There’s a feeling of awe looking down from these heights. The bridges, some of which span some incredible expanses are feats of engineering. They traverse canyons, rivers, and required some ingenuity to design and develop.
The following list is the highest bridges in the United States. Some used to be among the highest in the world until more recent bridges (primarily) in China have been built.
These bridges are amazing and beautiful from both near and afar. You can really get a sense of scale from a distance, but it’s not until you get on-top can you really appreciate the heights they reach!
Where are the US Highest Bridges Located?
One thing that both surprised me and didn’t is that the vast majority of the highest bridges in the United States are located in the Western continental US. Of the 25 tallest bridges, 84% or of the bridges are located in those states. One of the 25 is between two states, and one is international (between New York and Ontario).
The breakdown of bridges is below:
#25 Crooked River High Bridge – Oregon
|464 ft (141 m)
|330 ft (100 m)
|295 ft (89.9 m)
This beautiful steel arch bridge is only open to pedestrians these days, but it became life in 1926 for all traffic.
However as time went on it just could not handle the traffic load on US 97 and was eventually replaced by the Rex. T. Barber bridge (later in the post) in 2000.
Still at the time it was one of the highest bridges in the US, and it still is a remarkable sight. And for those who are visiting you can explore 3 bridges on this list. This Crooked River High Bridge, the Rex T. Barber, and the Crooked River Railroad Bridge. That’s a lot in a small area!
Be sure to also check out Peter Skene Ogden Park for both some lovely nature as well as great views of this and the other high bridges.
#24 Hurricane Gulch Bridge – Alaska
|918 ft (279.8 m)
|558 ft (170 m)
|296 ft (90.2 m)
The highest and longest bridge in Alaska, the steel arch railroad bridge is a marvel of bridge construction.
Built in 1921, the Bridge was constructed for railway traffic heading north in Alaska. It’s about 175 miles north of Anchorage and north of Denali National and State Parks as well on route 3. Many of Alaska’s passenger rails pass over this bridge.
Passenger service started in August of 1921, and the bridge was the most expensive and difficult to construct of bridges on the line. It cost $1.2 million dollars at the time which is a huge sum of money!
The bridge spans over Hurricane Gulch and to build it, the company had to string an aerial tram over the gulch and build both sides simultaneously. Over 1,500 tons of steel went into its construction.
#23 Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge – Idaho
|1,729 ft (527 m)
|591 ft (180m)
|300 ft (91.4 m)
Located east of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the Veterans Memorial Bridge is an important transportation avenue for traffic on Route I-90.
The lovely segmental concrete box girder bridge carries 4 lanes of traffic for the highway above Bennett Bay along Lake Coeur d’Alene.
To build the bridge they used a balanced cantilever to build the sections of the bridge faster. This way they were able to average about 16 feet a week in build speed! The bridge was finally opened in 1991 at a cost of $16 million.
While the bridge is named Veterans Memorial Centennial (in Honor of Idaho Veterans), it was originally named the Bennett Bay Centennial Bridge. Although it is still often referred to as the latter due to its location anyway. The centennial in the name was in reference to Idaho’s Centennial as a state.
I drove this bridge myself for the first time in 2021 on a road trip from NYC to Seattle. The northern Idaho weather was foggy and spooky so while I could see I was on the bridge, I could not even really see the bridge itself!
#22 Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge – Oregon
|535 ft (163.1 m)
|410 ft (125.0 m)
|300 ft (91.4 m)
Completed in 2000, the concrete arch bridge in central Oregon is an important artery for traffic in Jefferson County. The bridge located north of Redmond Oregon carries traffic on US 97 between Bend, Richmond and north to Washington.
The bridge replaced an older 1926 bridge that was just not wide enough to carry the present traffic on route 97. It was also the first bridge in the US to use the cast-in-place segmental construction method.
The bridge was renamed for Rex. T. Barber (it was originally the Crooked River Bridge) in 2003 to honor the Oregon native who served as a fighter pilot in World War II.
If you visit be sure to also check out the slightly higher next bridge in the same area as well!
