The red Sachs Covered Bridge , a haunted bridge in Gettysburg, spanning Marsh Creek.

Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg: A Must-See Landmark

If you’re into the “spirit world,” there is a haunted bridge in Gettysburg PA that should be on your bucket list this year.

The Sachs Covered Bridge Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted bridges in the United States—and you’ll see why when you read this post from a local resident who visits often.

Hint: Troops from both the North and the South used this covered bridge during the Civil War and some have apparently lingered to haunt this covered bridge in Gettysburg for eternity.

Ghosts of Gettysburg Linger At Haunted Bridge

With more than 50,000 casualties during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, it’s not hard to see why there would still be spirits remaining on the battlefield and in the houses, churches, barns and stores that were once used as field hospitals.

If you’re looking for something spooky to do besides visit this haunted bridge in Gettysburg, take a look at the Drop Dead Best Ghost Tours and the 14 Most Haunted Places in Gettysburg.

If you’re brave enough, you might even book a room at the Cashtown Inn.

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A look at the interior lattice design of the Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg.A look at the interior lattice design of the Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg. The bottom left is my dog Sophie — not a ghost.

Need a place to stay in Gettysburg? Check out these haunted hotels!

Sachs Covered Bridge History

Built in 1854, the Sachs covered bridge spans Marsh Creek just south of Gettysburg.

What is now often referred to as the “haunted bridge in Gettysburg” is 100 feet long and 15 feet wide.

It’s amazing to explore the interior construction design, known as Town Lattice Truss. (Named after its designer Ithiel Town).

As you can see from the picture, the wooden beams are crisscrossed to form a lattice which gives the bridge its structural integrity when being crossed by wagons or horses.

Looking for a place to stay? Try This Downtown Gettysburg Haunted Hotel.

The unique craftsmanship and engineering of the covered bridge reportedly came at a price of $1,544 in 1854. (Imagine that!)

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Sachs Bridge Gettysburg received the designation of “Pennsylvania’s Most Historic Covered Bridge” in 1938.

The haunted Gettysburg bridge was closed to vehicles in 1968 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Unfortunately, on June 19, 1996, a flash flood swept through the Sachs Bridge after a strong thunderstorm that dumped more than 10 inches of rain in a few hours. The resulting flood water knocked the bridge from one of its abutments.

This occurred at the same time a $500,000 restoration was in progress. An additional $100,000 was raised to repair the flood damage, and the Gettysburg covered bridge was rededicated on July 21, 1997.

The Ghosts Behind The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg

So everyone always asks me, “Is Sachs Covered Bridge in Gettysburg really haunted?”

You might want to hear the answer from the people who have visited this haunted bridge in Gettysburg. There are literally thousands of accounts of supernatural activity at Sachs Bridge.

The entrance to Sachs Bridge, a covered bridge outside Gettysburg, Pa.

The reasons behind the haunted bridge in Gettysburg are numerous. First of all, the covered bridge played a key role during the Civil War.

Union forces crossed Sachs Covered Bridge (also called Sauck’s Covered Bridge) on July 1, 1863 as they headed toward Gettysburg.

After the Confederate loss on July 3rd General Lee called for his army’s retreat back to Virginia. He had lost 28,000 of his 80,000 men and they were low on both ammunition and food in enemy territory.

All of the wounded Confederate soldiers who were well enough to travel joined the wagon train retreating from Gettysburg. Those who could not be moved were left behind to be captured and cared for by the Union army.

On July 4, while the wagon train was still crossing the mountains at Cashtown, the remaining bulk of General Lee’s army left the battlefield and crossed the Sachs Covered Bridge and headed towards the Fairfield Road, which is today’s Route 116.

It then moved on to Fairfield where the army divided and crossed the mountains through passes at Fairfield and Monterey.

The most popular legend behind the haunted bridge in Gettysburg is that three Confederate soldiers were hung from the trusses of the structure.

There are two theories as to why the soldiers were hung. The first being that the Confederate soldiers deserted their unit, and were caught.

The other theory suggests that the three soldiers were actually spies, and they were hung from the bridge. No one knows where this story came from as there are no historical accounts of the occurrence.

But people swear they have seen figures hanging from the beams of the haunted bridge in Gettysburg.

