Vermont is one of the best New England states to see the beautiful and historic covered bridges of New England, and if your hope is to see as many of these charming little structures as you can in one trip, you’ve come to the right place. This post is all about the best covered bridges in Vermont, and I’ve even created the perfect itinerary so you can easily plan your very own Vermont covered bridges tour.
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How Many Covered Bridges Are In Vermont?
Vermont has 104 covered bridges, which is the most covered bridges per square foot than any other state. So when I said this is the best state to visit in New England to see them, I really meant it!
Why Does Vermont Have So Many Covered Bridges?
Covered bridges were built in the 1800s to allow pedestrians, carriages, buggies and animals to cross rivers, brooks and creeks (and really, any body of water that would be otherwise difficult to cross without a bridge). Since Vermont has quite a few of these bodies of water, albeit smaller in size, that would account for why there are so many covered bridges in Vermont.
Best Routes To See Covered Bridges In Vermont
Because Vermont has so many covered bridges, the great news is, it doesn’t actually matter where you go in the state to hunt them down because they’re pretty much equally distributed all over. The best thing to do would be to balance your plans between seeing as many bridges as you’d like, and visiting some of the most charming towns to get the best of both words during your Vermont covered bridges tour. And that’s exactly what I’ve done for you with this itinerary!
Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Overview
This Vermont covered bridges tour itinerary is for 3 days, or a long weekend, as I’m assuming that’s the amount of time most people would want to spend on this kind of tour. Later in the post, I’ve also created a 1 day Vermont covered bridges tour itinerary for those who are looking to make this into a day trip (which can easily be done).
This itinerary can really be adapted to suit any length of time, and for each location, I’ve suggested other bridges you can add on if you have a few moments to spare. This itinerary will allow you to see up to 32 bridges during your Vermont covered bridges tour, and visit some of my favorite towns with the most character and things to do.
3 Day Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary Overview
Day 1: Begin in Bennington and Manchester in the morning to see 5 covered bridges in these areas, and then drive to Rockingham to see the Kissing Bridge before making your way to Windsor to see the longest bridge in New England. Your final destination on this day will be Woodstock, and this is where you’ll spend your first night.
Day 2: Start the day by exploring the covered bridges in and around Woodstock. Then, drive to Waitsfield and the Mad River Valley region to see up to 8 covered bridges and have lunch. This day ends with a drive to Stowe, where you’ll spend the next two nights.
Day 3: Spend the morning touring up to 5 covered bridges in the Stowe area, and then drive to Montgomery to see 6 covered bridges. Come back to Stowe to relax and have dinner. This is the end of the Vermont covered bridges tour.
Notes On Overnight Stay Locations
This itinerary includes 1 overnight stay in Woodstock, and 2 overnight stays in Stowe. If you wanted to stay all 3 nights in one place, you could pick one town over the other, and plan your drives accordingly, or even pick a different location all together. Another good location that’s centrally-located would be Waitsfield, which is part of this itinerary, and just a bit further out in the countryside. But you can most definitely customize this however you want.
Woodstock is one of my favorite towns in Vermont, and has a lot of choices when it comes to things to do, restaurants and shops, which is why I suggested it for your first night (it also breaks up your driving time nicely). Hotel prices do tend to be higher in Woodstock for that reason. Stowe is similar in that there are lots of things to do, and is close to the norther parts of Vermont to see the covered bridges up that way.
Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Detailed Itinerary (2022)
Below is a detailed breakdown of this 3-day Vermont covered bridges tour itinerary that was outlined above. This will give you more direction on which bridges to see, suggestions for places to stop and grab lunch, hotel suggestions and general tips for your tour.
Day 1: Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary Breakdown
Stop 1: Begin the morning of your first day on this tour in Bennington, where you’ll be able to see up to 3 covered bridges, and you’ll want to do them in this order to minimize any backtracking:
- Henry Covered Bridge
- Paper Mill Village Bridge
- Silk Road Covered Bridge
These 3 bridges are all within 5 minutes of one another, so they’re quick stops, depending on how long you want to spend at each of them.
Stop 2: From Silk Road Covered Bridge, you’ll start to make your way toward Manchester, and if you’d like to make a short detour to see another covered bridge, you’ll want to put Chiselville Covered Bridge into your GPS as your next destination. This is a 20-minute drive from Silk Road Covered Bridge. If you don’t want to make the detour, then skip to Arlington Covered Bridge.