#21 Crooked River Railroad Bridge – Oregon
|464 ft (141.5 m)
|330 ft (100.5 m)
|320 ft (97.5 m)
Located north of Redmond Oregon, the Crooked River Railroad Bridge is a sister of Rex T. Barber Bridge as it crosses the same river nearby but for railroads. It is also the second highest railroad bridge in the country!
The two-hinge arch span was completed in 1911 and was important in that trying to cross the Crooked River was important for railroad building in the Deschutes Valley. There was a competition to reach the vast supply of timber south of Bend.
It was the Oregon Trunk Railway Company that won in building the bridge as it obtained the rights to build a bridge at this particular advantageous location from its acquisition of Central Oregon Railroad Company.
The bridge is only one of two railway bridges over the Crooked River, and you can view both it and the Rex T. Barber bridge from viewpoints along the road. Be sure to stop at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint to get a great view of the bridge.
#20 Fred G. Redmon Bridge – Washington
|1,337 feet (408 m)
|549 feet (167 m)
|325 ft (99.1 m)
Take note of the span of this bridge. While we are tracking heights, this bridge is impressive in that it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the US at the time of construction. It’s also the highest bridge in Washington State as well.
The bridge is located in south-central Washington just northeast of Yakima. The bridge was named for Fred G. Redmon who was a county commissioner and first chair of the Washington Highway Commission. However, most folks in the area just call it the Selah Creek Bridge as it crosses Selah creek.
Regardless, this 1974 twin arch bridge is a favorite of folks in the area and has quite a beautiful design. Definitely inspires folks with its adherence to both form and function.
#19 Thomas Creek Bridge – Oregon
|956 ft (291 m)
|371 ft (113 m)
|345 ft (105.2 m)
The highest bridge in Oregon, this 1961 truss bridge crosses the Thomas Creek along the Pacific Coast route 101. The bridge is located just south of China beach and a couple miles north from Whaleshead beach. It’s actually a warren truss, which was named for James Warren the designer (who also patented the design as well).
I drove this fascinating bridge my first time in 2005, and sadly have lost most of the pictures of my coastal trip from that time. But I recall being impressed by the bridge and the scenery along this part of the coast.
Even while not one of the highest bridges, at 345 ft, it does give an impressive view over the creek and coast! Definitely worth a stop on your trip through the area as well.
#18 Vance Creek Bridge – Washington
|827 feet (252 m)
|422 feet (129 m)
|347 ft (105.8 m)
This is a very interesting bridge as it is one that is generally not open to the public. However, the 1929 was commissioned by the same Simpsons Logging Company that built High Steel Bridge.
The bridge hasn’t had rail-traffic or even car or other logging traffic in a long time. It was the 2nd highest logging rail bridge ever built in the United States.
However, as one can expect, closing it to the public hasn’t stopped adventurers and thrill seekers from trying to find and explore the bridge. There’s lots of posts of folks walking and exploring the bridge and nearby land.
The company has done a lot to deter visitors including removing railroad ties, adding barriers, and surveillance. We don’t recommend visiting the bridge until some future plans are determined.
Since the bridge is too expensive (and ecologically disastrous) to destroy, there have been talks to open it to some tourism. There’s been some discussions of use for bungee jumping and other adventure sports. So let’s hope this opens to visitors again!
#17 Hansen Bridge – Idaho
|762 ft (232 m)
|258 ft (79 m)
|350 ft (106.7 m)
The concrete girder bridge is an important avenue over the snake river canyon near Twin Falls Idaho. This 1966 bridge replaces the 1919 bridge which couldn’t support heavy traffic. The original bridge was the first crossing of the snake river in Idaho.
This bridge is in a similar region as the Perrine Bridge although on the opposite side of Shoshone falls. It’s an important link from Twin Falls and Kimberly ID to I-84. There is a small parking area on the south-side if you want to get photos.
#16 Lewiston–Queenston Bridge – New York / Ontario
|1,594 ft (486 m)
|1,000 ft (305 m)
|370 ft (112.8 m)
The only bridge on the list that is international! The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge connects New York and Ontario north of Niagara Falls. The beautiful arch bridge is just south of the Niagara Escarpment (an important UNESCO World Biosphere). The Escarpment contains the oldest forest ecosystem in eastern North America.