Pro Tip: If you enjoy reading ghost stories about Gettysburg, then read Gettysburg native Mark Nesbitt’s series GHOSTS OF GETTYSBURG. He knows more about Gettysburg ghosts than anyone.

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Nonetheless, many visitors have claimed to see full bodied apparitions of the soldiers, experienced strange touching and hair-pulling, and heard eerie voices. I’ve also read posts about visitors hearing the clip-clop of horses’ hooves crossing the bridge.

Here is a short clip of a ghostly sighting. You decide!

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The Smoking Sachs Covered Bridge Ghost

Another strange phenomenon that occurs at the haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg is the smoking ghost.

When visitors place a cigarette on the metal railing outside the bridge, it spins and appears that someone is taking a puff. Some claim that this smoking Sachs Bridge ghost even has a name—Tennessee.

Others have reported the strong smell of pipe tobacco as if a sentry is still walking on patrol.

I don’t know. What do you think?

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Nature Trail At Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg

The Sachs Covered Bridge is not only known for its ghosts and hauntings. The beautiful structure is a memorable place to visit for both its beauty and its history.

It is also a favorite fishing hole for locals.

There is a walking trail that winds along Marsh Creek to a low dam and a charming area to relax and cool off on a hot summer day.

The tree-covered walking trail at Sachs Covered Bridge.
The tree-covered walking trail at Sachs Covered Bridge.
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Directions To The Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg

The Sachs haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg is a little hard to find, but worth the effort.

The address of the Sachs Bridge Gettysburg is just Water Works Road, but here are detailed directions to the haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg PA.

Heading South on the Emmitsburg Road from Gettysburg, turn right at the Peach Orchard battle site onto Millerstown Road. This turns into Pumping Station Road.

After you pass Black Horse Tavern Road on your right, keep your eyes open for Roberta Way on your left, and turn there. You will then take a right onto Waterworks Road, which takes you to a small parking area. This side of the haunted bridge in Gettysburg has a wheelchair ramp.

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If you miss your turn on Roberta Way, don’t worry. Travel another mile-ish until you cross a bridge. (If you look left while crossing, you’ll see the Sachs Covered Bridge).

Turn left immediately after you see the covered bridge and you will arrive in the parking lot.

The walking path is also straight ahead of you when entering on this side.

The view of the covered bridge in Gettysburg from Pumping Station Road.
The view of the haunted Sachs covered bridge in Gettysburg from Pumping Station Road.

Covered Bridges In The Old Days

When I was growing up there were six or seven covered bridges in Adams County, Pennsylvania. (But only one haunted covered bridge in Gettysburg).

Unfortunately, there is only one remaining covered bridge besides Sachs Covered Bridge. Jack’s Mountain Covered Bridge is a one-lane bridge that is still open to vehicular traffic.

Covered bridges are very familiar to me since they were a regular part of my daily commute, but younger people may never have seen one or know why they were built.

There were reportedly about 14,000 covered bridges built in the U.S., mostly between 1825 to 1875.

The longest covered bridge ever built was constructed in nearby Lancaster County in 1814. It spanned more than a mile, but was destroyed by flooding and ice in 1832. The current longest bridge is 460 feet and stands in New Hampshire.

In the 1800s, wooden bridges were replaced by iron, which was cheaper and more durable, not needing the sides and roof. The weight limits of wooden bridges and their low clearances also led to their general demise.

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What where Covered Bridges Used For?

Covered bridges are exactly what they sound like—a bridge over a body of water that has sides and a roof.

The first covered wooded bridge in the United States dates back to 1803 when Timothy Palmer oversaw the design of a bridge over the Schuylkill River.

It was not until the bridge was almost complete that investors asked the builder to cover the bridge to protect their money. Palmer modified the design to add a roof and siding to protect the interior wood from the weather.

That bridge came to be known as the Permanent Bridge.

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Wrap-Up Of Sachs Haunted Bridge In Gettysburg

Sachs Covered Bridge stands today as a true touchstone to the past, as well as a place of remarkable beauty and serenity.

This haunted bridge in Gettysburg has witnessed both war and peace over its 150+ years, and is now a visible reminder of the past.

In 1938 the Sachs Covered Bridge was declared Pennsylvania’s “most historic bridge” by the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. It received the distinction due in part to its connection to the Battle of Gettysburg but also because of the uniqueness of its design, being one of the few covered bridges of its type in the area.

