If adrenaline has been missing from your life over the last few months, then perhaps this collection of fragile rope crossings and death-defying structures is for you.
For most of us, getting from A to B is (in most cases) accompanied with the minimum of fuss. A desire to either get on with the day, get home, or travel to a desirable location. Yet in some parts of the world, either by design or necessity, it’s not that simple. Every bridge holds some degree of danger but there are a few that are particularly sweat-inducing. Whether that’s by a particularly delicate (or straight up shoddy) construction job or they’re at an eye-popping height usually reserved for aircraft, these crossings come in many shapes and sizes. Just don’t look down.
Hussaini Hanging Bridge
WHERE: Hunza, Pakistan
Is this the world’s most dangerous bridge? Located in north Pakistan’s remote and mountainous Hunza region, the Hussaini Hanging Bridge looks the sort of crossing Indiana Jones would think twice about traversing. With travel in this gorgeous but stark landscape understandably difficult, these types of bridges are the only way of getting around for those who don’t have the money to fly. Swaying gently over the Hunza River, the Hussaini Hanging Bridge’s rickety combination of narrow ropes and wooden planks has enticed many thrill-seekers, photographers, and tourists from Pakistan and beyond.
Coiling Dragon Path
WHERE: Hunan, China
At a preposterous 4,600 feet high, taking a walk along the Coiling Dragon Path is not for the faint-hearted. Situated near the summit of China’s Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, this terrifying skyway is 328 feet long and only 5 feet wide. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the walkway itself is made of glass so there’s no escape from (depending on your mental fortitude) thoughts of impending doom. Admittedly, the views across the gorges and canopies of Hunan Province are stunning so there are some rewards, but this particular path won’t be for everyone.
WHERE: Gadmen, Switzerland
Just reaching the Trift Bridge is an achievement in itself. Hidden high in the Swiss Alps, a cable car ride is required initially, then followed by a punishing 1.5-hour hike before you finally reach the 170-meter-long suspension bridge. Hovering 330 feet above the Triftsee Lake, it’s surrounded by spectacular Alpine Peaks with turquoise lakes and nearby glaciers below. Originally opened in 2004, it was replaced in 2009 by a safer, sturdier bridge as tourists continued to visit, despite its challenging accessibility.
WHERE: Pennsylvania, USA
One of the more arresting and fascinating sights on this list, Kinzua Bridge in McKean County, Pennsylvania, was completed in 1882 and was in the process of being restored before a vicious tornado swept through the region in 2003, causing a large section of the bridge to collapse into the valley below. In 2011, the Kinzua Sky Walk—complete with an observation deck with a glass floor—was opened. The walkway is completely exposed to the elements but offers stunning views across the park and you can even see the mangled steel towers lying exactly where they fell over 15 years ago.
Brave Men’s Bridge
WHERE: Shinihuzai, China
China’s obsession with building panic-inducing crossings continues in Hunan Province with the alarming Haohan Qiao Bridge in Shiniuzhai National Park, otherwise known as Brave Men’s Bridge, for reasons that are immediately obvious. At 984 feet, it was the world’s longest glass-bottom bridge when it was constructed in 2015 and offers tourists a 590-foot drop into the abyss below. Apparently, the thick glass panels are 25 times stronger than typical glass panels, although how much that will assuage fears is anyone’s guess.
WHERE: Wales, UK
Over 200 years old and still standing strong, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the world’s highest canal aqueduct. Carrying the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee in north east Wales, it’s also possible to walk across the aqueduct. While it’s by no stretch the tallest of the constructions in this list (126 feet high), it’s completely exposed to the elements and offers a startling sheer drop to River Dee below. Built over the course of 10 years and finally completed in 1805, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
WHERE: Langkawi, Malaysia
Snaking its way across a quilt of mountain forest on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, the Langkawi Sky Bridge offers spectacular views that stretch as far as the Thai island of Tarutao. As it’s situated over 2,000 feet above sea level, it’s unsurprising that it’s only reachable by cable car. At 410 feet long, the precarious-looking bridge was opened in 2005 but closed between 2012 and 2015 for renovations. Even with the added safety measures, this tree-top walk is still a hair-raising experience.
Royal Gorge Bridge
WHERE: Canon City, Colorado
Completed in 1929 and standing at a height of 955 feet, Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge still holds the title of the United States’ highest bridge. Crossing the immense Royal Gorge and looking down onto the Arkansas River far below, the bridge is an impressive yet unnerving way of getting from one side of the famous gorge to the other. The area has now been turned into a tourist trap with the introduction of a rollercoaster, zip line, and sundry other attractions; but have no doubt—the bridge is still the star of the show.
Aiguille du Midi Bridge
WHERE: Alps, France
At an absurd 12,500 feet above sea level, this short bridge blows away the competition in terms of height. As small as it may be, this bridge comes with views that few others can hope to compete with. Residing near the summit of the Aiguille du Midi mountain in the French Alps, it offers spectacular vistas across the Mont Blanc massif. And as if that wasn’t enough to tempt you to visit this petrifying lookout, a glass floor has now been added that peers down into the snowy abyss below.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
WHERE: Vancouver, Canada
Attracting over 1 million visitors per year, this 230-foot-high bridge is clearly a hit with Vancouver’s tourists despite its slightly fragile appearance. Suspended amid the fir trees surrounding the Capilano River in North Vancouver, the original bridge was built back in 1889 but was rebuilt in 1956. The cables are now coated with 13 tons of concrete at either end which should be enough to ease any fears, although the river below still looks an awfully long way down. Added in 2011, the park now features a narrow suspended walkway (called Cliffwalk) just in case the bridge itself didn’t provide an adequate adrenaline rush.
Kakum Canopy Walk
WHERE: Kakum National Park, Ghana
Raised up 130 feet through the thick rainforest in Ghana’s Kakum National Park, the Kakum Canopy Walk is a rickety-looking structure designed to put visitors at a height typically reserved for monkeys and birds. Opened in 1995, the little-known park certainly had tourism in mind when it put together this collection of seven bridges made of wire rope and wooden planks. How much wildlife you will actually see on any given day is in the lap of the gods, but these precarious canopies should be enough to hold your attention. Unlike any of the other bridges in this list however, the Kakum Canopy Walk has safety netting beneath just in case the worst happens.
U Bein Bridge
WHERE: Amarapura, Myanmar
Constructed in 1857 from the ruins of a nearby teak palace close to Amarapura in Myanmar, the designers of this 1.2-kilometer-long bridge probably weren’t considering how Instagram-friendly it would be at the time. Providing beautiful sunset shots as its long frame silhouettes nicely against the golden glowing orb of the sun, U Bein Bridge is popular with locals and tourists alike. While the 150-year-old bridge isn’t particularly high, its length leaves visitors remarkably exposed when crossing the vast Taungthaman Lake.