If you aren’t a traveler and you’re reading an article over the internet, odds are you haven’t been to the more treacherous parts of the world. The fact is, the modern world isn’t the norm on this planet, but we can get so comfortable in our lives that we can often forget this fact.
The fact of the matter is people live in jungles, mountains, near steep cliffs, and over crashing waters. Somehow these people have to travel from point A to point B and vehicles aren’t always an option. In some cases, neither is a sidewalk or even a simple dirt road. To get across the more treacherous parts of the world, most would turn to building a bridge. Many of these bridges are crude and simple structures, built by locals to travel in remote areas. Others are built with safety in mind, but their heights and locations add a very real element of danger.
Whether home-brewed or commissioned, take a look at some of the most dangerous pedestrian bridges on our planet.
10. Aiguille du Midi Bridge – France
This bridge at the summit of the Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps should not be crossed by anyone who is even remotely scared of heights. It crosses between two points of one of the highest peaks in the French Alps at nearly 12,600 ft. in the air. From the connected observation deck, one can see three different countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland. It is said that on a clear day, one can even see the Matterhorn.
While the height and mountain winds are the obvious dangers, it’s also highly recommended to bring a powerful sun-screen. Between the increased closeness to the sun, plus the rays being reflected off the snow and ice, you face the very real possibility of one of the worst sunburns in your life.
Don’t worry about having to climb the mountain to get to the bridge; you can just take a cable car system all the way up. Construction on the system took nearly 40 years.
9. The Monkey Bridges – Vietnam
These bridges, named for the monkey-like posture you must assume to cross them, are located at various locations along the Mekong Delta and have been described by many travel sites and magazines as the most dangerous bridges in the world.
At first glance they don’t look to be all that dangerous. They aren’t nearly as high up as a bridge connected two cliffs or two mountains nor are they that long, but the risk of falling or the bridge collapsing is much greater.
The bridge itself is generally constructed from one long bamboo log with another one above it to serve as a handrail. The supports for these logs are just a series of more bamboo, crisscrossed to hold the logs at their intersection point.
8. Puente de Ojuela – Mexico
This bridge was once used to transport ore from different parts of the Ojuela mining town at the latter part of the 19th Century. The town itself has since become a ghost town as the minerals have been completely depleted.
The bridge itself was built during the active years of the mine in 1898 but has since become a tourist attraction along with the ghost town in 1991. In that same year the bridge was redesigned and is only wide enough for pedestrian crossing. It’s predominantly made of wood, stretching roughly 300 meters from point-to-point, and looks over a deep desert canyon. A fall would most certainly mean death.
It is highly recommended that the bridge not be crossed by children or the physically disabled.
7. The Hussaini Hanging Bridge – Northern Pakistan
Hanging right next to what may be one of the deadliest bridges in the world are the tattered remains of its predecessor. This simple wood and rope bridge is no stranger to being taken away by a combination of weather and the waters below. In fact, it’s believed that even the second crudely constructed bridge was washed away by a monsoon in recent years.
Despite it being 2014, there are still parts in Northern Pakistan that are not easily traversed. Only one highway connects the different areas, and that only exists in the more developed regions. The more remote regions are still known for difficult travel due to the rough waters and mountainous terrain.
6. Trift Suspension Bridge – Switzerland
Whether you think global warming is a political conspiracy or you agree with the general consensus of scientists, a certain fact remains to be true: glaciers are melting and some of them at a surprising rate. The Trift Suspension Bridge, an extremely narrow suspension bridge meant only for pedestrians, was built in 2004 as a means to reach the Trift Hut of the Swiss Alpine Club. Visitors were once able to travel to the hut by means of the Trift Glacier, but it no longer reaches the necessary height due to melting.
The bridge is considered to be the longest and highest in the Swiss Alps, stretching 170 meters and sitting 100 meters above ground. When it was first built, it was a much more dangerous simple rope ridge, but has since been re-built into what you see today.
5. Seven Mile Bridge – Florida
Once known as the Overseas Railroad, this bridge is one of the longest bridges in the entire world. After the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935, the railroad was destroyed and the bridge was refitted for pedestrian and automobile use, connecting Knights Key in the Middle Florida Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Florida Keys. The bridge is highly susceptible to winds and hurricane damage as it stretches for miles across open water.
Many travelers are too terrified to even bother crossing it and stay on the key they came to visit. Some more daring pedestrians head to the bridge every year for an annual run across the bridge.
4. The Capilano Suspension Bridge – Canada
This narrow suspension bridge is 140 meters across and sits 70 meters above the ground in a Vancouver forest. It was originally a simple hemp rope bridge with wooden planks across the ropes. The hemp ropes were later changed to cables, but the bridge itself is still made of narrow wooden planks. The most interesting (and scariest!) feature of this bridge is the fact that it makes a curve and wraps around a cliff connected to a series of cables that meet at a central point.
This a pretty popular bridge for tourists, but it isn’t recommended for children, especially those that have a hard time keeping still.
3. The Canopy Walk – Ghana
Despite being a popular tourist attraction, the Canopy Walk Bridge is known to have areas that elevate as opposed to staying level, and is also known to have patches where some of the rope is simply missing. Missing rope is not a feature you want in a bridge that connects the tops of seven trees that are so tall you can overlook most of the forest.
The bridge is so narrow that two people can’t walk side by side, or in opposing directions.
2. U Bein Bridge – Myanmar
The U Bein Bridge connects two ends of the Taungthaman Lake in Myanmar. The bridge is made of the same wood used when it was constructed over 200 years ago. It doesn’t seem so bad at first, considering the lake is below to break your fall, but that’s a luxury travelers only have at certain points of the year. In the dry season they lake dries up completely.
Another danger of the U Bein Bridge is the complete lack of hand rails. If you ever plan on crossing this bridge, let’s hope you have a good sense of balance.
1. Musou Tsuribashi – Japan
This bridge is dubbed “Japan’s scariest suspension bridge” and just getting to it is an adventure in and of itself. First off, the Musou Tsuribashi Bridge is in the middle of nowhere, so don’t expect much in the way of help if you fall. On top of this, it can only be reached by climbing a mountain that is so steep it can only be scaled by using a series of chains that have been put into the stone.
Once you finally reach the bridge, you’ll be pleased to see that it’s very poorly maintained, and the planks you walk across are extremely thin, with gaps between them that are “conveniently” just big enough for a leg to fall through. The only thing supporting these planks is a series of very thin cables.