Lost Creek Covered Bridge Oregon at Walch Family Wayside Park

• Lost Creek Bridge is the oldest and shortest covered bridge in Oregon
• Walch Family Wayside Park near the bridge has picnic tables and other amenities

Lost Creek Bridge near the community of Lake Creek in Jackson County is situated approximately 26 miles northeast of Medford.

This pedestrian-only bridge spanning Lost Creek features a unique design. Its truss is a queen post-style, modified with cross members for additional structural stability.

Lost Creek Covered Bridge also has open ends rather than the usual portal arches, ribbon openings at the eaves, cantilevered buttresses, a shingle roof, and a floor of diagonal planking.

The bridge is just 39 feet (12 m) long and is the shortest covered bridge in Oregon. Additionally, it holds the distinction of being the oldest standing covered bridge in the state.

Walch Family Wayside Park is right next to the bridge and has picnic tables, a bandstand, flower gardens, and other amenities.

This privately owned park, open to the public, was established and is maintained by descendants of pioneer settlers John and Marie Newsome Walch.

Lost Creek Covered Bridge Oregon at Walch Family Wayside Park
Walch Family Wayside Park

Lost Creek Covered Bridge History

The history of the Lost Creek Covered Bridge is closely intertwined with the story of the Walch family, pioneers who settled in the Lake Creek area in the early 1900s. John W. Walch, born on December 20, 1884, in Wellen near Antelope, was one of 14 children born to Jacob and Katherine Walch.

In 1913, John moved to Lake Creek and purchased a 1,600-acre cattle ranch, where he and his wife, Ida Marie Newstrom, whom he married on December 19, 1915, worked and farmed for 65 years.

The Walch Memorial Wayside Park, adjacent to the bridge, is a tribute to John and Marie Walch.

The official construction date is 1919, but this may refer to a renovation of an older structure. There is enough evidence to suggest that the bridge was built much earlier.

Lost Creek Covered Bridge Oregon at Walch Family Wayside Park

Many Jackson County residents, including Shirley Stone, the daughter of pioneer John Walch, say that it was built between 1878 and 1881.

The builder, Johnny Miller, also roofed the nearby span at Lake Creek in the 1880s, lending credence to the sign nailed on the bridge that reads "LOST CREEK BRIDGE, BUILT ABOUT 1881."

The covered bridge was nearly lost in the devastating Christmas flood of 1964 when swirling waters and heavy debris lashed at its piers. As the story goes, residents prayed through the night for the bridge's survival.

According to a local newspaper, the skies cleared, and the water receded as morning came, making the journalist question, "Was the bridge saved by prayer?"

In 1979, the Lost Creek Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places and closed to vehicle traffic.

The bridge has a shingle roof, installed by local residents in 1985. In 1986, portal boards were added to restore the bridge's 1920s appearance before accommodations were made for log truck traffic.

Lost Creek Covered Bridge Oregon at Walch Family Wayside Park

Lost Creek Covered Bridge | Facts

Architectural Bridge Design: Queen post truss
Bridge access: Pedestrian
Stream: Lost Creek
Bridge Length: 39 ft (12 m)
Built: 1878-1881
Renovated: 1919

Open: Year-round

Elevation: 1.853 ft (565 m)

Lost Creek Covered Bridge is located:

  • 26 miles northeast of Medford
  • 187 miles southeast of Eugene.

Adventures Nearby

Directions to Lost Creek Bridge

From I-5,

  • Take Exit-30 in for Highway 62 and 140 toward Crater Lake
  • Travel 5.6 miles east on OR-62 to OR-140
  • Turn right onto OR-140 and follow 12.6 miles east to Lake Creek Loop Road
  • Continue 1.1 miles and then bear right onto South Fork Little Butte Creek Road
  • Drive 3.9 miles and then turn right onto Lost Creek Road; follow it for 0.5 miles.

Address: 5480-5498 Lost Creek Rd, Eagle Point, OR 97524

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