Gephyrophobia, the fear of bridges, is a relatively common phobia, though most who have it don’t realise it. Crossing bridges can be a source of anxiety for many people who also suffer from claustrophobia or acrophobia (fear of heights). Like with most phobias, gephyrophobics recognise that the fear is irrational, despite very real feelings of the bridge collapsing or driving their car off the edge.
If your stomach has ever knotted at the thought of having to cross a bridge, you might want to avoid some of the world’s most treacherous and vertigo-inducing, including these 25. While normal bridges that thousands of people cross each day are enough to make some people choose a different route entirely, these bridges are enough to make even the bravest adventurers shudder.
The most dangerous bridges in the world are chosen for their staggering height or rickety boards and if they don’t collapse, they might make you want to leap to get off of them. While they are incredibly intimidating, if you’re allowed to cross, they generally aren’t unsafe and can be a major attraction for thrill-seekers. And the best part is that if you make it onto one, they tend to offer some of the best views around.
25 Hussaini Hanging Bridge- Hunza, Pakistan
If you visit Pakistan’s Hussaini Bridge, you’ll want to be very careful where you step. There are many dangerous rope bridges in Pakistan, but those living in the mountainous region of northern Pakistan traditionally needed to be creative in their modes of travel.
The Upper Hunza region is incredibly isolated, so rope bridges are still in use for farmers, but those not accustomed to the conditions should not attempt crossing the Hussaini Bridge. It is highly unstable and thin ropes and gapped planks provide little support, so it’s better left to those who have been crossing their entire lives.
24 Trift Suspension Bridge- Gadmen, Switzerland
If there’s one place you should get high up for the most spectacular panoramas, it’s the Alps. Thankfully, there are many walkways, lookouts, and, of course, bridges zigzagging through the mountain range.
The Trift Bridge, near Gadmen, Switzerland, is a pedestrian bridge at a towering 330-foot height, and offers a lookout over Trift glacier. Trift Bridge crosses the lake Triftsee, a turquoise-hued glacial lake in the mountains.
To get to the bridge, you’ll start with a cable car, followed by a gondola, but the final destination is well worth the trek.
23 Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge- Wulingyuan, China
Glass platforms are common at attractions with a bit of height to them, and when you combine a bridge with a glass platform, you get Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge. Formerly the tallest and longest glass bridge in the world, it stretches 1,400 feet over a canyon in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
The view to the sides is no doubt lovely, but it’s looking down that’s the real stunner. Visitors can gaze almost 2,000 feet into the canyon below, which will look like little more than a watercolor painting of trees. For safety reasons, only 800 people are allowed on the bridge at a time.
22 Aiguille du Midi- Mont Blanc, France
The French Alps are just as beautiful as the Swiss, especially in the southeastern resort town of Chamonix. The Chamonix-Mont-Blanc area is known for its remarkable skiing and snow-capped peaks, but perhaps Aiguille du Midi should be better known.
Once the cable car brings you to the summit, you can step onto the Midi’s platform, which, through glass walls, looks out across to Mont Blanc, the region’s most famous mountain. The cable car was once the highest and steepest in the Alps, so make sure to dress warmly and come prepared for the best experience.
21 Kuandinsky Bridge- Zabaikalsky, Russia
Of all the bridges at unsettling heights, one with loose planks and no railing is probably worse. Kuandinsky Bridge in Siberia is just that, and even more dangerous in winter when it freezes over with thick ice and snow.
Cars drive along the bridge that’s hardly any wider than a mid-size car, and crosses the Vitim River (it’s also known as the Vitim River Bridge). It was meant to be part of the Baikal-Amur Mainline railway, but when that idea was abandoned, the bridge was left to decay and has not seen repairs since. Still, locals and thrill-seekers come to attempt a crossing every day.
20 Puente de Ojuela- Durango, Mexico
Ojuela Bridge, or Puente de Ojuela, is a suspension bridge in the Mexican state of Durango, at the old Ojuela gold mine. Built-in 1898 to facilitate mining, it’s now a tourist attraction. Just outside the town of Mapimi, it is part of a larger Ojuela mine tour.
Stretching 330 feet above the canyon, the rickety planks offer little comfort for those with a fear of heights. The best way to see the bridge and canyon is with a tour guide, who will know everything about the former mine and mining town, and will guide you across the 1,000-foot-long bridge (if you choose).
19 Monkey Bridges- Vietnam
What's great about Vietnam’s monkey bridges is that they’re found all across the country—it's not just one bridge. Monkey bridges are symbolic of the Vietnamese countryside. Made of little more than a few bamboo or coconut planks over small bodies of water, with one or two supports in the water.
Though generally not very high or over very deep water, they can be very dangerous to cross for those who are unfamiliar. The name comes from awkward posture you have to assume to keep balance while crossing, much like a monkey.