Opened in 1962, the $16 million dollar arch toll bridge is an important link between countries. It’s also an important revenue source. The bridge is only open to vehicle traffic (no pedestrians). Pedestrians can use the Rainbow Bridge further south.
It’s been many years since I’ve crossed this bridge, as we normally cross the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls. The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is a twin of that bridge although much higher.
#15 Hoffstadt Creek Bridge – Washington
|2,340 ft (713 m)
|600 ft (183 m)
|370 ft (112.8 m)
Built in 1992, the bridge was the largest and highest of the 14 bridges that needed to be built following the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s. The bridge located along the Spirit Lake Highway, is the main highway for folks visiting the National Volcanic Monument. I drove over this bridge myself in 2005.
The deck truss bridge spans 600 ft across Hoffstadt creek forests that one can see the beauty as well as the destruction from the volcano.
The bridge won the 1966 merit award for long span bridges and cost $12.6 million (of the $200m+ overall highway project).
#14 High Steel Bridge – Washington
|685 ft (209 m)
|(366 ft / 112 m)
|375 ft (114.3 m)
The truss arch bridge is probably one that few people will get to explore as it’s located on a forest service road near Olympic National Park.
The bridge was built in 1929 to handle logging rail operations in the area. This was important as often logging bridges at the time were known for being more temporary, wooden, and less sturdy.
The Simpson Logging Company commissioned the bridge for their logging operation in the Olympic peninsula among other bridges. However, as time went on, rail for logging became very cost prohibitive which inhibited future projects.
These days the bridge still carries logging traffic, although in truck (vs. rail) form as well as regular roadway traffic. So since 1964 folks have been able to drive the bridge and explore the beauty of Washington forests in the area.
#13 Burro Creek Bridge – Arizona
|985 ft (300 m)
|680 ft (207 m)
|388 ft (118.3 m)
The 1966 Burro Creek Bridge located along Route 93 showcases jaw dropping views of the Burro Creek gorge. The bridge is located in Wikieup Arizona, about 124 miles northeast of Phoenix.
The bridge and area is beautiful with the natural gorge and desert landscapes is also a popular place to camp and hike. There’s a nearby Burro Creek campground that offers camping and some great views of the bridge as well.
The bridge is a dual-span, with the original 1966 truss arch handling southbound traffic, and the newer 2005 truss arch handling northbound. They are similar architectures but have distinctly different coloring.
#12 Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge – California
|1,217 ft (371 m)
|400 ft (121.9 m)
|700 ft (213 m)
Linking the Santa Barbara to Santa Ynez, the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge creates an important transportation artery in the Santa Ynez Mountains.
The beautiful green colored arch bridge is the highest arch bridge in California and a beautiful tourist site in its own right. Built in 1964 the bridge was noted for its aesthetics and historical landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The bridge cost over $2 million to construct, and later retrofits and safety improvements made the overall cost for the bridge significantly higher. It’s amazing how much more the retrofits are, with a safety fence in 2012 costing $3.2 million.
#11 Pine Valley Creek Bridge – California
|1,741 ft (530.7 m)
|1,691 ft (515.4 m)
|450 ft (137.2 m)
Officially known as the Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge, the concrete box girder bridge spans Pine Valley Creek in Cleveland National Forest.
The 1974 bridge was named for Nello Irwin Greer, the engineer responsible for designing much of the highway in this area. He was credited with preserving the town and much of the nature in this region with his redesign. The lovely bridge rises 450 feet from the river and is an important transport link on I-8 from Arizona to San Diego.
We’re glad they were able to preserve the beauty of the mountains and forest east of San Diego. The original US – 80 design would have forever altered the beauty of the region.
#10 Moyie River Canyon Bridge – Idaho
|1,223 ft (373 m)
|377 ft (115 m)
|464 ft (141.4 m)
Crossing the Moyie River, the Moyie River Canyon Bridge is a beautiful steel truss cantilever bridge in Northern Idaho.
One of the places that shocked me most is how beautiful Idaho is, and northern Idaho in general. The beautiful mountainous landscape, forests, and rivers make it such an idyllic place to visit. The Bridge does a beautiful job feeling in place in this region.
