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Inviting and Intimidating | The Ritner Swinging Bridge

Whether they are drawn by its engineering or its views, the Ritner Swinging Bridge still attracts many people. 

The swinging bridge that connects McCreary County with Wayne County is believed to have been built in 1826, says Michelle Perry, McCreary County Tourist Commission director. The 258-foot bridge, which crosses the Little South Fork River, was restored in 2017. McCreary County and Wayne County fiscal courts jointly funded repair work on the historic bridge. 

“I just loved it when I saw it,” says Mandy Lawson, a South Kentucky RECC consumer-member who took the photograph on this page. “I walked on it, and it moved. It was a bit intimidating.” The bridge does not have any stabilizers in its middle, so it swings from side to side as you venture across. 

Lawson says her children—Dusty, Drew and Katie—made crossing the bridge an adventure by jumping and running so the bridge moved even more than normal. You may prefer a leisurely stroll and to take in a view of the river below or the change in perspective as you continue across. 

Outdoor enthusiasts may want to make enjoying the Ritner Swinging Bridge part of a day of adventure. Ritner, which is on the outskirts of the Daniel Boone National Forest, is not far from Princess Falls and Koger Arch, both in the Daniel Boone National Forest. 

Signs lead to the bridge. Be aware that parking is sparse near the bridge. Please be respectful of the private residents living nearby and do not park in their yards. 

Swing along

Get a feel for the beauty and the scariness factor in this video of the Ritner Bridge, a 285-foot-long swinging bridge that connects McCreary and Wayne counties.

Expand your trip to encompass the nearby Koger Arch via Koger Arch Trail #633 or Princess Falls via Lick Creek Trail #631, both part of the Daniel Boone National Forest. 

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