Bridges are pretty tremendous, guys. Let me put it this way: back when I was living on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River, I had to cross into Illinois everyday to teach. Without a bridge, my only options would have been to either swim to Illinois (In winter? No way!) or take a submarine, I suppose (which admittedly would have been pretty cool). While my daily journeys across the Centennial Bridge might not have been all that impressive, there are plenty of bridges that are so intimidating that you deserve a firm handshake and an autographed picture of me if you cross it successfully. Here is a list of 10 bridges that only the bravest of us should ever attempt to pass.
10. Royal Gorge Bridge, Cañon City, Colorado
Originally built in 1929, almost 90 years later it remains the highest suspension bridge in America at nearly 960 feet. At 1,280 feet (390 meters) long and suspended over the Arkansas River, it is part of a gorge-side amusement park where you can enjoy an aerial gondola ride, crap your pants on the Royal Rush Skycoaster or fly across the sky along the highest zipline in the country. Of course, if that’s too much for you, you can simply take a walk or drive across the chasm.
9. Aiguille du Midi Bridge, France
The Aiguille du Midi isn’t a particularly long bridge, but that doesn’t provide much comfort when you realize you’re 12,500 feet (3 810 meters) above sea level! It does offer amazing views in the direction of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. But if you’re like “Bridge. Meh”, you can step onto a glass skywalk that places you over a 1000 foot (305 meters) precipice.
8. The Brave Men’s Bridge, China
If you’re afraid of heights, having your friends wrap you up in duct tape and haul you up Brave Man’s Bridge would probably not be the funniest prank. Or would it? This recently built all-glass suspension bridge in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park in China stands nearly 60 stories tall and is around 1000 feet (305 meters) long. Originally a wooden bridge (which was probably a pretty scary experience in its own right), engineers replaced a small section with glass. When they realized they had struck upon a pretty badass idea, they just went ahead and made the whole thing glass. While it looks scary, the designers insist that the steel frame that is used to support and encase the glass is strong enough to prevent a catastrophe even if the glass were to break. So I guess that means you should feel free to jump up and down on the bridge as you please! Please don’t.
7. Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, China
The Zhangjiajie is the longest (1,410 ft/430m) and highest (1,180 ft/360m) glass-bottomed bridge in the world. Crossing it might create some anxiety, but if you’re willing to show some courage your reward is a breathtaking panoramic view of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon. Of course, you can also do the zipline and bungee jumping thing if you’d like to cross those off your bucket list.
6. The Hanging Bridge Of Ghasa, Nepal
While most of the bridges on this list were created specifically for tourism, the Hanging Bridge of Ghasa actually serves a practical purpose. It seems that the livestock being herded along the mountain roads were creating traffic jobs, so they created a walking bridge. The wind gusts violently shake the bridge and make it appear to look fragile, but it is in fact very sturdy. Plus, as you walk across, you get to enjoy the spectacular open views of the Himalayas, so there’s that!
5. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Spanning 66 ft (20 meters) and suspended around 100 ft (31 meters) above the rocks, the original rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland was first erected by salmon fisherman 350 years ago, although the most recent incarnation was built in 2008. As intimidating as it might appear now, think about this: back in the 1970s, it only had one handrail and large gaps between the slats!
4. Capilano Suspension Bridge, Canada
The Capilano Suspension Bridge crosses is 460 ft (140 meters) long and 230 ft (70 meters) above the river. Fortunately it has a reasonably high railing, although that hasn’t stopped a couple of bozos – just in this decade alone – from climbing over it and plummeting to their deaths.
3. Huangshan Walkway Bridge, China
Located in Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), this pathway is known as the Bridge of Immortals. We assume that should give you some comfort because it means, as an immortal, you probably can’t die or something. It’s situated between two large, jagged granite peaks and creates some serious vertigo. But if you’re a real daredevil, it’s guaranteed to blow your mind with its tight and rickety walkways hundreds of feet in the air, with the unnerving prospect of falling off and into the abyss below. One trail along the side of the mountain consists of a few wooden blanks that seem to be attached with mere staples!
2. Iya Kazurabashi, Japan
Built within the Iya Valley, located remotely within the Mt. Tsurugi Quasi-National Park, the Iya-no-Kazurabashi is one of the most unusual bridges in all of Japan. This suspension bridge – which is 46 feet (14 meters) above the river – is constructed of vines that were historically supported on each end by giant cedar trees, although today concealed steel cables also lend support. Visitors cling to the vines for dear life as they cross the wildly swinging bridge.
1. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
The fact that the Langkawi Sky Bridge is located almost 2,300 ft (700 meters) above sea level hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most popular attractions in Malaysia. A true marvel of engineering with its astonishing curved shape and resting only on one pole, this bridge affords a panoramic view of Andaman Sea and the surrounding tropic forests. Of course, the height and rainy climate make it a literal lightning rod, which is why visitors have to be evacuated through a special exit whenever a storm arrives.