Built in 1965, the bridge replaced an older 1923 bridge and is close to the Moyie Dam. The dam is owned and operated by the city of Bonners Ferry. The bridge is on US Route 2, and you may cross it if you are planning to head north towards the Canada border.
#9 Navajo Bridge – Arizona
|834 feet (254 m); 909 feet (277 m)
|616 feet (188 m); 726 feet (221 m)
|467 feet (142 m); 470 feet (140 m)
The Navajo Bridge is the name of a dual-span steel spandrel arch-bridges over the Colorado River between Grand Canyon National Park and Page Arizona.
The first bridge was opened in 1929 and at its time it was one of the few bridges that crossed the Colorado bridge in the area. With the nearest crossing 5 miles upstream at Lees Ferry. Lees ferry is the only place folks can drive to the Colorado River along the canyon, and while the ferry is gone, you can still visit and boat from here.
Originally named the Grand Canyon bridge, it was renamed the Navajo Bridge in 1934. This bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in 1995 when the 2nd bridge (span) was completed. The bridges are one of the most popular tourist sites to see in Marble Canyon.
The bridges are very close in height with only about 3 feet difference. While they can be considered “separate” bridges, they are listed always together and therefore we agree with keeping them as one unit for the height list.
#8 Perrine Bridge – Idaho
|1,500 feet (457 m)
|993 feet (303 m)
|486 feet (148 m)
When I passed through Twin Falls, I had no idea I was traveling on one of the Highest US Bridges (or I would have stopped for longer). But the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls Idaho affords beautiful views over the Snake River.
The four lane truss arch bridge is named for I.B. Perrine who is credited as the main founder of Twin Falls.
The Bridge is a popular tourism spot, especially for B.A.S.E jumping as it is the only man made structure in the US where you can BASE jump year-round without a permit.
The Bridge is also near the lovely city of Twin Falls. Be sure to check out the nearby Shoshone Falls as well as the unsuccessful Evel Knievel Snake River jump site. The jump site is mostly a dirt ramp area but you can get a quick peek from the Canyon trail.
#7 Rio Grande Gorge Bridge – New Mexico
|1,280 feet (390 m)
|600 feet (180 m)
|565 ft (172.2 m) or 650 ft (198 m)
Known locally as Gorge Bridge or High Bridge, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a beautiful steel arch bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge. Completed in 1965, the bridge had some funding issues and almost became “the Bridge to Nowhere”, which was another one of its many nicknames.
The interesting part of the height is the controversy! It’s listed on the national register of historic places at 650 feet, another measurement came up at 565, and finally someone listed a compromise at 600 feet (that seems to have stuck!). There may be differences in measurement systems for it.
But regardless, it’s a beautiful spot to check out and outside one of my favorite NM cities of Taos. I’ve sadly mostly driven over this bridge personally at night en route to Taos or Santa Fe. The bridge’s beauty was even recognized in 1966 by the American Institute of Steel Construction.
The Bridge was also featured in several films such as Natural Born Killers, Twins, She’s Having a Baby, Terminator Salvation, among several others.
There is also a small rest/parking stop for those who want to check out the bridge closer. There’s also a few little look-out spots on the bridge where you can feel a bit suspended over the gorge.
#6 Phil G. McDonald Bridge – West Virginia
|2,179 ft (664 m)
|784 ft (239 m)
|700 ft (213 m)
Tied with the bridge below in height (I made that one higher as it’s older), the Phil G. McDonald Bridge in Raleigh County is a beautiful deck truss bridge.
The bridge is named for West Virginia native and Medal of Honor recipient Phil G. McDonald who’s bravery during the Vietnam War saved the lives of several soldiers at the cost of his own. The bridge was officially opened in 1988 and cost $29 million to construct.
The Glade Creek Bridge (as it’s locally known) offers travelers some great views of the Glade Creek (New River). While it was not the highest bridge in the US, it is surprisingly the highest among bridges in the Interstate System (part of I-64).
Let us know if you’ve been and gotten some great views from and memories from crossing the bridge.
#5 Glen Canyon Dam Bridge – Arizona
|1,271 feet (387 m)
|1,028 feet (313 m)
|700 feet (210 m)
Located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge is one of the most notable places to visit in the area. At it’s time of construction in 1959 it was the current highest in the world.
