved off the ground, so it was one of the closest things to flying at the time, Devlin said. The 301-foot high and 2,053-foot long viaduct was the longest in the world when it was first constructed.

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Views into the gorge

Devlin said the views into the gorge are one of the best showcases of the landscape. Through the glass, people can see more than 300 feet into the gorge and miles of trees and forest scenery.

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Space to eat

The area also features an ample amount of picnic tables and outdoor eating options. There are also park pavilions that can be rented for events, according to the website.

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Trails and camping

Part of the Allegheny National Forest, the area offers 600 miles of trails for hiking, biking and camping, Devlin said. There is something for all types of outdoor lovers, she said.

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More information

Additional information about the viaduct, skywalk, gorge and forest can be found at the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau wesbite, visitanf.com/kinzua-state-park-sky-walk.

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