Eau Claire might not be considered the prettiest city in Wisconsin or the most outdoorsy, but when it comes to rivers and bridges I believe that Eau Claire takes the cake. In Eau Claire we have two winding rivers and a lake so on your daily commute or even for those visiting from out of town the bridges aren’t hard to miss. In terms of scenery and surroundings, most of the small bridges are located on the bike trails and used for non-motorized traffic only, but some of the larger ones used on the streets are also just as pretty.
If you’re looking for something fun to do for a day in Eau Claire you can bike or walk along the trails of the Chippewa Valley and visit nine of these bridges along the way.
Bridge #1 Riverview island bridge
This bridge is a nice rust color with wooden decking and overlooks a small creek portion of the Chippewa River. The bridge leads to Riverview Island and the area is very beautiful with picnic tables and a charcoal grill. There is also a bench that outlooks onto the water of the Chippewa River. Pets are allowed in this park area.
Bridge #2 Boyd park Bridge
Nice wooden and steel structure overlooking a beautiful view of the Eau Claire river from either side. It connects the bike trail that is on the Banbury side of the river to the park side.
Bridge #3 S bridge
Built originally with trains in mind, this large bridge still stands sturdy today as it did when the Soo Line railroad ran through. This bridge gives a great opportunity for walkers, bikers and adventures. From the bridge or the water, the view is amazing with a slight S shaped curve which gives it its name. The trail leading up to it on either side is very beautiful as well as it travels along the river.
Bridge #4 Dewey St Bridge
This bridge has a great arch structure underneath it and is a very pretty bridge. It can be seen from parts of the S Bridge and the bike trail that rides underneath it. It provides a great view of the S bridge as well if you look through the trees.
Bridge #5 Phoenix Park Bridge
This is a great entrance to the park from the other side of the river. It used to be a train bridge like many of the other pedestrian bridges in town. This is a good place to go to overlook where the Eau Claire and Chippewa River meet. It can also be used as a great spot to listen to the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series or for getting a bird's eye view of the downtown farmers market.
Bridge #6 Grand Avenue Bridge
This bridge is located on Grand Ave. near the Grand Theatre and Grand Ave. Café. The bike path uses this bridge to continue on the other side of the river as it continues winding around. If you’re interested in river height after a storm, there are level markings on the sides of the bridge to find out the water level. This area makes a nice stop for anyone going around Eau Claire on the paths to stop in some of the little shops on either side of the water.
Bridge #7 University Walking Bridge
This bridge is primarily used by UWEC students, but other locals can still cross this bridge too. You can get a great view of the hill on campus from this bridge and the bridge is very long so it provides good shots of the river. This bridge gets very cold in the winter due to its height and length over the river. Take your picture all bundled up on the bridge and go to Bridgeface on Facebook to see silly photos of others doing the same.
Bridge #8 Highway walking bridge
This is located right next to the Chippewa Valley Technical College and UWEC campus. It's used mainly by students of both areas. The bridge is arched twice and is completely windowed so that it feels like you’re walking over all the cars. This bridge is great for crossing the busy highway for students and pedestrians alike.
Bridge #9 Bike and pedestrian Bridge next to Clairemont
Located right on the bike path, this beautiful bridge has the same old train bridge style as the others but is also different due to the sound it makes when you bike over it. This also gives an amazing view of old lumber mill structures and the water that flows underneath the Clairemont Bridge.