As the crow flies, the High Steel Bridge is fairly close to the Alderbrook Community. By car, it is still relatively close by. As you turn on to Skokomish Valley Rd, the traveling gets a little slower. Passing by farms, livestock and assorted small or defunct businesses, you’ll wind your way closer to the Olympic National Forest. The views, especially on a nice spring day are serene and relaxing. Animals lazily grazing along the road side, deep blue skies overhead and dozens of different trees and plants in bloom. The scene is idylic until the fork in the road. The right side heads towards the High Steel Bridge. The first few minutes are relatively peaceful, as the paved road winds around, steadily climbing. Then suddenly, and with no warning, the pavement stops and becomes a heavily pitted, dusty gravel road. Giant dust clouds surround the vehicle as the road continues to climb. If there is another car on the road, whether in front, behind or passing, count on the dust cloud increasing tenfold. But slow and steady does win the race in this case. Once the bumpy, gritty, windy road is conquered and directions have been followed, the bridge will start to appear in the distance. I recommend crossing the bridge first in your vehicle and parking on the far side because driving on the bridge is an experience unto itself.
After emerging from the trees, you’ll find yourself suspended hundreds of feet in the air, among the trees looking out over a vast valley on an extremely narrow, 1-lane, flat concrete bridge. This is not the place to go if one suffers from a fear of heights or vertigo. Once parked on the other side, stepping on to the bridge without the protection of the car feels very vulnerable at first. Fresh air, majestic trees, rushing azure colored water, mammoth rock formations and an elegant waterfall will fill your views from each side of the bridge. Photos from the bridge just cannot seem to capture the impressive views, try as you might. The views from the High Steel Bridge are truly awe inspiring and make the rocky terrain traversed worth the effort.