There’s arecognized anxiety disorder brought about by the abnormal andpersistent fear of crossing bridges – gephyrophobia. But when a row of rottingwooden planks, held aloft by frayed ropes and rusty wires, stretches out infront of you, even the sanest may take a step back. From sky-high concretewalkways to rickety rope bridges, have a look at some of the scariest footcrossings around the world.
Trift Bridge, Gadmen, Switzerland
Poised100 meters (330ft) above an amazingly colored glacial lake and totaling 170 meters (560 ft) inlength, the bridge is a crowning to the adrenergic alpine experience. To getthe chance of even looking at it, one needs to brave a cable car ride and a90-minute hike, so it’s triple fun if you have a head for heights and apenchant for risk-taking. Otherwise,think twice.
Carrick-a-RedeRope Bridge, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Spanning 20 meters and swinging high above the raging waves, the bridge links themainland near Ballintoy, County Antrim, to the miniature Carrick Island and todaylooks quite elaborate, compared to what it was like some years ago. If you findit scary now as you balance 30 meters above the rocky chasm, imagine thecrossing with only one handrail and huge gaps between the slats!
Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
For a walk among the tops of old-growthDouglas Fir trees, head to a private nature preserve on the Capilano River in theDistrict of North Vancouver. The major attraction – a 140 meter (460 ft) long simplesuspension bridge traversing 70 meters (230 ft) above the river – is only aprelude to the treetops adventure sensustricto. In the heart of the park, seven elevated suspension bridges, somereaching as high as 30m (100 ft) above the forest floor, enable visitors to “jump”from one tree to another. The so-called Cliffwalk Adventure, on the other hand,gives you a chance to peek into the canyon from a series of suspended walkwaysjutting out from the granite cliff face above Capilano River.
Aiguille du Midi Bridge, Chamonix, France
Thebridge may be short and apparently stable, but the key fear factor here is theheight and location. Suspended at 12,605 ft (3842 m) above sea level between twocliffs in the Mont Blanc Massif, the walkway offers breathtaking views of theSwiss, French and Italian Alps, as well as a hair-raising glance into the void … ifyou dare to look down.
Gettingto the top is no easy feat either, especially is you don’t enjoy heights. The Aiguille duMidi cable car leaves Chamonix at 1,035 m abovesea level and drops you off at 3,777 m, whichtranslates into an altitude gain of over 2,800m and the record of theworld’s highest vertical ascent cable car.
Canopy Walkway, Kakum National Park, Ghana
The CanopyWalkway is a series of net-protected hanging bridges soaring over a length of330 m (1,080 ft) among the treetops of Kakum National Park’s virginal forest. At40 m (130 ft) above the forest floor, visitors can have a unique close-upexperience of indigenous fauna and flora in a vantage point that wouldotherwise be inaccessible to people. The park boasts such rare animals as theendangered Mona monkey, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo, civet cats,269 species of birds and more than 500 types ofbutterflies.
Hussaini Suspension Bridge, Hunza, Pakistan
Pakistan is known for its precarioussuspension bridges, and the collapsing Hussaini is a real cherry on top of thenotoriety cake. Consistently dubbed asthe most dangerous rope bridge in the world, it spans 193 meters (635 ft),hangs treacherously high above the Borit Lake and misses way too many woodenplanks. Surprisingly, the long and dangerous walk is a daily bread for thelocals who couldn’t reach the larger cities of northern Pakistan otherwise. Fortourists, it’s most of the time a harrowing experience, and the sight of acollapsed bridge that runs parallel certainly doesn’t make things anyeasier.
Langkawi Sky Bridge, Langkawi, Malaysia
TheLangkawi Sky Bridge easily counts in a number of bridge rankings: the scariest, theweirdest, the remotest, the most crooked or beautiful – you name it, it’s gotit. The curvy walkway rises 609 meters(2000ft) above sea level and yields an amazing panorama of the archipelago. But… there’s one “but” – to get to the bridge, you need to take a hair-raising 2.2 km(1.4 mi) long cable car ride in a tiny gondola that takesyou from the bay to the peak of Gunung Machinchang. The whole experience canreally give you the creeps, but the views that you get from up there are wortha night full of nightmares about falling into the abyss.
Ojuela Bridge, Mapimi, Mexico
La Ojuelawould probably be a forgotten ghost town if it wasn’t for the 318 meter(1043 ft) long wooden suspension bridge that connects the tiny mining settlement with the site of the exhausted goldmine. Afantastic engineering achievement, the bridge has been restored as a touristattraction and today draws crowds to northeast Durango. Althoughthe wooden construction looks quite stable, the atmosphere of the abandoned towncan turn the walk into a real challenge for the nerves.
Titlis Cliff Walk, Engelberg, Switzerland
Don’t look down. At an altitude of over 3,000 meters above sea level, you’llwant to keep your eyes fixed on the panorama of the snow-clad mountains,especially that there’s a 500 meter deep gap below your feet. The Titlis Cliff Walk is hailed to be thehighest elevation suspension bridge in Europe and by far the best vantage pointto take in the grandeur of the Swiss Alps. To do so, however, you’ll need topluck up a lot of courage.
Royal Gorge Bridge, Cañon City, CO, USA
Consistently mentioned among 10 scariest nightmares ofan acrophobe, the Royal Gorge Bridge spans the Arkansas River at a height of 291meters (955 ft) and makes for a spine-chilling quarter-mile journey. Interestingly enough, the bridgewas not erected for transportation purposes but with the sole intent to serveas a tourist attraction. Money well spent?