Improvements planned for Kinzua Bridge State Park Skywalk over multiple years, starting after fall foliage season

Improvements planned for Kinzua Bridge State Park Skywalk over multiple years, starting after fall foliage season

PA Wilds Conservation Shop and Visitor Center to remain open

The Kinzua Bridge State Park Skywalk, photo courtesy of LaKeshia Knarr

Mount Jewett, PA – The Skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park in the Pennsylvania Wilds will be undergoing a multi-year rehabilitation and renovation, starting after the 2024 fall foliage season, the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has announced. The park, visitor center, and the visitor center’s exhibits and retail offerings, will remain open.  

A star attraction in McKean County, and the Pennsylvania Wilds region, the Skywalk’s temporary closure is anticipated to impact visitation to the park and nearby rural communities that rely on visitor dollars to support local small businesses. 

“The Skywalk attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year to the Pennsylvania Wilds,” said Ta Enos, CEO of the nonprofit PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship. “DCNR understands how much communities and small businesses rely on the park’s foot traffic, and we really appreciate them trying to schedule this important maintenance around the fall leaf peeping season so the Skywalk can be open each year during that busy time that so many rural small businesses count on.” 

The PA Wilds Center, the backbone nonprofit for the regional PA Wilds strategy to grow outdoor recreation to help revitalize rural communities, said it has applied for funding from DCNR to help with public awareness messaging around the closures and reopenings, and storytelling and interpretation related to the maintenance that is happening.  

As part of its mission, the PA Wilds Center operates PA Wilds Conservation Shop gift shops at different recreation assets in the region, including at Kinzua Bridge State Park. The mission-driven shops have a major focus on selling products that are made by local craftspeople and small businesses from the PA Wilds region. The Center’s Kinzua Bridge gift shop has more than forty small business vendors from rural PA. Staff are also trained to help pass foot traffic to nearby attractions and rural communities. 

Photo by Hunter Casilio, taken for the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

“We know first hand how important the park’s foot traffic is to rural small businesses, so we are trying to be proactive and line up some additional funding to support extra advertising campaigns and similar efforts,” Enos said. “Openings and closures like this, over a multi-year period, can cause confusion for the traveling public, so we want to be the best partner we can to help get the word out. As an historic train structure and engineering marvel, we also want to explore if there is an opportunity to tell the Skywalk’s maintenance story, perhaps even as an onsite experience. I mean, people came to see the Viaduct when it ran trains. They came to see it after it got knocked down by a tornado. And they’ve come in droves to experience its reinvention as a Skywalk. I think there are definitely people who will be curious what the maintenance of such an incredible structure entails. So we hope to look at that opportunity with partners.”             

DCNR said the rehabilitation project is planned to begin in November 2024. A structural safety inspection determined that the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk remains safe, so visitors do not need to worry about rescheduling any upcoming plans. However, rehabilitation and renovations are needed to maintain the Skywalk and ensure its longevity for visitors for years to come.

The multi-year project will replace and add new steel to some areas of the supports that have been impacted due to exposure to the elements. Workers will need to remove then reinstall the decking and railroad ties in order to access the bridge’s towers during this renovation.

Photo by Hunter Casilio, taken for the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship

In addition to maintaining the structural integrity of the Skywalk, some improvements will also be made to enhance the visitor experience, DCNR said. This includes installing new plexiglass at the end of the Skywalk, as the old glass section had become foggy and difficult for visitors to peer into the valley below their feet. The renovations will also replace the handrails along the Skywalk, and workers will blast, clean and paint all of the steel portions of the Skywalk.

Although details remain to be finalized, the potential timeline plan is for the closure to begin on November 19, 2024, with an anticipated project start date in early 2025. DCNR anticipates that the project will be completed in fall of 2027. There will be temporary closures in September and October of this year for equipment mobilization and to take measurements for ordering materials. Work will be stopped during the winter months, but the Skywalk will remain off limits during that time, DCNR said.

The Kinzua Bridge Skywalk and Kinzua Creek Trail will be closed to pedestrian traffic during the project. The Skywalk is planned to reopen temporarily for two months during fall 2025 so that travelers can enjoy the fall foliage.

During the construction and renovations, Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center will remain open. The world-class visitor center features great views, self-guided exhibits, retail services and information about the surrounding area. The park’s picnic tables, pavilion, playground, and observation deck also will remain open to visitors during the project. The last few hundred yards of the Knox and Kane Rail Trail that terminates in the park will also be impacted during the closure, but a detour will be provided so rail trail users can continue on to the park visitor center.

“No one wants to see the Skywalk temporarily close, but this is important maintenance to get done, and we appreciate the Commonwealth investing in it, and continuing to support outdoor recreation development in rural PA,” Enos said. “There are a lot of great partners that help to promote the park and Skywalk – the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, Route 6 Alliance, Lumber Heritage Region, the Kinzua Bridge Foundation and nearby gateway communities like Mt. Jewett and Kane. We look forward to working with these partners, DCNR and others for the best possible outcomes for our rural communities, small businesses and visitors.” 



The Pennsylvania Wilds is a 13-county region that includes the counties of Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Warren, and northern Centre. The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that inspires the communities of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The PA Wilds Center promotes the region and its 2+ million acres of public lands as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, attract investment, retain population and improve quality of life. The PA Wilds Center’s core programs seek to help businesses leverage the PA Wilds brand and connect with new market opportunities, including: the Wilds Cooperative of PA, a network of more than 575 place-based businesses and organizations, and the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, a retail outlet primarily featuring products sourced from the WCO. For more information on the PA Wilds Center, visit To learn more about the WCO, visit Explore the PA Wilds at Find regionally made products at


Media Contact

Britt Madera | Communications Manager

PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.

[email protected] | 570-948-1051

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.