Tucked away near the town of Eureka Springs in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas is a remarkable architectural gem.
Beaver Bridge, also known as the Little Golden Gate Bridge, spans 554 feet across the White River.
Location of Beaver Bridge
The bridge is located northwest of Eureka Springs on Highway 187. The drive to the bridge is incredibly scenic as is the river and the area surrounding Arkansas’ own little golden gate bridge.
Here are more specific directions to get to the bridge from Eureka Springs:
- travel north on Arkansas Highway 23 from Eureka Springs. (In the town this road is called North Main Street.)
- Go about 4 miles and then turn left onto Arkansas Hwy 187
- Follow 187 for roughly 2 miles
- Arrive at the bridge!
About The Little Golden Gate Bridge of Arkansas
Not only is this a beautiful bridge but it also happens to be the last suspension bridge of its type in the state. It is definitely a sight worth seeing and driving across.
Although it was built in 1949 the little Golden Gate Bridge still carries vehicles across the White River. We drove across it on a recent trip to Eureka Springs and it was so amazing!
Although this miniature marvel spans 554 feet it is only 11 feet wide. This means that cars have to take turns crossing as they can only move in one direction at a time.
Be sure and look for vehicles coming toward you before you cross!
There is also a clearance of only 11′ 4″ so make sure that your vehicle will fit before you venture across with something larger such as an RV!
The weight limit is 10 tons which is 20,000 pounds. You can definitely see the bridge sway as trucks drive cross it!
When you visit the bridge you will also want to stop at the parking area (on the Beaver side of the bridge) that allows you to get out of your car and enjoy the beautiful views as well as take photos.
Or you can just relax and enjoy the gorgeous White River scenery.
The bridge was recently repainted a beautiful yellow color and the wooden decking was replaced. In our opinion it is even prettier now than it did in the past! We love the refreshed color of the bridge.
Here are some important statistics about the Little Golden Gate Bridge:
- 554 feet long
- Only 11 feet wide
- Cars can only cross going in one direction
- Weight limit: 10 tons or 20,000 pounds
- Height clearance: 11′ 4″
The Town of Beaver
The bridge leads to the charming, tiny town of Beaver. The population here hovers around 100 people.
The town is located right where Table Rock Lake meets the White River. Table Rock Lake is one of the beautiful Arkansas Lakes that are shared by the state of Missouri.
The town of Beaver likes to call the little golden gate, “the bridge to nostalgia” as it leads to a place that hasn’t changed much over the years.
Not only is Beaver known for their bridge, but they also have a very popular waterside campground called Beaver RV Park & Campground which has both RV and tent camping sites.
Don’t worry! If you are pulling an RV that is too large to cross the bridge there are alternate routes which you can read about on the town of Beaver website.
History of Beaver
The Pioneer Construction Company built the Little Golden Gate Bridge in 1949, but let’s start a little farther back in time than that with how the town of Beaver came to be!
The community actually got its name not from animals that might have lived in the area but from a family!
In 1850 Wilson A. Beaver arrived from Tennessee and settled on the present town site. Apparently he was an enterprising fellow because he built a grist mill, an inn, and a ferry to help people cross the river.
They, unsurprisingly, called this Beaver Ferry.
Many people crossed the river on the ferry over the years and history records some of them.
One of the saddest examples was the Baker-Fancher wagon train which crossed the White River on the ferry in 1857. This wagon train, made up mostly of families from Arkansas, crossed the river bound for California.
They would never make it as this was the group destroyed in a the horrific event in Utah which is now called the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
During the Civil War the Beaver family housed and fed Confederate soldiers as they passed through the area. This included General Sterling Price who stopped by along with a remnant of his battered soldiers after their defeat at the nearby battle of Pea Ridge.
Eventually a town and post office were established and the name changed from Beaver’s Ferry to just…Beaver. Squire Beaver was appointed as the first Postmaster on September 22, 1879,
A quarry opened across the river from Beaver in the late 1800’s and supplied the stones for the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. It had about 400 employees.
This area, which for a short while became a town called Brooklyn, also was home to a plethora of saloons.
History of the Little Golden Gate Bridge
The ferry operated until 1926 when a concrete bridge was built across the river. A flood destroyed the concrete bridge in 1943 leading to the building of the suspension bridge in 1949.
Pioneer Construction Company from the Arkansas town of Malvern built the bridge.
The foreman on the project was M. R. Blair who also led the construction of many other dams, highways, and bridges throughout the southern and southwestern United States.
Can you believe they completed the bridge without the use of an industrial crane?
The Beaver Bridge has been refurbished several times over the years.
There was a scary event in 1981 when 2 overweight passenger busses crossed the bridge in the same day. It is said that these busses may have weighed 30,000 pounds or even more! The bridge had to be closed for inspection after this event.
Yikes! I wonder if the passengers on those busses had any idea what was happening?
Today, there are multiple signs on the way to the bridge informing drivers of the weight limits. Please be aware that your GPS does not know how much your vehicle weighs and may send you to the bridge as the fastest route even if it is not safe for you to cross.
Be safe and smart y’all!
This bridge is one of our favorite structures in northwest Arkansas. I hope that you enjoy exploring this beautiful area!
Thanks for stopping by!