Southern Maine is a cornucopia of pristine beaches, picturesque lighthouses, and wide scenic vistas. The town of York, in particular, prevails as a popular destination for summer vacationers. While many tourists prefer the more direct path to the coast, smaller alternative routes are often passed over, but the explorer that opts for the scenic route is well rewarded. State Route 103 is such a road, and near it’s eastern terminus one can find the Wiggly Bridge.
Visible from the road, the steel structure juts out of the landscape with an arced wooden deck spanning a mere 75 feet between two petite green towers. When walked upon, the deck bounces and flexes, banging back and forth in the anchorages.
Local lore claims that it earned its name from a perceptive group of Girl Scouts who noted the bridge’s “wiggly” nature. Many native southern Mainers can share their own childhood memories of leaping over the edge into the water and being pushed underneath with the current, one way or the other depending on the tide. This practice, as well as clam digging and any other possibly damaging activity, is now discouraged due to the erosion of mudflats.
Although the bridge was built in the 1930s, its location and vicinity were important in the history of the second oldest incorporated town in Maine. The brackish water to the left of the bridge is the York River. On the right is Barrell Mill Pond, a centuries old tidal pond formed when early colonists built a dam to power a sawmill and a gristmill on the site. This was a central spot for the original settlers, as the boundary of the pond, the same path that leads from the road to the bridge, doubled as an important byway for farmers and traders.
Steedman Woods can be found on the other end of the Wiggly Bridge, a nature reserve and a pleasantly wooded reprieve from the summer crowds. The short hiking trails are an easy stroll shaded by tall trees, bordered by the salty estuary, and awash with the aroma of wild roses.
Know Before You Go
Open to public year round with no admission fee. Parking is available on the eastbound side of route 103, though some spaces are permit only. Dogs are allowed on leash. Beware of poison ivy and ticks.