To most people bridges aren’t more than just common, boring structures. But with that said, what if I were to tell you that there are some bridges out there that are actually sort of… well, terrifying! That’s right! Just when you thought you were safe, even something as simple as a bridge can scare the life out of you. Sound farfetched? Well, follow me here, as we take a look at some of the most insane and terrifying bridges the world has to offer. Some of these bridges are so terrifying, you’d have to be a serious daredevil to even attempt crossing them. Ready to dive in? I sure hope you’re not afraid of heights. Let’s get it on!
1. Thrift Bridge:
Mountains can be a beautiful sight from a distance, but getting up close and personal with some mountains is no laughing matter. Covered in cliffs and gorges, and prone to landslides and avalanches, the Swiss Alps are some of the most unforgiving and dangerous mountains in the world. Still, there are somehow people brave enough to try to conquer these mountains, and high above Lake Triftsee, they built the Trift Bridge to help more people get from one dangerous side of a gorge to the other. This barely shoulder-wide suspension bridge looks to the naked eye like it twists and collapses with the slightest mountain breeze. Dangling over 300 feet above the freezing cold, unforgiving lake waters below. The worst part is, while you’re focusing on your footwork, there isn’t anywhere near enough floor to keep the dizzying drop just below you out of your field of vision, and with it spanning a length of almost 600 feet, it’s gonna be a lot of carefully mapped, vertigo-inducing steps to get across. Hope you know how to dive, just in case.
2. Mount Huashan Plank Bridge:
The Plank Bridge located at China’s famous Mount Hua is less of a bridge and more of a makeshift death trap. Made only of a few planks of wood attached to the side of the towering mountain, this absurd little crossing is absolutely made only for people who are certifiably insane, and we’ve got proof. In 2014 a daredevil hiker was making his way across the creaking boards 7000 feet above the ground and began showing off with his selfie stick. Luckily for us, he videotaped the entire encounter so nobody else ever has to try this. Even without the makeshift plank bridge, Mount Hua is considered the most dangerous hike in the world, with most people never even making it close to the breathtaking heights of the 7000 foot high wooden boards, either turning back or falling victim to the dangers of the mountain. I think I’ll be alright with just the view from the bottom…
3. China Gap Bridge:
China seems to have quite a thing for extreme bridges, being home to the largest one on the planet after all. However, the Gap Bridge in China is nowhere near as long as its record-setting cousin but nonetheless manages to stand out in its own crazy way. This insane tourist attraction is set up to test the nerves of anyone who claims to brave enough to walk it. Suspended over 440 feet above a steamy rainforest abyss in the mountains, the bridge is made up of a series of wooden planks separated, none of which touch each other. One wrong move and your body goes hurdling down towards certain doom…And while these wild adventurers lives and bodies are protected by the bridge’s insurance and attached to a safety line, their shoes and belongings very much aren’t, meaning if you drop something, you won’t be getting it replaced.
4. Mount Titlis Bridge:
Suspension bridges are usually just called that because they’re suspended off the ground, but when it comes to the Mount Titlis bridge in the Swiss Alps, it might just be because of the suspense the bridge causes for anyone who dares cross it. Opening as an automatic world record holder, the Mount Titlis bridge stands as the highest suspension bridge in all of Europe. Used to help skiers get across a massive wintery gorge, the bridge hangs at a vertigo-inducing ten thousand feet above sea level, only about as wide as a person’s torso, and with a crazy length of 320 feet, shambling across this bridge in heavy winter gear turns every step into an adrenaline spiking adventure. Imagine having to be the first ones to walk across the bridge, I’ll probably just stick to the bunny slopes…
5. Glass Bottom Bridges:
As long as they’ve been dangers for humans to brave, there have been those who seek to conquer them, and glass-bottom bridges drive in a whole lot of thrill-seeking tourists. China, in particular, seems to have a strange obsession with these see-through works of engineering insanity, and they’re home to several of the craziest glass-bottom bridges around, such as the Zhangjiajie Glass Bottom Bridge. But so that travellers don’t get too cocky, Chinese engineers have used advances in technology to their advantage and even created bridges with special screens on the floors, which makes it look like the glass floor begins to crack whenever you put your foot down, and some of the reactions people have when this prank is pulled on them are absolutely priceless.
