Whether made out of steel, rope, wood, concrete, or glass, the natural rocking a pedestrian suspension bridge experiences with a big gust of wind, or a group of delish tricksters jumping up and down on it, can shake the steadiest of nerves.
It’s a long way down as the bridge swings. Anyone with a good head for heights, and even those who avoid them at all costs know there’s a big difference between crossing a massive suspension bridge built for cars and trains, and one built for pedestrians. Depending on how you feel about heights (or more accurately, falling from them), this list of dizziness-inducing pedestrian suspension bridges will either give you a tingling thrill or make you want to curl up in the fetal position and go home.
The Kusma-Gyadi suspension bridge in western Nepal is one bridge you’ll want to avoid if you suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights) or occasional bouts of vertigo. If neither of these conditions applies, or perhaps you just want to push your fear responses to the brink, then feel free to jaunt (or ride a bike) across this narrow pedestrian path. It’s purportedly the tallest suspension bridge in Nepal, towering more than 400 feet about the Modi River. If you plan on spending any time in this mountainous nation, getting accustomed to heights as quickly as possible is a good thing. The Kusma-Gyadi suspension bridge will definitely give you some quick exposure and easy access to soaring heights.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
As you stroll across the top of Mount Mat Cincang, on Malaysia’s Langkawi Island, you’ll be as safe as can be, unlike many other entries on this list. Even so, when you come to Langkawi Sky Bridge, if you’re afraid of heights, be prepared to have the breath knocked out of your lungs. Langkawi Sky Bridge is a 410-foot curved pedestrian suspension bridge overlooking rainforests and the Strait of Malacca (provided the clouds haven’t rolled in to obscure the view). You can trek up to the bridge, or opt for the cable car and walk the last bit to the summit. There’s also an option to hop on the SkyGlide lift, which takes you right to the bridge. No matter how you reach the summit, the awe-inspiring vistas won’t disappoint.
Titlis Cliff Walk
The TITLIS Cliff Walk, free to all, dishes out exhilarating views of the Alps from the cliffside of Mount Titlis. Located in the heart of Switzerland, in the canton of Obwalden, the TITLIS Cliff Walk, with an impressive 1,640-foot drop underfoot, claims to be “the highest suspension bridge” in Europe (10,000 feet above sea level), often scaring the bejesus out of locals and tourists alike. If you have nerves of steel and relish the idea of setting your eyes upon some outstanding vistas of the snowy Alps, this is one thrilling (yet extremely safe) cliff walk you won’t want to miss.
Royal Gorge Bridge
In the mood for an easy-to-get-to family holiday destination, but still want to experience some dizzying, heart-pounding heights? If that’s the case, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, close to Cañon City, Colorado, should do the trick. Apart from hosting music concerts, as well as zip lines and playgrounds for the kiddies, the park is home to the Royal Gorge Bridge. The bridge stands 955 feet above the narrow canyon carved out by the Arkansas River below. People addicted to the buzz that comes from high places can saunter across this 1,260-foot bridge and peer down at the river, or else take in craggy canyon views from the comfort of the park’s aerial gondola.
Aiguille du Midi Bridge
Want to experience the French Alps and Mont Blanc up-close in an exhilarating, risk-free manner? If that’s a big ol’ “yes,” then the Aiguille du Midi Skywalk—along with the “Step into the Void” glass room with its see-through glass floor—touted as “the highest attraction in Europe” is the ticket for you. At 12,605 feet, the Aiguille du Midi wows with its marvelous views across the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps. While the bridge, glass room, and terraces don’t require any strenuous effort to visit (simply hop on the cable car), the big drops below should get your heart racing nonetheless. It’s perfect for thrill-seekers who’d like to avoid any actual danger.
Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
With a world record-breaking 1,620-foot span, Switzerland’s Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge offers any hiker with a head for dizzying heights an awe-inspiring way to quickly cross the couloir (a steep mountainside gully) that leads down to the narrow valley at the end of the plummeting rocky gulch, just to the north of Zermatt, Switzerland. This oscillating steel pedestrian suspension bridge, open from May until October and free to cross, spans the Grabengufer ravine along a rugged, mountainous hiking trail near the Swiss village of Randa, which isn’t too far away from the iconic Matterhorn Mountain. And while this swaying bridge makes for an exhilarating traverse, it should be avoided in inclement weather, or when overcast skies are threatening violent lightning strikes because we’d hate for you to get washed out or zapped mid-hike.