Stop 3: From Chiselville Covered Bridge, you’ll want to next head to Arlington Covered Bridge, which is only about 10 minutes away.
Stop 4: 20 minutes from Arlington Covered Bridge is Manchester, which is your next stop, and this is a great place to grab lunch and also explore a bit if you need a break from your Vermont covered bridges tour. A great, casual lunch spot for awesome sandwiches is Zoey’s Deli. They make their own potato chips, and also have great soups, breads and baked goods, as well a small outdoor seating area. Downtown Manchester also has some outlet shops, a great bookstore and gift shop called Northshire, and a cute little general store.
Stop 5: Next is Rockingham to see the Kissing Bridge, and also stop at the Vermont Country Store. This is about 55 minutes from Manchester. The Vermont Country Store is an awesome place to stock up on Vermont foods and gifts to bring home.
Stop 6: From Rockingham, make your way to Windsor, to see the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, the longest covered bridge in New England. This is only about 30 minutes from Rockingham.
Stop 7: You’ll end the first day of your Vermont covered bridges tour in Woodstock, which is your last destination for the day. Woodstock is about 30 minutes from Windsor. Depending on when you arrive, you can spend some time exploring the town center and the shops, or you can just grab dinner and relax for the rest of the night.
Hotel Suggestions For Woodstock
If you’re looking to splurge, the best option is the Woodstock Inn & Resort, located in the heart of town center and walkable to a lot of shops and restaurants. They also have restaurants right on-site at the resort, as well as a spa.
For a more moderate option, the Village Inn is a great choice that has a cozy and traditional New England style charm to it, and breakfast is included with your stay.
For a budget option, I really like The Vesper, which has a more modern feel to it, is located directly in town, and also provides breakfast with each stay.
Day 2: Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary Breakdown
Stop 1: After grabbing a big breakfast to fuel up for the day, you’ll want to start day 2 of your Vermont covered bridges tour exploring the bridges in and around Woodstock. Depending on where you stay, you’ll want to research the best order in which to visit them, knowing that either Quechee, Station Covered Bridge or Warren will be your next stop (see more info below to help you decide). The covered bridges in Woodstock to see are:
- Middle Covered Bridge (located right in town center)
- Taftsville Covered Bridge
- Lincoln Covered Bridge
Stop 2 (optional): To see another nearby covered bridge, you can drive about 10 minutes from Woodstock to Quechee and see Quechee Covered Bridge. The views on the bridge of the Ottauquechee River and waterfall are really worth it! But if you’re short on time, you can also skip this one. Quechee Covered Bridge is location right by the Simon Pearce flagship store, which is a fun place to explore.
Stop 3 (optional): We’re now headed to the Mad River Valley region to see quite a few covered bridges! I’ve labeled this particular covered bridge as an optional stop because it’s a bit out of the way, and you’ll see so many covered bridges in this area that you may want to skip it. I wanted to mention it, though, because it is really beautiful, and I always enjoy seeing it. This bridge is called Station Covered Bridge, and it’ll be about 50-60 minutes round-trip out of your way. If you want to do this one, I suggest you do it before all the others because it’s the furthest south.
Stop 4: Warren Covered Bridge in Warren, VT (about 1h10m from Woodstock, and 50 minutes from Station Covered bridge if you chose to do that one).
Stop 5: Stony Brook Covered Bridge (about 20-25 minutes from Warren Covered Bridge).
Stops 6-8: Slaughterhouse Covered Bridge, Lower Cox Brook Covered Bridge and Upper Cox Brook Covered Bridge. Slaughterhouse bridge doesn’t have the most pleasant name, but it’s definitely worth a stop! It’s about 10 minutes from Stony Brook, and then all three bridges along stops 5-7 are within 15 minutes of each other. You’ll want to do them in the order listed above.
Stop 9: Now you’re going to drive into Waitsfield to grab lunch. A great place for lunch is Lawson’s Finest Liquids, which is a brewery that serves appetizers, small plates and sandwiches. Three Mountains Cafe and The Sweet Spot are also great casual lunch spots. The Sweet Spot outdoor seating area will actually overlook Waitsfield Covered Bridge!
