If you have a fear of heights, Switzerland just unveiled a new place you may want to avoid. This harrowing experience comes in the form of the new world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge opened on July 29th and many hikers are already hesitant to cross. And for good reason.
The bridge spans 1621 feet and sits 279 feet above the valley floor. For some perspective, the footbridge is seven city-blocks long and the height of a 30 story building. Not your usual hiking fair, but then again, neither are the Swiss Alps. The bridge maintains the same essential structure of a long rope-bridge. Cable railings and netting keep you from falling overboard…but not much else. And rest assured that this bridge is flexible, moving beneath your feet as it swings in the Alpine breeze. In fact, the bridge’s metal mesh floor ensures you will be able to see all the way to the valley floor with each step you take.
Now that it is open, the bridge helps connect Zermatt and Grachen, Switzerland.These are two popular high altitude towns, attracting vacationers and outdoor enthusiast. Cutting across a deep ravine, the bridge follows the Europaweg, a hiking trail situated on ridgelines high in the Alps. This addition cuts the journey from around four hours to just ten minutes. Hikers welcome the aid because, as part of a two-day trek, the construct eliminates a steep valley obstacle.
This bridge doubles as an ideal viewing platform for the natural landscape. Views of the surrounding area are said to be some of the most beautiful in the entire Alpine country. From the bridge, hikers can see the famous Matterhorn and Weisshorn peaks, as well as the Bernese Alps. And with a wire-mesh floor, the bridge provides uninhibited views of the valley below. If you’re brave enough to look down, that is.