Acrophobia refers to the extreme fear of heights. More often than not, the fear can be classified as irrational. Psychologists have found out that it’s highly unlikely that you will develop a phobia after 30 years old. The list of suspension bridges we are about to give you will seriously challenge that thought.
However, we should also mention that the fear of bridges is called gephyrophobia. Yes, there is such a thing. So a bridge suspended hundreds of feet in the air is actually a perfect storm of fear for both the acrophobes and gephyrophobes.
And as suspended bridges are not that frightening to you, there are bridges in some parts of the world that are made of glass wherein you can actually see from underneath your feet the ground where you could fall. These glass bridges are no comparison to amount of scare you would feel if you were to cross bridges that are only made of rope and very small pieces of wood. Your drop area? A river with very strong current.
Nevertheless, read on if only to satisfy your curiosity about the suspension bridges you probably are not going to cross even if your life depended on it.
20 20. Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
Fully grown men crying. Children bawling and people crawling and hugging the walls. This is not a scene from any disaster movie but a normal sight for tourists who thought that it would be fun to cross the glass bridge in Zhangjiajie. The suspension bridge is made of steel and glass floor. It’s six meters wide and 430 meters long. It’s 300 meters to the bottom. However, if the height doesn’t bother you, you will be treated with a spectacular sight of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon. Perhaps, what makes this bridge terrifying are the scratches on the glass floor. It does make you wonder if it will break while you’re there.
19 19. Hongyagu Scenic Area Bridge
It has the reputation of being the world’s longest suspension bridge with glass floor. The bridge, located in Hebei Province has a vertical drop of 715 feet or 218 meters and spans 488 meters from the two peaks. The bridge is only four meters wide and the glass floor is 1.6 inches thick, giving you a full view of the valley below. As if walking across glass panels is not scary enough, how about some generous swing while you are at it? The developers claim that its steel braces are strong enough even amid strong winds. But it’s not a good feeling to be swaying several hundred feet up in the air.
18 18. Sidu River Bridge
The bridge can be seen in Badong County in Hubei Province. It is still one of the highest in the world rising 1,500 feet. It is also 4,000 feet long and connects Chengdu, the capital city of Shichuan, with Shanghai. It’s supposed to be engineered to hold 43 million tons of weight. That is equivalent to over one million Mack Trucks parking on the bridge simultaneously. The Sidu Bridge connects two mountainous terrains and underneath is a river. One cool thing about this bridge is the engineers actually used rockets to sling the first cable on to the other peak!
17 17. Capilano Suspension Bridge
We head off to Vancouver in Canada for the Capilano Suspension Bridge. At 230 feet high and 450 feet long, it’s not as adrenaline-pumping as the Hongyagu or the Zhangjiajie bridges but it offers plenty of scares. However, it can claim to be one of the oldest in the world since it was first built in 1889. Of course, it was reinforced and strengthened many times since then, or at least that’s what we hope. It does sway and bounce a lot when you cross the bridge. At least, this one offers an alternative if you chicken out. There’s a cliffwalk, which is pretty sturdy and solid.
16 16. Colorado's Royal Gorge Bridge
You don’t get to be listed in the “World’s Most Frightening Suspension Bridges” for nothing. This one opened in Cañon City in 1929, and for many years held the distinction for being the tallest suspension bridge until Sidu and Zhangjiajie blew it out the window. It spans 1,280 feet and 956 feet high (Zhangjiajie is 984 feet with change), you will be treated to an amazing view of the mighty Arkansas River. In the 80s, new suspension rods and cable anchors reinforced the bridge so it can be enjoyed by millions more in the future. This bridge is also named as the highest suspension in the state.
