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Free Bridge

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Ramp and pillars at the Free Bridge, Lower Deschutes River (bobcat)
Former informational sign at Free Bridge (no longer there as of 2017). You can see the two bridge supports at the river bank just to the left of the sign (Jerry Adams)


At mile 6.6 is Free Bridge, the remains of an old bridge across the Deschutes River. There are a ramp and a couple of pillars on the east side and another footing knocked over in the river. You can see the rugged Free Bridge Road descending to the railroad tracks on the steep western slope above the river.

At a time when there were private toll bridges, this bridge was constructed by Wasco County in 1887 to offer free passage over the river; however, the second iteration of the bridge (It was upgraded in 1905) was apparently dynamited by the opposition in 1914 although initial reports stated it had been destroyed by a windstorm. Before you pass above the bridge supports, you'll see a post that once held an interpretive sign with a photo of the bridge.

You have to walk down from the main trail to see the site up close. There is a large flat area where you could camp. Upriver from the Free Bridge are the Washout Rapids.

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