I always enjoy visiting historic covered bridges during my travels around New York, so on a recent trip to see fall foliage in the Adirondacks, I was excited to check out Jay Covered Bridge.
Jay Covered Bridge is located in the community of Jay in Essex County, New York. It’s roughly 25-30 minutes from both the town of Lake Placid and Ausable Chasm, a popular attraction in the area. In fact, if you drive between the two spots, you’ll pass within a few hundred yards of this beautiful covered bridge.
Jay Covered Bridge was completed in 1857 by George Burt to replace a bridge on the same location that was lost the year prior in the flood.
Over the years, the bridge was damaged several times, most notably in 1953 when a heavy truck fell through the bridge. In 1997, a modern bridge was built nearby and the road was rerouted around the bridge.
Today, Jay Covered Bridge has been beautifully restored and is open to pedestrians and bicycles. Interestingly, it’s the northernmost historic covered bridge remaining in New York.
The bridge crosses over the Ausable River and is 160-175 feet long (depending on the source you believe), which makes it one of the longest covered bridges in New York. It was built with a Howe truss design.
There are parking areas on either side of the river, though the area on the southern side of the river, off of Mill Hill Road, is slightly larger. Much of the area around the bridge is part of Douglas Memorial Park and is quite enjoyable with benches and several good viewing spots for the bridge.
One of the most unique aspects of Jay Covered Bridge is that it is located just downstream from an area known as Jay Falls. Because of this nearby waterfall, this bridge reminded me a bit of Salisbury Center Covered Bridge in Herkimer County.
Jay Falls spans the entire river and consists of a series of small waterfalls that cascade over the large rocks in the middle of the river. Overall, the water falls 10-15 feet in total height over the course of the many drops and slides.
When water levels are lower, the rocks can be accessed from the north bank of the river and offer a lot of fun for those looking to scamper around, as well as excellent views of the covered bridge just downstream.
Obviously use extreme caution if you head out on the rocks and only do so when water levels are low.
My only complaint is that they put a bunch of electrical wires on this side of the bridge. It would be much more pleasingly photographically if the electrical lines were on the other side of the bridge.
Without a doubt, the Adirondacks are a scenic part of New York to visit, and Jay Covered Bridge is a beautiful and historic destination within the region.
If you find yourself exploring Essex County, New York, or traveling between Lake Placid and Ausable Chasm, Plattsburgh, or I-87, this is definitely a spot that’s worth a few minutes to check out.
How to Get to Jay Covered Bridge and Jay Falls
Jay Covered Bridge, as well as Jay Falls which sits just upstream, are located in the small community of Jay, New York.
The bridge can be found just off of Route 9N, one of the major roads in the region, at the following coordinates: 44.372972, -73.725174.
While there are a few parking spots on the northern side of the bridge, closest to Route 9N, the larger parking area is on the southern side of the bridge. If you can’t find parking in one lot, make sure to check out the other side of the bridge.
Access to river level and Jay Falls is located on the northern side of the bridge. If you park on the southern side of the river, simply walk across the bridge to get to the rocks.
Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out High Falls Gorge, Split Rock Falls, Stag Brook Falls, and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]