Photo by George Stenberg

The High Steel Bridge is a must for photographers and those who love the thrill of heights. This 685-foot bridge is perched spine-tingling high above the South Fork of the Skokomish River, 420 feet of thin air separate the steel structure from the icy snowmelt rushing down from the slopes of the Olympic National Forest and Wonder Mountain Wilderness. During the rainy season, a deep chasm channels thousands of cubic feet of water per second through its narrow walls with spectacular force.

A striking sight in this remote forest, the bridge structure is an engineering feat, and a carryover from the area's logging history. Visitors peering down from atop the High Steel Bridge feel as if they are suspended in mid-air. Watching the water's steep descent through the near-vertical basalt below creates a respect for the natural forces that colluded to create such an awe-inspiring terrain.

The High Steel Bridge was built by Simpson Logging Company in 1929 as part of a logging railroad. Its construction opened up an area of Olympic Peninsula timber that was previously inaccessible. The bridge span supported a single logging railroad track. In 1950, the tracks were replaced with wooden planks, allowing vehicles to pass. 1964 brought the relatively modern addition of concrete decking and guardrails. The Bridge is one of only two Washington bridges that is considered a long-span structure formerly used as part of a logging railroad.

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