Michigan Roadside Attractions: Holz Brucke (Wooden Bridge), Frankenmuth
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to unusual.
Today’s Roadside Attraction feature is one that you can drive over or walk on: the Holz Brucke (wooden bridge) over the Cass River in Frankenmuth. This is Michigan’s largest covered wooden bridge and one of the few wooden bridges in the state that is still open to vehicle traffic. Unlike the previous wooden bridges we’ve featured in Ada, Fallasburg, and Centreville, this is a relatively new bridge and one that wasn’t constructed to carry an existing roadway over the river.
The Holz Brucke is 239 feet long and is open to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. It is built mostly of Douglas fir and required more than 160,000 board feet of wood. Its roof is covered with more than 25,000 cedar shingles. The roof covers the pedestrian crossings on each side of the bridge, and this is one of the most popular places in town for photographs.
Many years ago the Bavarian Inn was a staple downtown, but the Bavarian Inn Lodge and waterpark (as well as Heritage Park) on the other side of the river did not exist. The covered bridge connecting the two properties was the brainchild of the Zehnder family, and was constructed with guidance from a bridge builder who came all the way from New Hampshire. It was dedicated in the fall of 1980 and received updates in 2015.
You can learn about the Holz Brucke wooden bridge at the Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop (775 S. Main St.). Great views come from the parking lot at the Bavarian Inn, or from the Bavarian Belle Riverboat dock near River Place Shops. Be sure to check out our guide to 16 Things to See and Do in Frankenmuth to discover nearby attractions like Frankenmuth Brewery, Michigan’s Own Military and Space Heroes Museum, and more.