Mt Hermon Bridge, 2007

Zayante Creek, Felton, CA

Satellite View of Project Location View Larger Map
photo Carroll Vogel

USE:  Pedestrian

SPAN:  176'


TOWERS:  22' tall, A 588 Weathering Steel

NORTH ANCHORS:  5' x 5' Earth anchor, 12 ft soil depth each mainline

SOUTH ANCHORS:  Rock anchor, 15' penetration each mainline

MAINLINES:  1-1/4" Galvanized Structural Strand

The bridge is backlit by morning sun.

In 1841, California's first water-powered sawmill was built at the junction of Bean Creek and Zayante Creek on Mt. Hermon by P. Lassen, Isaac Graham, J. Majors, and F. Hoeger. One hundred sixty five years later Sahale erected a suspension bridge across Zayante Creek at the same location. Though much has changed during that time there is much that remains the same: Bean Creek still tumbles into Zayante Creek amid towering redwoods and the magical quality of Mt. Hermon Camps continues to offer visitors solace, tranquility, and escape from the travails of life as it has done for more than one hundred years.

Known in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries as Tuxedo Junction, Mt. Hermon was a stop on the South Coast Pacific Railroad running between Alameda and Santa Cruz. The magnificent forest and cooler temperatures beckoned visitors from the teeming emergent cities in the valley below to the famous "Hotel Tuxedo" for rest and relaxation. In 1906, the property was acquired by the Mt. Hermon Association and organized as the first Christian Camp west of the Mississippi, with the historic hotel renamed "Zayante Inn", after the creek. Currently, after more than one hundred years under the auspices of Mt. Hermon Association, the property continues operations as a non-denominational Christian Conference Center encompassing three primary facilities: Ponderosa Lodge, Main Conference Center, and Redwood Camp. While Mt. Hermon today is a modern conference center with state of the art lodging and hosting facilities it has not lost touch with its roots. Historic Zayante Inn is long gone; a victim of fire in 1921, but the site it once occupied is now the home of Redwood Camp, a rustic camp facility with cabins, pool, campfire amphitheaters, ropes course, playfield, and myriad trails used by groups of all ages as a retreat destination. The original train station still stands, and the rail line still functions as the historic Roaring Fork Railroad, with summer campers still riding a steam train to camp.

The Sahale suspension bridge is located at Redwood Camp and provides a vital link to the trails that reach throughout the Mt. Hermon property. It is a replacement bridge for an ancient timber suspension bridge that had served visitors and campers alike for generations. Succumbing to the forces of time and nature, the old bridge had been closed to use since the early 1990's. On removal, many of the timber components collapsed into dust and it remains a mystery to the Sahale crew still as to how the bridge remained standing in that condition by any other means than divine providence. Bracketed by towering redwood and swaying gently with any breeze and every footstep, the new bridge vaults through the forest over remnant foundations of the old bridge and allows visitors to once again enjoy a bird's eye view of Zayante Creek and the Redwood Camp surrounds.

photo Carroll Vogel
A suspender hangs in space.

photo Courtesy Mt Hermon Association
The finished bridge, 2007.