Glass bridges— elevated paths perched hundreds of feet above rushing waters and deep canyons—have grown in popularity in the last two decades. These glass-bottom marvels offer crystal-clear vantage points to admire amazing landscapes, take picture-perfect panoramas, and capture enviable selfies while amping up the fear factor. Acrophobics, beware.
From the Grand Canyon to the Canadian Rockies to China’s countryside, we have taken many walks to remember, but some of the most nerve-wracking, heart-pounding, and vertigo-inducing ones have been on these elevated walkways, largely constructed of glass. This death defying construction provides further intrigue that just a few mere inches of glass separate pedestrians from potential peril. We dare you to stand on these glass bottom platforms and bridges and look down and around without getting scared of heights.
Perched 918 feet above Sunwapta Valley in the Canadian Rockies, Columbia Icefield Skywalk is a lesson in ecology, geology, glaciology, and evolutionary history as explained by the self-guided audio tour. While heavy snow may pile up on the cliff-edge walkway in winter, the glass bridge’s four layers of glass can withstand the weight of a Boeing 737 airplane.
Why peer into the Grand Canyon when you can glide above it on the Grand Canyon Skywalk: a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extending 70 feet over the edge and 4,000 feet in the air. A stroll on the skywalk is breathtaking, but, rest assured, it is strong enough to support 71 million pounds, or the equivalent of 70 fully loaded 747 airplanes.
It certainly takes a brave person to cross the 984-foot Haohan Qiao (which translates to “brave man’s bridge”) because the bridge in China’s Hunan province hangs between a canyon 590 feet in the air inside Shiniuzhai national geological park.
Located in the Oetz Valley, intrepid travelers can take a gondola from Soelden village to access the remote, 65.6-feet-long Tiefenbachkogel catwalk. The cable-suspended glass bridge soars 65.6 feet above a giant glacier and affords enviable views of Austria’s Ötztal Alps.
Take a walk on water at the 49-foot-long Oryukdo Skywalk. The U-shaped glass bridge has been placed atop a cliff and juts out 131 feet above the water at the southernmost point of a coastal walking path in Busan’s Igidae Park.
Traverse Tower Bridge’s Glass Floor in the high-level Walkway positioned 137 feet above the Thames. The 37-foot-long floor has five layers and can hold the weight of four London black cabs.
Nestled in the Alps, Dachstein Sky Walk affords memorable views of the majestic mountains. The skywalk is part of Dachstein Glacier World, which offers other awesome altitudinal adventures, including the Dachstein suspension bridge, the Stairway to Nothingness, and a gondola with 360-degree views.
The 1,410-foot Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is not for the faint of heart. The world’s longest glass bridge hangs 984 feet above the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon in Hunan province, and, if that’s not enough, visitors can bungee jump from the highest bungee jump platform in the world.