5 fascinating bridges in the western U.S.

In the west, you’ll find that bridges, many over deep canyons and rushing rivers, are created out of necessity rather than for art. While these bridges are not the typical that you will think of when you hear the word, “bridge,” they are all interesting in their own right. While you travel the West, enjoy a walk or a ride over some of these bridges both small and large.

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge prior to the 2013 Fire

America’s Highest Suspension Bridge – Royal Gorge, Colorado
The bridge over Royal Gorge is America’s highest suspension bridge. The bridge crosses the Royal Gorge which  955 feet above the Arkansas River. Crossing the bridge on foot was an exciting adventure. You could look down into the deep gorge and at certain times of the day, see the train winding its way along the river.

Unfortunately, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park was almost totally destroyed in a wild fire in June of 2013. This photo was taken during a walking convention prior to the fire. The new Royal Gorge Park will break ground this month and beginning March 15, 2014, you’ll be able to join a guided tour while the construction continues. Tours are being offered between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday’s and Sunday’s, weather and construction sequencing  permitting. See the Royal Gorge website for details

The park hopes to open Phase I of the rebuild August 2014, which will include a new visitor center, aerial tram, and several other attractions. More on Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.

London Bridge – Lake Havasu, Arizona
Imagine, taking a bridge in London England apart stone by stone and shipping it to the Arizona desert. That is what was Robert P. McCulloch did in 1967. Each stone was numbered and then used in the reconstruction of the bridge over part of Lake Havasu in Havasu City, Arizona. The bridge was completed in 1971 along with a canal. It serves to link an island in the lake with the main part of Lake Havasu City.

London Bridge at Lake Havasu, Arizona

London Bridge was Reconstructed at Lake Havasu, Arizona

You can stay in view of the bridge at the London Bridge Resort. The canal-side resort continues the London them by housing a replica of England’s legendary Gold Stage Coach.  Built in 1762 to be pulled by a team of eight matched horses, the 24-foot-long gilded carriage has carried every British Monarch since King George III to their coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Lake Havasu is a mecca for boaters and those enjoying fun on the water, especially during Spring Break. The London Bridge remains a tourist attraction. More on Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Verde Canyon Railroad Trestles – Clarkdale, Arizona

Verde Canyon Railroad Crosses the S.O.B. Trestle

Verde Canyon Railroad Crosses the S.O.B. Trestle

A ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad just north of Phoenix, Arizona will give you a chance to relax and ride back in time to the mining days of Arizona. You’ll also, depending on the season, see wildlife such as Eagles and deer.

More than any other feature, Arizona is defined by canyons, after all it is the Grand Canyon State. All across the state,  great gorges in the landscape are destinations for their scenery and history. One of the most spectacular is in Verde Canyon. The Verde Canyon Railroad crosses trestles in this deep canyon containing the Verde River.

Guests in the open air observation car have the best view and photo opportunities.  You’ll experience a little Arizona railroad construction history which includes the S.O.B. Canyon trestle, Perkinsville Bridge and a 680-foot-long manmade tunnel. More on the Verde Canyon Railroad Excursions.

Little Rio San Antonio Bridges – San Antonio, Texas
One of the most popular things to do in San Antonio is to walk The River Walk. Part of the fun is crossing one of the many small scenic bridges along the San Antonio River. Unlike most bridges which are fun because of their height, these little bridges are considered the most romantic. They are especially beautiful at night while strolling Mariachis add to the atmosphere.

The Romantic Bridges of the Rio San Antonio

The Romantic Bridges of the Rio San Antonio

One special place along the river, Marriage Island, is  a little island where many weddings take place within view of two of the river’s bridges.

A great way to see the bridges from another angle is to take a Rio San Antonio River Barge cruise which is especially festive at holiday time.

Just after Thanksgiving the entire river is lighted for the season. Barges often have musicians and carolers aboard.

More on the San Antonio River Walk.

Off the Beaten Path in San Antonio

Multnomah Falls Bridge – Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Pedestrian Bridge Spans the Magestic Multnomah Falls

Pedestrian Bridge Spans the Magestic Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is a top tourist destination in the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Portland, Oregon. These beautiful falls drop in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet and a lower falls of 69 feet, with a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation between the two. The total height of the waterfall is listed as 620 feet. Beautiful Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon.

There are several ways to see the falls, based on your activity level. Of course you can visit from the base and take a photo of the double falls. Most take a short hike along an asphalt path to the bridge spanning the falls. This is the bridge seen in most photos. It is a short bridge which leads to the other side of the falls and a trail with many switchbacks taking you to the top of the falls. More on Multnomah Falls.