Rest assured, the business of future adrenaline seekers is more valuable than making a bad bridge, so while these bridges are structurally safe, that doesn’t mean they aren’t totally terrifying to make your way across.
6. Keshwa Chaka Bridge:
This unusually named bridge is commonly known to travellers by another name: The Rope Bridge of the Incas. These bridges were first built out of rope by the Inca hundreds of years ago to get across the mountainous terrain where they ruled. They were made using the strongest vines and plants that could be used to make rope, which at the time was pretty much the cutting edge of technology. However, despite historic attempts at preservation, the rope just isn’t the sturdiest material over the course of hundreds of years. The terrifyingly made rope bridge spans an insane 118 feet across, which is a whole lot of vines and crosses 220 feet over the Apurimac River in Peru. Somehow the local people still use this ancient rope bridge today to get across the massive span.
Luckily, the locals have kept alive the traditions of making these rope bridges nice and sturdy, and every year they hand-repair any tears and imperfections in the bridge. Of course there’s no way a bridge of this kind can exist without attracting a bunch of adrenaline loving tourists, and every year the bravest and most adventurous thrill seekers the planet has to offer brave their way to Peru to try their hand at crossing the hand-made structures.
In the British county of Antrim, one of the most popular tourist attractions is the Carrick-A-Rede bridge. Connecting Ireland to the nearby isle of Carrick, the predecessor of this island-hopping bridge was originally built not by trained engineers, but rather by fisherman hungry for opportunity… and well, for fish I’m assuming. The first bridge to the island was nothing more than a wobbly rope bridge, however, thrill-seekers made it a point to take voyages to see this rickety old bridge, and crossing it became a sort of test of courage, not that it hadn’t always been. The bridge ended up topping the list of Northern Ireland’s most extreme attractions. Although reinforcements and wooden beams were added, the bridge is still highly unstable and easily moveable by shifting your weight around. Of course, adrenaline seekers only see this as a benefit, and every year a quarter of a million people pay the 5-pound entry fee to test their luck at crossing the terrifying structure and then have to walk back across it to go home. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay money to cross this bridge once, let alone twice.
8. Ai-Petri Bridge:
High among the stone mountaintops of Ukraine, the Ai Petri bridge is both awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time. The canyon-spanning footbridge connects the peaks of two Crimean mountains. This means climbers can get two separate views of some incredible sunsets and landscapes all in one day but at a pretty steep price. Because of the altitude, the suspension bridge is subjected to nearly constant swinging caused by the powerful winds, which are actually made stronger by the funnel-like shape of the surrounding mountains. This means anyone brave enough to try to conquer this bridge after having climbed all the way up a mountain is definitely going to feel the Ai-Petri bridge rocking back and forth unpredictably.
Hanging 4200 feet in the sky, clouds often form below the mountaintops this bridge connects, as well as pretty thick fog. Luckily visitors are attached by safety harnesses to the edges of the bridge, but that won’t make a single misstep any less terrifying.
9. Royal Gorge Bridge:
Located in Canyon City Colorado, the Royal Gorge Bridge almost looks like something out of a dystopian movie, with its insanely long metal body clashing against the beautiful natural scenery around it. Standing as the world’s highest bridge until 2003, this monstrous bridge spans a whopping 1290 feet across, dangling precariously above the roaring Arkansas River more than 1000 feet below. Connecting two sides of a massive gorge, the bridge has been renovated a number of times so it can safely carry cars, people or even semi-trucks without having them crash through the wooden floorboards and into the unrelenting current of the Arkansas River below. While the bridge itself is totally safe to cross, maybe do yourself a favour and don’t look down.
10. Vitim Bridge:
Russia seems to have quite the thing for dangerous situations, and the Vitim bridge seems like the perfect place for some insane viral clips to be made. This rickety old bridge crosses the Siberian Vitim Lake, a frigid state that spends most of the year as an unstable half-frozen death trap. Believe it or not, the bridge was originally a railway bridge, but I don’t really see it supporting a train these days. Shockingly enough it’s able to support RV’s somehow, with it’s aged metal structure and rotting wood plank base, but not with much ease. With a length of 1870 feet, it’s hard to imagine that not a single plank on the bridge has given out over the years. Crossing the bridge in a car successfully has become a serious badge of honour, and so far only around 34 people can claim to have made the crossing and lived to tell the tale. No sign of how many people didn’t make it though.