Bridges are truly marvels of human intelligence. For centuries, people have been improving on these structures that have the ability to speed up transportation and link us to places that would otherwise be difficult to reach. But some bridges are downright terrifying.
The debilitating fear of crossing a bridge is known as gephyrophobia, but most people have had that feeling of their knees getting weak when crossing one. We’ve found some of the scariest bridges in the world that are sure to make even the bravest travelers think twice before using them.
Royal Gorge Bridge — Cañon City, Colorado
Possibly the most intimidating major bridge in the Western Hemisphere, Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge has been terrifying visitors since 1929. It was built in just seven months, which is remarkable for such a structure, and spans more than 1,200 feet of rugged terrain that includes the Arkansas River. At its highest point, travelers will be a staggering 955 feet above the ground, which made this crossing the highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001.
Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge — Zhangjiajie, China
Slightly taller than the Royal Gorge Bridge, China’s Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is now the highest suspension footbridge in the world and its entire design was meant to entice thrill-seekers. Since opening in 2016, this stunning bridge has become a tourist destination because of its frightening signature feature: glass-bottom panels that allow walkers to see nearly 1,000 feet below where they’re standing! Tickets must be booked in advance and only 600 people are allowed on the bridge at a time, while the bravest visitors can bungee jump from a platform that is 984 feet in the air.
Grand Canyon Skywalk — Grand Canyon, Arizona
So-called vertical tourism is becoming a major business around the world and one of the most thrilling examples of it in North America is Arizona’s Grand Canyon Skywalk, which opened in 2007. This modern marvel of engineering is a horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottom walking path suspended high above the rocky ground below. Courageous visitors to this attraction, which is on Hualapai Tribe reservation land and is owned and operated by the tribe, can look 4,000 feet below, which is sure to make anyone feel a little woozy. Canada’s Columbia Icefield Skywalk offers a similarly unique experience.
Trift Bridge — Gadmen, Switzerland
Suspended in the Swiss Alps, the Trift Bridge offers some of the most breathtaking views of any bridge in the world. This tourist attraction was built in 2004 and eventually replaced in 2009 with a “safer” design, but its simple style is still enough to make most travelers think twice. It’s not only the bridge itself that will make your knees weak, as it requires a cable car ride and a 90-minute hike to even reach the structure in the first place.
Huashan Plank Road — Huayin, China
China’s towering Mount Hua is home to one of the scariest pedestrian structures in existence. Calling this a bridge might be a tad generous, as it doesn’t look like much more than some wooden planks attached to the side of a mountain, but we think it fits right in with the other structures on this list. The Huashan Plank Road accommodates only one-way traffic and has been called one of the most frightening hikes in the world. The entire path is less than 500 feet long but that seems like plenty of distance to regret your decision.
Captain William Moore Bridge — Skagway, Alaska
This humble steel bridge might not look too scary but when you know its story, it becomes much more intimidating. Alaska’s historic Captain William Moore Bridge, located near the border of British Columbia, stretches for only 110 feet across but spans an earthquake fault line. For this reason, the bridge is secured and anchored on only one end, so frequent earthquakes won’t tear it in half. It opened in 1976 and was used daily by all manner of vehicles along the Klondike Highway for decades until it was replaced in 2019, with the original bridge being used only by pedestrians today.
Langkawi Sky Bridge — Langkawi Island, Malaysia
Malaysia’s tourist destination of Langkawi Island is home to a bridge that offers an unforgettable experience to anyone brave enough to walk it. Langkawi Sky Bridge lives up to its name by allowing its pedestrians to stand more than 2,000 feet above sea level when they’re on it. This one is obviously not for anyone who has even a mild fear of heights, as to get to the bridge you have to first ride a cable car up Mount Mat Cincang and then climb a steep flight of stairs. But the pictures will look incredible on Instagram.
Capilano Suspension Bridge — North Vancouver, Canada
If you’ve ever wanted to walk across the top of a lush forest and pretend you’re an Ewok on Endor, Canada’s Capilano Suspension Bridge might be your best shot. This nearly 500-foot long structure stands more than 200 feet above the Capilano River in British Columbia. The bridge, which first opened in 1889, may not look as sturdy as some of the others on this list but a 46-ton Douglas fir once landed on it during a storm and it didn’t give, so it can probably hold you and your tour group just fine.
