7 Things You Need to Know to Visit the Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska, Ok

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Swinging Bridge
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One of the best things to do in Pawhuska is to take a walk across the town’s famous bridge. Of course, it’s not just any bridge, it’s a swinging bridge. And oh boy, can you really feel the swinging! Here’s what you need to know to plan your own visit to the Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska including tips for visiting!

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Swinging Bridge Pawhuska

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Where to Stay in Pawhuska

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Downtown

While you can visit Pawhuska as a day trip from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, or Wichita, there’s enough to do here that you can stay overnight or on a long weekend and really dig into all that Pawhuska and Osage County have to offer.

Here are my suggestions for where to stay in each budget category. Recommendations are based on listed prices at the time, but keep in mind they can fluctuate based on availability, so always double-check the linked-to website for pricing for your exact dates.

Best Budget Option (Under $100 a night)

For a charming yet budget-conscious stay in Pawhuska, check into The Mabelle, a Craftsman-era homestay that has four-poster beds, garden views, and vintage decor. See pictures and availability here.

Best Mid-Range Option ($100-200 per night)

For a stay with a cozy appeal, check into the Historic Whiting Hotel Suites, located a tenth of a mile from The Mercantile and the rest of downtown. Rooms feature private balconies, kitchenettes, and kitschy decor. See pictures and availability here.

Best Luxury Option ($200 or more per night)

For a relaxing stay, check into the Frontier Hotel Pawhuska, which offers a sophisticated take on Wild West decor without scrimping on comfort. The rooms are stunning, with a mix of modern and farmhouse style and layers of country fabrics. See pictures and availability here.

See also
101 Over-the-Top Tiger King Quotes by Joe Exotic & Cast!

Things to Know Before You Visit the Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska

It’s not a complicated visit, but there are a few things you need to know to have a great little trip!

What is Pawhuska’s Swinging Bridge?

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge Sign

Like it’s name suggest, it’s a swinging bridge. Of course, it’s a little more than that! Built in 1926 and refurbished in 1970, the bridge you see (and feel) today is essentially unchanged for almost one hundred years! Sitting astride Bird Creek, historically it was the only way to cross the large creek and get into town.

Its characteristic swing comes from the fact that it’s a suspension bridge, and the wooden planks you walk across have a little extra squeak and bounce to add to the overall adrenaline-filled experience. The fact that it was built as a pedestrian bridge, and not meant for horses or automobiles, is why it’s so narrow. This is why it’s extra bouncy, and thus extra fun (read: scary).

The bridge sits thirty feet above the water, but it feels closer somehow. Or was that the adrenaline pumping through my brains and distorting reality?

How to Get to the Pawhuska Swinging Bridge: Directions and Address

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Church across the street from the Pawhuska Swinging Bridge
First Baptist South Church sits across the street from the Swinging Bridge

If you come to Pawhuska to visit the Mercantile or the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, you might think you’ll come across the Swinging Bridge naturally while you’re in town. Actually, it’s not something you’ll randomly find unless you know what you’re looking for. In fact, during my first visit to Pawhuska, I forgot to even look for it!

The good news is that the bridge is correctly marked on Google Maps, so you can navigate to it. I’d be cautious if you’re using a car navigation system, which can sometimes not have full landmarks at this level. If you are using your car navigation system, check it against Google Maps before you leave.

The exact location is at the intersection of Kihekah Avenue and E. Second Street. Since the bridge doesn’t have an actual address, you can use the address for the First Baptist South Church across the street, which is: 201-207 E 2nd St, Pawhuska, OK 74056. Remember if you use the church to navigate that the bridge is behind the church.

See also
17 Charming Things to Do in Pawhuska, Oklahoma + Where to Stay & What to Eat!

There’s a clearly marked sign (shown above) to denote the bridge’s entrance.

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge - Across the Bridge
The far side of the Swinging Bridge

If you’re coming from the other side of Bird Creek, the entrance is at the end of Palmer Avenue. There is no sign on this side of the bridge.

When is the Swinging Bridge Open & How Long Does It Take to Visit?

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge

The bridge is technically open twenty-four hours a day, though I would not want to do it at night. Maybe when I was nineteen but definitely not now. Between the water, the darkness, the swinging, and the chance of running into strangers, I would be a complete scardy cat to visit at night. Mostly because of the swinging over the creek in the dark, to be honest.

We spent about twenty minutes here in total, so it’s an easy place to visit in between other items on your Pawhuska itinerary.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Swinging Bridge

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge - Stephanie on the Bridge

It’s free! The bridge is a town landmark and an important tourist spot in Pawhuska (and its fun for locals), but there’s no cost to cross. It’s still used as a pedestrian walkway for folks to live on the other side of the creek, so be respectful of anyone you run into here. For you, it’s a cool new experience. For some people, it’s their normal way they walk downtown.

What It’s Like Walking Across the Swinging Bridge

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge - Stephanie

Um, I’m so glad I did it, but I don’t want to do it again. It’s not that swingy or bouncy, and my husband loved it. But for me, with a one-year-old at home, it was too much swinging. There was one point on the way back where I almost dropped my cell phone. After that, I kind of just booked it off the bridge as fast as I could. Which caused it to swing and sway more, which made the experience scarier. So go slow and don’t panic like me, and you’ll be fine!

See also
How to Get from Oklahoma City to Pawhuska the Easy Way & the Hard Way!

The View from the Middle of the Bridge

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge - View from the Middle of the Bridge over Bird Creek

By far my favorite part of the walk was seeing the beautiful view above Bird Creek. While I wouldn’t want to fall into the creek from the bridge, seeing it from above was really lovely!

Tips for Photographing Your Trip to the Swinging Bridge

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge - Stephanie in the Middle of the Bridge taking a photo

The bridge has several cool sections that you will want to photograph. If you are visiting with someone, ask them to take your picture as you walk across (and, of course, return the favor). I also love photographs of the view (above) and what the bridge looks like with no one on it:

Oklahoma - Pawhuska - Pawhuska Swinging Bridge

Keeping people in the frame can be good for scale, and there are different sections of the bridge itself. Each section offers something different from the angles of the bridge to the presence of water or ground underneath. And of course, taking vertical and horizontal photos will give you lots of options to play with when you get back home.

More Pawhuska & Osage County Travel Resources

Heading to Pawhuska? Check out my guide to the best things to do in Pawhuska (as well as the town of Shidler), my guide to visiting the Mercantile, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and my favorite Pawhuska photo spots.

If you’re coming to Pawhuska from Oklahoma City, here are directions to get from OKC to Pawhuska.

What to Pack for a Trip in Oklahoma

Coming soon!

Do You Need a Car for Your Trip?

It’s awfully hard to get around Oklahoma without a car. If you need to rent one, I use Discover Cars. You’ll be able to pick up a car at the airport or in your hometown.

Check availability and get a quote for a rental car for your trip.

Pin this Guide to the Swinging Bridge Pawhuska for Your Adventures!

Swinging Bridge Pawhuska

6 thoughts on “7 Things You Need to Know to Visit the Swinging Bridge in Pawhuska, Ok

  1. Kristen says:

    When I went to the swinging bridge in 2021, it was not stable enough for people it seemed. There were multiple large missing planks and definitely aged ones. I went about to the first big gap and came back

  2. Candice J Arce says:

    You provide such great information. I’m loving the emails of what to visit in Oklahoma. It’s nice to get some new place ideas to visit. thank you so much!

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