America’s Southernmost Historic Covered Bridge!
The 96-foot long Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge stands in the Hilton community of Early County, Georiga. It is the southernmost original covered bridge in the United States.
The beautiful old bridge was built by John William Baughman in 1891. It spans Coheelee Creek at the old McDonald Ford, where travelers once crossed at a spot where the bottom was of rock just above a small waterfall. The bridge allowed people to continue to cross the creek even in times of high water.
Coheelee Creek Covered Bridge cost only $490.41 to build, but Baughman and his team built a good bridge that still stands today as one of the most beautiful and unique landmarks in the Deep South.
The scene is rendered even more picturesque by the swiftly flowing creek and the small waterfall it forms as it passes under the bridge. Such scenes are rare in Southwest Georgia, where waterfalls are few and far between and the Coheelee Creek bridge is the last surviving covered bridge south of Macon.
Modern highways and roads eventually bypassed the old bridge and its survival is something of a miracle. Citizens of Early County took note of its neglected condition in 1984 and carried out an expensive and far-sighted restoration project. The historic span was stabilized and repaired so well that it remains in sound condition today, even though another three and half decades have passed.
An interpretive marker at the west end of the bridge summarizes its history and while they cannot cross the structure, visitors can examine and photograph it. The view of the small waterfall as it tumbles over the rocks beneath the bridge is picturesque but please be careful as the walk down to the creek can sometimes be slippery.
To reach the Coheelee Covered Bridge from the county seat of Blakely, drive south on Columbia Highway (GA-62) for 8.8 miles and turn right (west) on Old River Road. Follow Old River Road for roughly one-half mile until you see the entrance to Fannie Askew Park on your left. The bridge is in the park. The map at the bottom of this page will help you find it.
From nearby Columbia, Alabama, just head east on Church Street and cross the Chattahoochee River into Georgia. Continue onto Columbia Highway (GA-62) for 2.4 miles and turn left (west) on Old River Road. Then follow the rest of the directions in the paragraph above.
The park is open daily and is free to visit. There are no facilities and no staff is on duty.
Note: Don’t confuse the access road for Coheelee Creek Public Use Area for the entrance to Fannie Askew Park. The correct entrance is the one just past the modern bridge over Coheelee Creek.