Mackinac Bridge — Mackinaw City, Michigan
Most bridges only take a matter of seconds to cross in a speeding car, but not the “Mighty Mac.” Michigan’s historic Mackinac Bridge stretches over 5 miles of water and takes at least that many minutes to cross, making it a real nightmare for anyone with a fear of crossing bridges. Winds on this titan regularly blow at about 30 mph, giving the whole thing a tiny bit of wobble that makes the scenic trip feel even more unbelievable.
Coiling Dragon Cliff — Tianmen Mountain, China
China has been upping the ante on terrifying bridges over the past decade and this is one of the boldest ones yet. The Coiling Dragon Cliff is a glass walkway that spans just 110 yards but you’ll probably be thrilled it isn’t any longer once you set foot on it. The path, which is just 5 feet across to add a layer of claustrophobia to the whole affair, is suspended more than 4,600 feet above sea level. The fact that the guard rail only comes up to an adult’s waist just makes the whole thing a nope-fest of epic proportions.
Kakum Canopy Walk — Kakum National Park, Ghana
Speaking of claustrophobia, this series of rickety-looking pedestrian bridges in Ghana will truly make you feel trapped as you cross them. The Kakum Canopy Walk is a series of seven bridges that hang over more than 1,000 feet of the lush jungle at Kakum National Park and offer tourists a view that is typically reserved only for monkeys. These bridges are so narrow that you’ll have to walk with one foot in front of the other at all times, but if you catch a glimpse of an elephant that’s about 150 feet below you, it’s unlikely you’ll have any regrets.
Duge Beipanjiang Bridge — China
Not only is China’s Duge Bridge a gorgeous piece of architecture, it’s also a true marvel of engineering. Oh, and it’s terrifying. With its driving surface suspended 1,854 feet above the ground, this is the highest bridge in the world as of 2021. Duge Bridge has held that title since 2016 and its dimensions mean that when you are crossing it, you are essentially driving your car atop a skyscraper taller than One World Trade Center for .83 miles. The four-lane bridge has reduced the travel time between the cities of Xuanwei and Liupanshui from four hours to one hour.
Storseisundet Bridge — Averøya, Norway
Imagine soaring along Norway’s Atlantic Highway in a speedy rental car, enjoying the untarnished scenery around you, when you see this bridge coming up in a hurry. The Storseisundet Bridge isn’t actually all that frightening to drive but the optical illusion it presents may get your heart rate up. This 850-foot bridge makes it look like it will simply end and dump your car directly into the sea once you reach its modest peak.
Titlis Cliff Walk — Mount Titlis, Switzerland
Take the narrow, simple suspension design of the Kakum Canopy Walk and move it to the top of the Swiss Alps and you’ve got the Titlis Cliff Walk. The view from this bridge is almost enough to make you forget that you’re hanging off the side of a mountain … almost. Its precarious walkway is only 3 feet wide and the 120-mph wind gusts will have you gripping the steel rails until your knuckles are white. Did we mention that this bridge is approximately 10,000 feet above sea level? That makes it the highest suspension bridge in Europe.
Ojuela Bridge — Mapimí, Mexico
Not to be outdone by its fellow North American nations, Mexico has its own fear-inducing bridge to entice adventurers. The Ojuela Bridge, which was first built in 1898 and had to be a truly harrowing experience in those days, spans nearly 900 feet across and more than 300 feet in the air. It was originally built for miners but is now a tourist attraction that’s a must-visit place for anyone interested in Mexican and Old West history, as it connects a ghost town to an abandoned mine, making for a truly spooky experience.
Hanging Bridge of Ghasa — Ghasa, Nepal
If you find yourself trekking through Nepal and come across this bridge, don’t be surprised if you see Buddhist prayer flags attached to the handrails. That may only add to its scenic nature but is also a sobering reminder of how terrifying this crossing can be. Ghasa’s Hanging Bridge is used by the residents of that small village, who often ferry their cattle across it! It’s known to be quite reliable but can reportedly feel quite flimsy when a strong wind gust comes through the valley it crosses.