In 1980, the Sachs Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Even though the 100-foot span once heard the footsteps of soldiers, it is now known only for the soothing sounds of the waters that flow beneath its wooden beams.

Gettysburg resident Mark Nesbit, author of the popular series of books called Ghosts of Gettysburg, says that acre for acre Gettysburg is probably the most haunted place in the United States.

The haunted Sachs Covered Bridge is just one of the many sites in Gettysburg with ghostly activity. If you want to stay at a haunted Gettysburg bed and breakfast, try The Gettysburg Academy or check out any of these historic B&B’s in Gettysburg.

Of course, there is a lot to see on the Gettysburg Battlefield, but make sure you check out these must-see monuments (according to me).

I hope you enjoy your visit and have time to visit this haunted bridge in Gettysburg!

A view of the Sachs covered bride from the small dam, which is also a popular fishing hole.
A view of the Sachs covered bride from the small dam, which is also a popular fishing hole.

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Planning A Trip To Haunted Gettysburg?

Here are a few historic places I recommend:

Gettysburg Hotel: Historic, Haunted and Downtown. Walk to everything.

1863 Inn of Gettysburg: Not historic, but haunted. Located in the tourist district. Close to everything.

Lightner Farmhouse B&B: South of town, historic house used as a Civil War hospital.

Things To Do In Gettysburg

Since Gettysburg is considered one of the most haunted towns in the U.S., you should definitely book one of the many ghost tours that are available. They range from family friendly to intensive investigations in Civil War era hospitals.

Then again, in Gettysburg you don’t even have to leave your room to meet a Gettysburg ghost. You can just spend a night in one of Gettysburg’s haunted hotels.

You can even have a drink or a bite to eat in a Gettysburg haunted restaurant like the famous Dobbin House Tavern or Gettsyburg Battlefield Brew Works.

Make sure you check out all of the different battlefield tours that are available, as well as the museums that range from the Civil War to World War II and beyond.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve been a big fan of the Gettysburg experience for over 60 years. About 45 years ago my wife and I were spending a weekend. On our last day we stopped by the Sachs Covered Bridge on the way home. It was early spring, close to sunset, and there wasn’t another car or person around. We parked less than 50 ft from the bridge on the south side. Walked about halfway through the bridge and realized we had left the camera in the car. I walked back, grabbed the camera and lit a cigarette. Returning to the bridge in less than a minute I could see my wife at the far end looking through the last opening towards the shore beside the bridge. When I was close to midway through the bridge I heard her say ” well good luck hopefully you catch a few”. I looked towards the shoreline, didn’t see anyone, and handed her the camera. I asked her who was she talking to. She replied in a quiet voice “the young guy fishing” I still couldn’t see anyone so I walked to the outside of the bridge, looked around, looked under the bridge and still nobody. By this time she too had walked out and was visibly shaken up when she didn’t see him. I asked her if she was sure she had seen someone fishing and she said “seen, I had a conversation with him”. She said that she originally was startled when she heard a splash close to where she was on the bridge. Thinking first it was a fish jumping and then realized it was a person fishing with a handline. She described him as very slim, about 16 to 18 and dressed in extremely old disheveled pants and a threadbare wool jacket and a beat up cap. Later she claimed from appearances she assumed he was a reenacter. We spent less than a minute looking up and down both shorelines. Under the bridge. And with no leaves on the trees you could see a good ways up and down the creek. The hand line was still in the water, so I was going to check it out but she was getting more spooked by the second so we made our way back to the car and left. She rarely ever smoked but as soon as we took off she asked for a cigarette. I looked on the dash where I always kept them and they were gone. That pack never showed up. We stayed away from Gettysburg for at least twenty years. I had spent a lot of time in Gettysburg and had never heard any ghost stories before then. Wife refuses to even drive by that bridge when we do visit.

  2. About a dozen years ago went to Sach’s bridge with a couple of friends and it got me hooked on ghost hunting. My first time there a person had set up a tripod at one end of the bridge taking pictures when one of the pictures caught what looked like a officer on a horse. The strange thing was I had a voice recorder on me and I thought I had turned it off but, after looking at the guys picture I realized it was recording. I played it back and you could hear the clip-clop of hooves on the wooden bridge. That night was so cool. We have also been there when someone had a spirit box and got to talk to a ghost that liked whiskey, he kept asking for some.