15 15. Charles Kuonen Suspension
The one thing about these bridges is that they do love their hyperboles and superlatives. Charles Kuonen is not exception as it claims to be the longest pedestrian suspension bridge. Located in Randa, Switzerland, this one provides an added bonus of vertigo as you start 282 feet high and descend down while you walk across the 1,620-foot structure that is only a little more than two feet wide. It’s so thin that seen from a drone and you can barely see it, and only if you squint your eyes. It’s a credit to Swiss engineering that construction finished in just 10 weeks. Not a few have gone back rather than brave the 10-minute walk across.
14 14. Tea Park Bridge
As heights go, this is quite puny, rising just over 20 feet over a field of tea leaves (hence, the term Tea Park Bridge). It’s located in Hubei’s Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. But then again, you will walk across a flimsy structure made out of nothing but rope, tires, and wooden planks. One misstep and you will find yourself lying down on the field below and looking up at the feeble bridge above. And before you enjoy crossing this bridge, you have to walk through mountainous terrains first to get to the place as transportation is a bit of a challenge.
13 13. Akashi Kaikyō Bridge
What’s probably scarier is the fact that you pay a toll fee of about $21 every time you cross this 2.5-mile bridge. That is more than three times the amount you pay to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! Eeek! Also known as the Pearl Bridge, this one can be found in Kobe, Japan. Safety is probably not an issue considering Japanese engineering that often errs on the side of caution, particularly since it’s often hit by monster earthquakes. It fact, the structure is designed to survive an 8.5 magnitude quake and Category 5 hurricane. Way to go!
12 12. Storms River Suspension Bridge
Located in Tsitsikamma National Park, the hanging bridge moves at the slightest movement but it does offer a nice view, which is nice. The 77-meter suspension bridge, which is known to give motion sickness to visitors, is actually part of the trail that meanders through lush forest. You will find yourself above the Storms River Mouth, which looks imposing from your own viewpoint. The whole trail will take a little less than two hours that will also give you the opportunity to cross two more suspension bridges. This 900-foot bridge serves as the pathway to Tsitsikamma forest, where visitors can enjoy the amazing views.
11 11. Mackinac Bridge
If you have professional drivers waiting in wings to drive terrified passengers over the five-mile bridge, then you can really say that Mackinac earns its reputation for being one of the scariest bridges in America. The bridge opened in November 1957 after three years of construction, and it connects upper and lower Michigan. In fact, there’s a whole industry out of it and it’s called the Mackinac Bridge Authority's Drivers Assistance Program in order to help scared drivers take it what others called “the longest five miles of your life.” This bridge is also known as the Big Mac and is the 20th longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
10 10. Ojuela Bridge
How do you like to visit a ghost town? There is an old settlement in Durango, Mexico that was opened to the public in 1991. Getting there, however, is a little tricky as you will cross a 1,000-feet bridge that overlooks a 327 ravine. The bridge, measuring just two-feet wide, is supported by two towers using steel cables. That’s not all. The road going to the bridge is an even trickier proposition as only vehicle can get through. It is a seven-mile stretch with narrow shoulders. Good luck meeting another vehicle because you are going to reverse for a while.
9 9. Memorial Bridge (Bay Bridge)
Connecting eastern and western Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay’s reputation precedes itself. It’s almost five miles long across, which just takes a little over five minutes of driving in moderate speed. However, you do have go hurdle an incline, which is 186 feet high at the peak. On a sunny day, the drive can even be pleasant. Wait until it’s hurricane season, however, and strong winds can force you to turn back. Not a few drivers lost their guts and froze in the middle of the bridge, which can be dangerous to the other motorists. Visibility is also an issue during winter, which only adds to the fear factor.
8 8. Trift Bridge, Switzerland
This pedestrian bridge was originally completed in 2004, although it was reinforced in 2009 with new cables, along with higher handrails, in order to stabilize the structure. There were far too many people who complained of motion sickness as they cross the 558-long bridge that stands suspended 328 feet high over the Alps. The design itself is nothing to crow about. We can just say that it prioritizes function over aesthetics. For adventure seekers, the Trift Bridge will offer another challenge as it takes a bit of a hike to get there and you are under strict timeline. You miss that narrow window and you walk back down for another two hours. That only adds to the fear factor, or the thrill, depending on the way you look at it.
