Quickly after the discovery of gold in Butte County, the construction of a route to connect Butte Creek Canyon to the Paradise Ridge was needed. The Honey Run Covered Bridge was built by the American Bridge And Building Company of San Francisco. Original bids were submitted to Butte County in 1886 and the wood reinforced bridge with steel cables was finished in 1886 for $4,300. It was originally built to take a load of 1500 pounds.
The bridge was opened to the public on January 3, 1887. During an 1894 inspection by county road overseers, George Miller, Butte County agreed to pay for repairs of the bridge floor due to flood damage which amounted to about $259. In order to protect the bridge from further damage, the county approved for the bridge to be covered which took ten days and six men to complete in 1901. The Honey Run Covered bridge was in continuous use until one of the sections was damaged by an out-of-control panel truck in 1965. Shortly after the accident, the county decided to replace the damaged bridge with a new one a few yards upstream and tear down the covered bridge.
Community efforts led by local residents, Harley Johnson and Dr. Merritt Horning, to preserve the historical value of the Honey Run Covered Bridge, resulted in the forming of the Honey Run Covered Bridge Association (HRCBA) in 1965 and the building of the adjacent park which opened in 1972.
The bridge was built with Pratt style trusses some fifty years after their invention in the 1840’s by Thomas and Caleb Pratt. The bridge is 238 feet long and its uniqueness comes from its three unequal spans of 30 feet, 128 feet and 80 feet, and because the center bridge housing is higher than that of the two sides. It is the only three span Pratt-style truss bridge remaining in the United States. Untreated Ponderosa Pine was specified by the county for compression timbers and iron rods for tension. The original wooden beams are sheathed, top and sides, with sheet metal, and it sits on twin cylindrical concrete-filled metal piers.
The Honey Run Covered Bridge is the only covered bridge in the United States with three unequal sections and is only one of eleven covered bridges still standing in California. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.