Stops 10-11: Before leaving the Mad River Valley area, you’ll want to stop at Waitsfield Covered Bridge and Pine Brook Covered Bridge. The order you visit them in will depend on where you stopped for lunch.
Option to narrow down the covered bridges you see in the Mad River Valley: There are a lot of covered bridges in this area, and if you don’t want to see them all, the ones you could eliminate are either Upper or Lower Cox Brook Bridge simply because they both look very similar, Pine Brook because it looks similar to Waitsfield Covered Bridge, which you’ll likely see in town during your lunch stop, and finally either Slaughterhouse or Stony Brook, as again, these both look very similar to one another.
Stop 12: Pitstop Options!: You’ll now begin your drive to Stowe, which is only about 40 minutes from Waitsfield. On the drive, you’ll pass through Waterbury, VT, and here you’ll find the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Cold Hollow Cider Mill and the Cabot Farmer’s Store, all of which make for awesome pitstops. Or, you could make your way directly to Stowe.
Stop 13: Stowe is your last destination on day 2 of your Vermont covered bridges tour. You can spend your evening relaxing, exploring the village’s Main Street and grabbing a nice dinner. Some nice dinner options in Stowe are The Bistro at 10 Acres (really great views of the mountains here!), Trattoria La Festa (farm-to-table Italian cuisine) and Harrison’s Restaurant.
Hotel Recommendations For Stowe
For a splurge, you can’t go wrong with the Lodge at Spruce Peak, which features its own little shopping village, on-site restaurants, a spa and other really nice amenities with a wonderful, Vermont atmosphere.
For a moderate option, the Green Mountain Inn is wonderful. It’s located right in the heart of the village center, and provides a cozy and charming place to stay.
For a budget option, the Stowe Motel & Snowdrift is perfect. Rooms are very basic, but clean and comfortable, and they even provide a continental breakfast with each stay.
Day 3: Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary Breakdown
Stop 1: Start the last day on your Vermont covered bridges tour with a big, Vermont breakfast! Depending on where you stay, this could be included, but if your hotel doesn’t provide it, I highly recommend the Butler’s Pantry for a wonderful and full Vermont country breakfast. This is definitely one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had in Vermont.
Stop 2: Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also called Emily’s Bridge for the spooky lore associated with it. Scroll down to the section on the most famous covered bridges in Vermont to read about this bridge’s mysterious story. This bridge is only about 5 minutes outside of the village center in Stowe.
Stop 3: Red Covered Bridge is about 15 minutes from Gold Brook Bridge.
Stops 4-6: Drive to Jeffersonville to see Grist Mill Covered Bridge, which is about 30-35 minutes from Red Covered Bridge. Then head to Cambridge to see Cambridge Junction Bridge and Gates Farm Covered Bridges, which are only a few minutes from Grist Mill, and close to one another. If you want to have an easier day and cut out some driving, you could easily eliminate this portion, and head straight to Montgomery, since there are 6 covered bridges to see in that area.
Stop 7 (optional stop): Time to make our way to Montgomery, which is about 40 minutes from the Cambridge bridges. On your way to Montgomery, an optional stop is Mill Covered Bridge in Belvidere, as it’s only a few minutes to detour and see it, and pretty much directly on-route to Montgomery.
Stops 8-13: All 6 covered bridges in Montgomery! They’re all very close to one another, making it easy to see them all in a short amount of time, but I suggest doing them in this order so you’re not backtracking:
- Hutchins Covered Bridge
- Fuller Covered Bridge
- Comstock Covered Bridge
- West Hill Covered Bridge, sometimes called Creamery Bridge (this one will require a little backtracking, but not much)
- Longley Covered Bridge, sometimes called Harnois Covered Bridge (Google Maps may not take you to the right location, but it’s on the main road, and you can use these GPS coordinates: N44 54.442 W72 39.330).
- Hopkins Covered Bridge
Stop 14: Lunch in Montgomery. Cafe Oma is a great casual spot for lunch. If you’re willing to drive 10-15 minutes, there’s another really great cafe/country store called Barn Owl Bistro that has really awesome food and a very cool atmosphere. It’s worth the extra drive time!
Stop 15: Back to Stowe to relax and enjoy everything the town has to offer. This is the end of your Vermont covered bridges tour!
Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Map
If you’re looking to get a visual of the route I’m suggesting in the 3-day itinerary, here’s a map of the towns you’ll be visiting on this tour. This map doesn’t show each covered bridge, simply because there are so many you wouldn’t be able to even see them! But this will give you an idea of where you’ll be going on this tour.
Additional Option To Add More Covered Bridges To Your Tour
I know this post is all about a Vermont covered bridges tour, but, if you have more time and are looking to explore even more covered bridges of New England, it may make sense for you to consider heading over to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. While you’re in Stowe, you’re just a little over 2 hours from the White Mountains, and towns like Jackson, Conway, Lincoln and Albany all have beautiful and historic covered bridges to see. These towns also provide lots of things to do, and are packed with New England charm.
1 Day Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary
If you’re looking to do a Vermont covered bridges tour in just a day, you can easily make that happen because of how many there are in Vermont. You don’t have to drive far to pack a lot of them into one day!
This tour is going to start in the same location, and just not go as far north. This itinerary can also be adapted depending on how many bridges you want to see on your Vermont covered bridges tour day trip. This itinerary allows you to see up to 13 covered bridges, depending on how much time you have.
Note: The first part of the day trip itinerary is exactly the same as the beginning of the 3-day itinerary, so be sure to go back and reference that if you’re looking for more detailed information.
My Suggested 1 Day Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary
Morning: Begin in Bennington to see Henry Covered Bridge, Paper Mill Covered Bridge and Silk Road Covered Bridge. Then make your way to Chiselville Covered Bridge if time allows, and then Arlington Covered Bridge.
Afternoon: After Arlington Covered Bridge, you’ll head into Manchester to grab lunch, and then make the drive to Rockingham to visit the Vermont Country Store if time allows, and the Kissing Covered Bridge. If you think you’ll be short on time, you can skip these stops to save about 20-30 mins, plus whatever time you would have spent in the country store.
Then make your way to Windsor to see the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, and then drive to Woodstock to see the Middle Covered Bridge, Taftsville Covered Bridge and Lincoln Covered Bridge. You may want to end your Vermont covered bridges tour here if you’re short on time, and spend the rest of the day exploring Woodstock before driving back home.
If you have some extra time to see a few more bridges, you could start to head west toward Rutland, and tack on Kingsley Covered Bridge, Cooley Covered Bridge and Hammond Covered Bridge. Kingsley Bridge is about 50 minutes from Woodstock, and from there, Cooley and Hammond bridges are about 25 minutes away. You could then end your Vermont covered bridges tour in Rutland with a nice dinner. I would only tack this portion on if you’re traveling in the summer when sunset is late in the day, and you’ve made good time earlier in the day so you don’t feel super rushed.
The Best Vermont Covered Bridges
If you’re looking to beeline to the absolute best and most beautiful covered bridges in Vermont, I’ve narrowed down a list for you. Keep in mind that “best” and “beautiful” are all subjective – I happen to think that some of the smaller, more rustic bridges are some of the best. But the ones in this list are generally considered to be the ones that are the most impactful to visitors (and picture-worthy!).
- Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock
- Arlington Covered Bridge in Arlington
- Windsor-Cornish Covered Bridge in Windsor
- Silk Road Covered Bridge in Bennington
- Paper Mill Covered Bridge in Bennington
- Comstock Covered Bridge in Montgomery
- Slaughterhouse Covered Bridge in Northfield
Are There Any Covered Bridges In Burlington, VT?
There are no covered bridges right in the city of Burlington, VT, but there are two that are a close drive. To help you plan, I’ve noted how far they are from Burlington.
- Shelburne Museum Covered Bridge in Shelburne (20 mins from Burlington) – This covered bridge is technically part of the museum, but it can easily be seen from the main road. This bridge is a cool one to visit because it’s one of the lesser-common two-lane covered bridges, and was built in 1845.
- Holmes Creek Covered Bridge in Charlotte (30 mins from Burlington).
Covered Bridges in Stowe, VT
There is one covered bridge right in Stowe, and a few that are a quick and easy drive away. Below is a list of covered bridges that are in and near Stowe, VT, and also how far of a drive it is to see them.
- Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also known as Emily’s Bridge (located in Stowe).