Geierlay — The Hunsrück, Germany
Nestled in the green hills of western Germany, this frightening suspended walkway is unique among the tourist favorites on this list in that it’s free to cross. The Geierlay spans nearly 1,200 feet and sits more than 300 feet above the ground. It’s got all the hallmarks of a spine-tingling bridge: wooden planks, a deceptively simple design and low guard rails. It only opened in 2015 but has the look and style of a structure that has been in use for decades.
Hussaini Hanging Bridge — Hunza Valley, Pakistan
For anyone who wants to pretend they are Indiana Jones crossing a treacherous rope bridge that seems like it may give way at any moment, Pakistan’s Hussaini Hanging Bridge is a great choice. At about 100 feet above Borith Lake, its height is nothing compared to others on this list but it’s easily one of the most dangerous. As you can see, the wooden slats are spaced wide enough for a leg to slip through and your entire body could easily fit through the ropes guarding the sides.
It’s no wonder this has routinely been ranked among the world’s most dangerous bridges.
Poring Canopy Walkway — Ranau, Malaysia
Situated in Malaysia’s tourist destination of Poring, this daring bridge gives visitors a literal bird’s-eye view of a beautiful rainforest. The Poring Canopy Walkway is more than 500 feet long and about 130 feet above the jungle floor. The path is suspended with ropes, giving it a natural bounce as you walk along, stepping one foot in front of the other because the whole surface is roughly the width of a single board.
Unsurprisingly, this attraction is not recommended for people with heart issues or high blood pressure.
El Caminito del Rey — Ardales, Spain
First opened in 1905, Spain’s El Caminito del Rey — aka “The King’s Little Path” — has killed foolish adventurers in the past. From 1999-2000, five people died in falls at this attraction, leading to its closure for more than a decade. The walkway, which is built into a rock wall more than 300 feet above the ground below, was rebuilt and reopened in 2015, complete with a glass floor to add to the insanity.
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway — Louisiana
For commuters in Louisiana, The Causeway is a part of daily life — but for people who are afraid of crossing bridges or long expanses of water, it’s hard to imagine a worse nightmare. If traffic is flowing smoothly, a drive across this 24-mile long marvel of transportation will take about 30 minutes. That’s a half-hour of essentially being stranded in the middle of a massive body of water. It first opened in the mid-1950s and still ranks among the longest bridges over water in the world.
Windsor Suspension Bridge — Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar
Again, the view from this bridge is spectacular but it certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Windsor Suspension Bridge opened in 2016 and spans more than 230 feet of mountainous terrain with breathtaking scenery all around. Pedestrians are suspended more than 160 feet above the ground with very little keeping them from tumbling over the railing. You’re likely to feel it sway a bit as you cross but, according to Gibraltar’s tourism team, that just adds to the thrill.
Deception Pass Bridge — Oak Harbor, Washington
This gem of the Pacific Northwest looks like a pretty standard commuter bridge but it’s like something out of a horror movie. First off, there’s the name, which brings to mind urban legends about the ghosts of reckless drivers who may have plunged over its railings. Then, there’s the constant barrage of fog and mist that cover your windshield and make the crossing a white-knuckle experience for many. Deception Pass Bridge just gives off an eerie vibe all the way around.
Millau Viaduct — Millau, France
Southern France is known worldwide for its scenery and the Millau Viaduct has been a striking part of it since opening in 2004. This gorgeous bridge is the tallest in the world because of the staggering height of its support pylons, one of which reaches more than 1,100 feet above the ground. A drive across this 8,000-foot-long bridge is truly like a trip through the clouds in your own vehicle, which is equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying.
Akashi Kaikyō Bridge — Kobe, Japan
When Japan’s stunning Akashi Kaikyō Bridge — aka the Pearl Bridge — was under construction in 1995, it was hammered by the 6.9-magnitude Kobe Earthquake. It withstood the force of that natural disaster, earning it a reputation as an unshakable engineering marvel. That’s great to know, but it doesn’t make crossing it any less frightening. It’s more than 12,000 feet long and its roadway is more than 200 feet above the Akashi Strait.