Keystone Arch Bridges – Chester, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura

Keystone Arch Bridges

Chester, Massachusetts

The first keystone arch railroad bridges constructed in America. 


A relatively easy 2.5-mile hike brings visitors to the first keystone arch railroad bridges built in America. These bridges are truly a sight to behold, reaching heights of over 70 feet. They are an engineering marvel, wholly dry-laid, meaning there was no mortar used during construction.

On each bridge is a prominent “keystone” that is a crucial part of the bridge’s stability. When the railroad was rerouted, the bridges were no longer used by trains. However, several of the other nearby arch bridges are still in active use today, carrying over 30 times the weight they were originally built for. 

As a bonus, early in the hike past the first bridge visitors can see the remnants of a former artist colony with a storied history of its own. Look for the remains of the kiln chimney to the right of the trail.

Know Before You Go

You can park in the parking lot at the trailhead, it isn't always plowed in the winter but you can always park at the top and walk down.

There is a bridge visible from the start of the trail, but the two largest bridges are farther along the trail. Both of the larger bridges have goat trails down to a great viewpoint of the bridge. The trail officially ends about 1/4 mile past the last and largest bridge, where it intersects with the still active railroad track.

If you lose the trail, look for blue trail markers that say KAB trail on them, they are well placed.

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March 2, 2023

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