Photo by Larry R. Matthews. Oregon Creek Covered Bridge (also known as Freeman's Crossing) is a 100-foot-long bridge across Oregon Creek at its confluence with the Yuba River middle fork. Built by hand, most likely in 1860, it is still—amazingly—in use. It is very rustic and a very rough-looking bridge. The gates are closed seasonally to vehicles, but the bridge is always open to foot traffic.

There are two sources regarding the year this bridge was built. One said 1860 and the other 1871. Most likely it was built in 1860 as that is the year that appears emblazoned on the front of the bridge. If that is accurate, that would make this bridge the oldest covered bridge in California.

It is not the oldest bridge of any kind in California. That honor belongs to the Bidwell Bar Suspension Bridge, which was built in 1856 and has been relocated to the Lake Oroville Recreation Area.

To get to the Oregon Creek covered bridge, drive 20 miles northwestward on Highway 49 from Nevada City. Go through North San Juan and continue for a few miles. Make a right turn where you see the Oregon Creek Campground area. The bridge is located just down the road a bit, at the intersection with Allegheny Road. The bridge is located just inside Yuba County.

The uniqueness of this bridge is the fact that it is installed backwards! In 1883 it was washed 150 feet downstream when a dam broke. As it washed downstream, it turned end to end. A team of oxen was used to tow the bridge back into place. However, they reinstalled the bridge backwards.

Walk across the bridge and enjoy a day-use recreation area featuring 16 picnic tables and a swimming and wading area. A great location to enjoy a summer day of hiking or just admiring the beautiful scenery.


National Register of Historic Places: Oregon Creek Covered Bridge Wikimapia: Oregon Creek Covered Bridge Flickr: Oregon Creek Covered Bridge Historic Bridges in Butte, Nevada, and Yuba Counties