18 Taman Negara Walkway- Pahang, Malaysia
Like the canopy walkway in Ghana’s Kakum Forest, Malaysia’s Taman Negara suspension bridge takes visitors high up into the trees, where the rope walkway bridges forest with sky. The bridge is 1,700 feet of hanging wonder, as you’ll see a different perspective on the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.
Taman Negara is 130 million years old, making it one of the most unique rainforests on the planet, and home to tigers, monkeys, and colourful birds. The canopy walkway, though narrow and seemingly flimsy, is one of the major attractions to the park, and is a must-see.
17 Musou Tsuribashi Bridge- Akaishi Mountains, Japan
Japan's vine bridges are some of the world’s most infamous, and if you’re afraid of bridges made of steel and cement, vines probably aren’t the most attractive material to build a bridge out of.
Musou Tsuribashi, one of these vine bridges, might be the scariest. It was possibly built in the 1950s, making it the oldest vine suspension bridge, and not well maintained since.
Reinforced by wire and wooden planks, the bridge is extremely unstable, with many planks loose or missing. But if you can make the steep and intimidating hike up the mountain, crossing might not affect you as much.
16 Qeswachaka Bridge- Huinchiri, Peru
A remnant of Incan culture, the Qeswachaka rope bridge is literally that—made entirely of rope. The “rope” is really just grass woven twice to create a strong system able to support people.
Rope bridges were very important to Incan society, due to the mountainous terrain they inhabited, transportation was difficult without crossing high passes and valleys. To cut travel time by a fraction, they built bridges. 500 years ago, the Andes would have been linked by these bridges, but most have been removed or decayed since the arrival of modern roads. Qeswachaka is the single remaining Incan rope bridge.
15 Capilano Suspension Bridge- Vancouver, Canada
In North Vancouver, you’ll find Capilano Suspension Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that hangs 230 feet above the Capilano River, in the canopy of the British Columbian forest. The bridge, anchored to the trees, weaves for almost 500 feet, and since it doesn’t connect anything, it's more of a walkway than a bridge.
The first bridge was built in 1889 out of nothing but hemp cord and cedar planks, but don’t worry, it has since been rebuilt with sturdier materials. The bridge is now part of a park and welcomes 80,000 brave tourists each year.
14 Hanging Bridge Of Ghasa- Ghasa, Nepal
The Hanging Bridge of Ghasa is one to make your heart leap into your throat. The bridge crosses the Gandaki River, a narrow but rapidly churning body of water (just ignore the enormous stones jutting out from the water). It’s made of strong cable, but the gaps in between the planks aren’t the most reassuring.
At 450 feet, you’ll be able to cross it in minutes, though it’s also acceptable to make a mad dash for the opposite end. It was built to ease traffic congestion due to herds of animals on the roads, so if can support the weight of donkeys and cows, humans won’t put much strain on it.
13 Langkawi Sky Bridge- Kedah, Malaysia
Malaysia's Langkawi Sky Bridge literally hangs low in the sky, above the mountaintops and snakes around the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang. The bridge is located on the island of Pulau Langkawi off the Malaysian peninsula.
Designed to curve around the mountains to offer alternating views, the walkway is about 400 feet of dizzying path, connected at both ends by triangular platforms. The first step in reaching the bridge is by cable car, enough for some to abandon any thought of actually walking the bridge itself, for others, it’s the first look at the stunning views to come.
12 Deception Pass Bridge- Oak Harbor, Washington
If you think of an image of a train bridge from an old western film, it might look something like Washington State’s Deception Pass Bridge. Though you won’t find any trains crossing the ominously named bridge, it does carry cars.
Deception Pass is actually two bridges, connecting Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island, with Pass Island in the middle. Neither bridge is very long, but you might hold your breath crossing the narrow bridges by car, as a glance over the edge proves to be a steep drop over the passes below.
11 Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge- Ballycastle, Northern Ireland
Crossing a quivering, narrow rope bridge to a tiny island in the North Atlantic may not be the holiday activity of choice for everyone, but the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland attracts thousands of visitors yearly.
The original bridge was built 350 years ago by salmon fishermen who used the island to fish, and the only building that stands on it is a fishing cottage. The National Trust lists it as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, and while it's open to the public to cross, pedestrians are limited to eight at a time for safety reasons.
10 Marienbrucke- Schwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle is an incredibly popular tourist attraction in the southern German state of Bavaria, but most tourists spend their day trip at the castle without exploring the area around it and missing out on the beautiful Pollat gorge nearby.
To get an up-close look at the gorge, you can stand on Marienbrucke, or Queen Mary’s Bridge. Dating back to 1845, the bridge offers one of the best angles of the castle for photography, and since you can’t take photos inside, you may as well take advantage of exterior photography.
