Wildcat Covered Bridge (Wild Cat Covered Bridge)- Lane County, Oregon

Wildcat Covered Bridge

Wildcat Covered Bridge, Lane County, Oregon

I thought I had visited every covered bridge in Oregon. Until a chance glance over the side of the road while driving Highway 126 attracted my eye to this beauty. Weirdly, everything in writing says this is the Wildcat Covered Bridge. But the sign on the bridge is definitely Wild Cat with the space between.

Wildcat Covered Bridge - Circa 1970s

The Wildcat Covered Bridge – Circa 1970s before Lane County took over maintenance

The ghost town of Austa was located where the Austa Landing County Park is now. In the 60s it was listed as two miles east of another ghost town, Linslaw. The road North West of the bridge is Stagecoach Road part of the original coastal route until it was bypassed in the 1930s.

Interestingly, I can not find any record of a previous bridge here. It’s possible there wasn’t one if the original road stayed on the north side of the Siuslaw River. It’s also possible that the large exposed bedrock here helped to provide an easy fording of the river by wagons and horses.

Wildcat Covered Bridge Howe Truss

View of the Howe Truss engineering system. And the tin roof

Either way, this bridge was built in 1925. It was one of Lane County’s multiple bridge projects as they County was working on “modernizing” their infrastructure. Like most of the bridge built during that time, it uses the Howe truss engineering system. And the bottom chords were one each one piece of 16″x16″x113 timber. No doubt they were cut off old growth logs that provided massive amounts of straight. Unlike several other covered bridges, these original timbers appear to never have been replaced.

Wildcat Creek (a.k.a. Austa) bridge - 1965

Photo from 1965 taken by Glenn Gilbert Groff

One of the most interesting things about the Wildcat Covered Bridge is the 18 foot by 3 foot window on the south west side. This provides a view of oncoming traffic on the bridge, not just light. This is a unique feature of most of Lane Counties’ Bridges, the rest either have full windows on each side or none at all.

Wildcat Covered Bridge Side View

Lane County rebuilt many of these dilapidated covered bridges in the 1990s. Wildcat Covered Bridge was among those needing service as evidenced by the 1970s photo above.

The program is currently discontinued, but Lane County Parks minted several coins to commemorate various Covered Bridges in 2005-2012. The profits from this program was meant to raise funds to to fix up the three covered bridges that are not eligible for highway funds do to the fact that they’re closed to traffic. Those three bridges are the Lowell, Currin, and Stewart Covered Bridges. Wildcat bridge was among the last of those commemorated by these coins.

Wildcat Covered Bridge, North Side

North end of the Wildcat Covered Bridge


Drive east along Highway 126 from Eugene to Florence. At 33 miles, take a left on Sisulaw Road. There will be a sign to Whitaker Creek/Clay Creek Recreation Area. Follow the Sisulaw Road to the right, where it will pass under the highway. There is parking on the far side of the bridge, and Austa Landing County Park will be on the right. The boat landing itself appears to be a large flat rock area on the left side. There is a great view of the bridge from here.

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