- Red Covered Bridge in Morristown (10 mins from Stowe)
- Power House Covered Bridge & Scribner Covered Bridge in Johnson (25 mins from Stowe)
- Cambridge Junction Bridge & Gates Farm Covered Bridge in Cambridge (30 mins from Stowe)
- Grist Mill Covered Bridge in Jeffersonville (30 mins from Stowe)
What Town Has The Most Covered Bridges in Vermont?
Montgomery is the town in Vermont with the most covered bridges, clocking it at 6 of them within the town limits. Montgomery is located in the northern part of the state, and is only about 30 minutes to the Canadian border.
What Is The Most Famous Covered Bridge In Vermont?
There are actually a few covered bridges in Vermont that have made quite a name for themselves. Below is a breakdown of the ones that have become the most famous.
Gold Brook Covered Bridge, also referred to as Emily’s Bridge, has become famous because of its supposed haunting. Local lore states that a young girl named Emily hung herself from the rafters of the bridge when her lover never showed up to elope, and she still haunts the bridge to this day.
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge, which is the longest in all of New England, and connects Vermont to New Hampshire.
Kissing Bridge in Rockingham, which is a popular place for couples to take photos for obvious reasons. The name came from a tradition years ago where you would stop and kiss your love in the middle of a covered bridge (where it was darkest and most quiet). While this tradition was for any covered bridge, this one in particular was named after the tradition.
What Is The Oldest Covered Bridge In Vermont?
The oldest covered bridge in Vermont is the Waitsfield Covered Bridge, also known as The Great Eddy Bridge. This bridge dates back to 1830, and can be found in, you guessed it, Waitsfield, VT. Waitsfield is a great little town in Vermont to visit with really cozy inns, great restaurants and tons of sweeping countryside landscapes.
The Best Time Of Year To See The Vermont Covered Bridges
I personally think that fall is the best time of year to tour the Vermont covered bridges, but honestly, any season is a great time to see them. Of course, in fall you’ll get the foliage color that Vermont is famous for, which just adds to the charm of the bridges.
Another really time time of the year to see them is winter. There’s something really magical about seeing a covered bridge dusted in fresh snow. The only downside to a winter visit, however, is that driving conditions may not always be ideal because of snow storms and ice. But if you’re lucky, and can time it just right, this is a great season to see them.
Of course, spring and summer are also lovely in Vermont. During this time of the year, driving will be easy, and the only obstacle you may run into is a little bit of rain. The summer season also brings longer days, meaning you can stretch out your Vermont covered bridges driving tour for much longer.
Can You Walk & Drive On Vermont Covered Bridges?
Yes, for the most part, most of the covered bridges that still remain in Vermont, and many that you’ll see on this tour, are still fully functional, and are used by vehicle and pedestrians. Be mindful of any signs when visiting each bridge to know if it’s safe to go over the bridge in your car, but generally speaking, they typically are. It’s common practice to slow down before crossing the bridge to ensure there’s no oncoming traffic.
Why Are Vermont Bridges Covered?
Back in the 1800s, these bridges were built using wood, and the wet weather elements were a cause for concern when it came to protecting the wood. The main purpose of the roof was to shield the wood from the rain and snowfall to ensure longevity, since moisture could quickly lead to wood rot, which would cause structural issues and total destruction.
The sloped shape of the bridge roofs also encouraged snow to slide off into the surrounding rivers, which relived the stress of the weight of a heavy snowfall. Many of them are still standing today because the roofs kept them dry and protected.
You may also find these posts helpful:
- Vermont In The Fall: Festive Things To Do!
- Best Things To Do In Vermont In The Winter
- Best Stops To Make Driving Boston To Stowe, VT
- Best Things To Do In Waterbury, VT
- Cool Things Vermont Is Known For
- Gorgeous New Hampshire Covered Bridges You Should See
- 60+ Things To Do In Vermont
- The Perfect New England Fall Road Trip
- Best Vermont Pumpkin Patches & Farm Stands To Visit In The Fall
- Awesome Corn Mazes In Vermont
That’s A Wrap On The Best Vermont Covered Bridges Tour Itinerary
And now you’re ready to take your very own Vermont covered bridges tour! One of my all-time favorite things to do in Vermont is to visit these little beauties, and a weekend trip dedicated to seeing some of the prettiest covered bridges in this state is well worth your time. Regardless of where you drive, or where your day takes you, you’ll never be too far from a covered bridge in Vermont!