7 7. U Bein Bridge, Myanmar
The U Bein Bridge in Myanmar is 1.2 kilometers long, perched atop the Taungthaman Lake, and it’s billed to be the most ancient teak bridge in the world as it was built by a former mayor in the 1800s. It’s also one of the most photographed sights in the whole of Myanmar as tourists flock to the site to see for themselves what the hype was all about. Some visitors have been calling it the U Pain Bridge. While this isn’t considered a suspended bridge, just the look and length of it can easily pass a scary experience just like any other bridges in this list.
6 6. Osman Gazi Bridge
It’s billed to be the world’s fourth longest suspension bridge and connects Izmit with Istanbul, the Turkish capital. At three kilometers long, it’s also the longest bridge in Turkey. What makes it scary is that you are actually gambling every time you cross that an earthquake doesn’t hit while you’re in the middle of the structure. The Osman Gazi Bridge, after all, sits on top of the Gulf of Izmit, one of the most active earthquake zones in the world. The bridge is rooted in place by a concrete foundation on top of a gravel bed so it’s supposed to be safe.
5 5. Chacao Channel Bridge
What is supposed to be the longest suspension bridge in South America will not actually open until 2020. It is 2.75 kilometers across, connecting Chiloé island to the mainland of Chile. You will not get to experience crossing the bridge for some time but people are already anticipating that it is going to be interesting to say the least. After all, you will be crossing a deep ocean as you hurdle strong winds and merciless currents. Did we mention there’s a major fault nearby? Completion of this bridge will pave way for people to have two transportation systems going to and from Chiloé – by land and by sea.
4 4. Bone Village Bridge
It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s not actually a bridge but more like an obstacle course. The suspension bridge that connects bone village to the mainland in South Sulawesi, Indonesia collapsed in March 2015. For reasons unknown, the government didn’t seem to find the time to replace the collapsed bridge. Instead, what you have is a makeshift crosswalk made entirely of rope. Describing the experience as wobbly would be an understatement as you will hold on for dear life and hope to God that the other person crossing with you doesn’t move as much. Yet, students of Bone Village cross the rope bridge every day.
3 3. Carrick-a-Rede Bridge
If you are afraid of heights, or of bridges generally, then the Carrick-a-Rede bridge located in Northern Ireland is probably an experience you can do without. It is a rope bridge on the way to the Grand Causeway. It is entirely safe, actually, albeit a little short. It is just around 20 meters across and it will cost you around five bounds for the luxury of getting a selfie. What’s probably scarier is the hike going to the bridge because of the narrow trails and the steep inclines. After trekking the mountains and crossing the bridge, you can fill your stomach in a simple and cozy café.
2 2. Copper Canyon Bridge
The bridge is part of the Copper Canyon adventure trail in Mexico. Not many people know it but Copper Canyon is actually deeper and larger than the famous Grand Canyon. The hanging bridge is actually not very long but it can get very wobbly even on a very clear day with hardly any wind. You do have a helmet, as if that will help you when you plunge to the abyss below. Getting there is probably more dangerous since you will travel in a public transportation for 4 ½ hours passing some areas riddled with drug violence. But if you’re up for it, the view from the bridge is just worth the effort.
1 1. Dulongjiang Cane Bridge
And now we are back to China, in Dulongjiang, a remote village in the Yunnan province. The cane bridge that is perched precariously over the angry Dulong River seems to be past its prime. The village is home to the Dulong indigenous people, and they are closer to Tibet in culture and tradition than they are to China. Getting there is an adventure to say the least as it will take you days of hiking over dangerous terrain. But you do have to cross this bridge that can get your knees wobbly. Locals will probably laugh at your pain, however, as they routinely cross the suspension bridge even with very heavy loads on their backs.