9 Royal Gorge Bridge- Cañon City, Colorado
Imagine linking two of Colorado’s famous rugged peaks with a suspension bridge. We haven’t quite done that yet, but Royal Gorge Bridge has come close by constructing the world’s highest suspension bridge over the Royal Gorge.
The bridge is such an attraction that an entire park has been built around it, complete with zip line and gondolas for those who want to really test their limits. The main attraction is still the bridge, which stands at over 950 feet above the Arkansas River, fitting all of the Empire State Building underneath it.
8 Seven Mile Bridge- Monroe County, Florida
Florida's Seven Mile Bridge, aptly named, stretches son seemingly forever across clear, tropical water. Connecting Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key, it’s one of the most technologically advanced bridges in the country.
There are two bridges that make up Seven Mile Bridge, one for traffic, and the original bridge open for pedestrians. The pedestrian bridge was built in 1909 and though its sturdiness sounds questionable, it continues to draw tourists, from cyclists to pedestrians.
Walking or driving over the bridge is almost like passing directly over the water, as there is little in sight aside from the ocean.
7 Canopy Walk- Assin South, Ghana
Ghana's Kakum National Park is like many rainforests, a lush tropical jungle with diverse flora and fauna, but it has one unique feature that sets it apart from others. In most rainforests, you can hike or canoe through the forest floor, and you can in Kakum, but you can also walk among the canopy on a rope bridge.
The bridge was conceived to attract ecotourism and bring attention to the park, and was built to look like a natural feature of the forest. It’s suspended 130 feet above the forest floor, and is supported by both trees and a safety net.
6 Quepos Bridge- Quepos, Costa Rica
Quepos Bridge in Costa Rica may look like an exhausted pile of sticks on the verge of collapsing, but it’s a durable structure that still carries cars and even trucks across. Although traffic can only travel in one direction, it’s a widely used bridge from Jaco to Quepos.
You’d think it would hardly be able to hold pedestrians, but its purpose is mainly for traffic. Built in the 1930s, the bridge has had only primitive repairs since. It was originally used to transport bananas, and has supported large transportation vehicles since.
5 Sidu River Bridge- Yesanguan, China
Of all of China’s towering bridges, which constantly take each other’s title of world’s tallest or highest bridge, the current holder is Sidu River Bridge, which quite literally links mountaintops. The bridge has little concern for the rocky, mountainous landscape, and refuses to let it set back highway expansion.
It stands 1,600 feet above the mountains and over the Sidu River Valley, and once you make it on to the bridge, you have a 5,000-foot stretch to make it across. While not the most comforting, the bridge is well fortified and will make you feel like you’re almost flying.
4 Captain William Moore Bridge- Skagway, Alaska
Tucked away in the side of a mountain in Alaska is Captain William Moore Bridge, a 110-foot tall structure straddling a gorge over White Pass. Moore Creek Gorge is also named after William Moore, a versatile tradesman, pilot, and boat captain who helped pioneer the Skagway area.
Moore had a vision for a railway over the gorge, but the current bridge was built in the 1970s. To help stabilise it in the event of an earthquake, the bridge is only anchored at one end so that it’s flexible during tremors. If you want to see the bridge, you should rush to Skagway, because it’s lived past its lifetime and is due to be demolished.
3 U Bein Bridge- Mandalay, Myanmar
From a photograph, Myanmar's U Bein Bridge seems like a serene wooden footbridge in the South Asian country, but standing on it, you’ll feel different.
It’s the world’s longest teak footbridge, spanning the distance of Taungthaman Lake, which is sometimes fertile farming ground and others, a fully formed lake. Though used mostly by locals, tourists flock to it to take pictures at sunrise and sunset. While the bridge itself is a lovely photography subject, standing on the bridge and photographing the misty lake at sunrise also produces a pretty photo.
2 Mackinac Bridge- Mackinac City, Michigan
For most, the Mackinac Bridge probably doesn’t look like the scariest bridge, especially compared to some of the rural rope walkways and decaying bridges. But when you’re crossing the 5-mile stretch of the bridge and can see the true height you’re at, especially on a windy day, you might get more than a little spooked.
Built in the 1950s over the Straits of Mackinac to connect Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, it’s the longest suspension bridge in the United States. Like all suspension bridges, it’s designed to sway with the wind, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority reports it can move up to 35 feet at its most extreme.
1 Longjiang Bridge- Baoshan, China
Yet another of China’s breathtakingly high bridges, Longjiang Bridge in China’s Yunnan province looks the most dangerous from the photos. It appears to drop off, like a bridge that’s yet under construction. But the pictures are deceiving, and it’s a fully functioning suspension bridge.
At 958 feet high and just under 4,000 feet long, it currently holds the record for longest span of China’s highest bridges. Connecting Baoshan to Tengchong, it’s comparable to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which is only just slightly longer. The bridge is young compared to most, having only been opened in 2016.
References: Atlas Obscura, Lonely Planet, highestbridges.com