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge
Anyone who’s visited Hunan province recently, and wants to pump up their social media posts with some clickable snaps, has probably already made their way to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. If you number among those who haven’t, there are a few essentials you should know: Yes, this 1,410-foot span can induce weak knees and bouts of hardcore vertigo for many of the holidaymakers who flock to this spot every year. And yes, the sweeping views of the expansive canyon, not to mention Zhangjiajie National Forest Park’s celebrated quartz-sandstone pillars, are out-of-this-world. But, as is the case with so many tourist hotspots around the planet, you’ll have to contend with massive armies of eager sightseers to get your own chance to ooh and aah at the glass bridge with the see-through bottom. This is the definitely perfect stroll if you like to stare at your feet while you walk—and of course stare at the 984-foot drop below.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
In the northern stretch of North Vancouver, inside Capilano River Regional Park, the 450-foot Capilano Suspension Bridge has been wowing outdoor enthusiasts in British Columbia since the first crossing was built in 1889. The privately-owned bridge, which has been overhauled and rebuilt several times, hangs over the steep gorge carved out by the Capilano River. The park, lush with a dense, reasonably biologically diverse forest (including some massive old-growth Douglas-firs), offers visitors to the park an elevated Cliffwalk along the Capilano Canyon, and Ewok-style Treetops Adventure, plus guided tours and a host of other forest-related activities all for the price of a general admission ticket.
Highline179, named after Austria’s B179 Fernpass Straße, cuts across the Fern Pass (almost 4,000 feet) in the Tyrolean Alps. Once designated the longest Tibet-style footbridge in the world by Guinness World Records, this impressive pedestrian bridge actually spans the mountain valley that cradles the B179 motorway. And while Highline179 has dropped a few places in the record books due to the construction of longer Tibet-style footbridges in other parts of the world, it’s still worth a visit, as it’s incredibly easy to access, just off the main road. The 1319-foot span provides visitors to the Austrian Alps a playful little side adventure as they zip back and forth between Fort Claudia, and the medieval ruins of Ehrenberg Castle perched on a nearby hilltop.
Anyone who wants a calm, don’t-rock-the-span suspension bridge experience would do well to steer clear of the Sochi Skybridge, located in Russia’s North Caucasus. The 1,440-foot bridge and associated adventure-themed recreational facilities have been branded as a “Skypark,” with a 679-foot bungee jump (there’s also a lower, less severe jump for the faint of heart), as well as what the park boasts is the “world’s highest swing,” plus a whirlwind zipline over Akhshtyr Gorge. With stunning views of the Black Sea and tons of adrenaline-inducing highwire fun, the Sochi Skybridge, which engineers claim can hold 30,000 people at one time, should provide more than enough thrills for people looking for some open-air action hundreds of feet above the ground.
Storms River Suspension Bridge
WHERE: South Africa
If you ever hike through, or around the Garden Route National Park, along the Eastern Cape in South Africa’s Tsitsikamma region, you may have the chance to stroll across the Storms River Suspension Bridge, which traverses the Storms River Mouth. The park, where the river collides into the ocean, is green, gorgeous and wild. The narrow, 253-foot bridge, originally built in 1969, is part of the Otter Trail (named for the African clawless otter), famous for its native forests and outstanding scenery. After crossing the low-hanging pedestrian bridge, you can climb up to the lookout for some beautiful views of the Indian Ocean as it pounds the Tsitsikamma National Park’s rocky shoreline.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
WHERE: Northern Ireland
While the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge isn’t exceptionally long as these kinds of bridges go, this short span comes with a long and storied history. The first incarnation of the bridge, located at the northern tip of Northern Ireland, was built in 1755 by salmon fishermen eager to catch their swimming prey. The bridge crosses over the crashing waves from the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island, which is basically just a big rock in the sea that butts up against the coastline. And while the fishermen no longer use this rope bridge to bring in their scaly livelihood, the rope crossing (upgraded to meet modern safety standards), now run by the National Trust, still attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. When you think about it, that’s an awful lot of hikers for such a small, swinging span, especially when you consider the fact that only a handful of people can cross at a single time.