Built by the Bureau of Reclamation (which manages water, water-power in the Western US), the bridge was constructed mainly for bringing material for the nearby Glen Canyon Dam. These days the steel-arch bridge is also used extensively for traffic on 89 to Lake Powell and areas of Arizona, Utah.
You can drive over the bridge or you can also get some viewpoints. There are spots on either side of the bridge to stop and even walk across. Or you can check out the Glen Canyon Dam overlook from Page for another view of the area.
If you do visit, be sure to visit the Carl Hayden Visitor Center for more information on the dam and bridge as well as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
It’s one of the most popular places in Page Arizona, and you can check out our list of Best Things to do in Page Arizona.
#4 Foresthill Bridge – California
|2,428 feet (740 m)
|862 feet (263 m)
|730 feet (220 m)
Located in Eastern California in the Sierra Nevadas, Foresthill Bridge spans the North Fork river in North Auburn California.
Built first in Japan in 1971 (and installed / opened in 1973) the bridge carries both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. And while the bridge cost about $13 million to construct, the earthquake retrofit was nearly 6x more expensive at $74 million.
The bridge has become a popular tourist site for the region and has even been featured in movies such as the 2002 movie “XXX”. In the movie Vin Diesel’s character appears to jump from a car mid-flight and parachute to the canyon floor.
#3 New River Gorge Bridge – West Virginia
|3,030 ft (924 m)
|1,700 ft (518.2 m)
|876 ft (267 m)
Located in a National Park of the same name, the New River Gorge Bridge is a beauty to behold. It was one of the best views in the park and one of my favorite photos from the trip as well.
The Bridge spans 1,700 feet at its max across the new river, and the river is a popular spot for folks rafting through the park. Built in 1977, it was at its completion the highest bridge in the world for vehicle traffic. It has since been passed by the next bridge in the US and many others world-wide.
One of the best times to be here is the annual “bridge day” held the 3rd Saturday of October. You may even catch folks rappelling, bungee jumping, and base jumping from the bridge during the festival. Something I look forward to hopefully getting to see!
#2 Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
|1,900 feet (579 m)
|1,060 ft (323 m)
|890 ft (270 m)
Built between 2005 and 2010, the bridge located within Lake Mead National Recreation Area was built as a bypass for Route 93 traffic over the bridge. I recall driving over the dam in 2003 and thinking there needed to be a bypass!
The bridge was a costly but important endeavor, coming in at $114 million dollars in construction costs. The bridge links the canyon between Nevada and Arizona (Hoover dam is in both states).
The bridge is the first steel-concrete deck arch bridge in the United States, and the 2nd highest bridge in the US (after Royal Gorge). But it is the highest in the United States that takes vehicle traffic.
#1 Royal Gorge Bridge – Cañon City Colorado
|1,260 feet (384 meters)
|880 feet (268 meters)
|956 feet (291 meters)
Known as America’s Bridge, This is the beast of bridges, spans 880 feet across Royal Gorge and at a height of 955 feet. The bridge was built in 1929 and took 7 months to complete. The impressive steel frame of the bridge is anchored to the canyon rock side.
The bridge is only for pedestrians and is covered with 1257 wooden planks that you walk across on top of the bridge. Maybe one needs to count to be sure! The bridge is about 18 feet wide.
These days the bridge is the most popular tourist attraction in Canon City and one that folks travel to explore from all over Colorado.
Visitors can walk across the bridge and it’s also pet friendly. Since the bridge is part of a park, it does require tickets to visit which can be purchased on the Royal Gorge Website. You can also see it from below on the Royal Gorge Train. The bridge was the highest suspension bridge in the world until the completion of the Liuguanghe Bridge in China in 2001.
Honorable Mention: Grand Canyon Skywalk
|70 ft (21 m)
|800 ft – 3610 ft (240m – 1150m)
|956 feet (291 meters)
I had a hard time figuring out where to place this. If you look at the overall expanse below it is the highest bridge in the US at over 1100 meters. That’s a lot of space between you and the Colorado River. The highest vertical drop is about 800 ft though.
Overall though, while it is a bridge technically, it is more of an observation deck. It’s an incredible feat of engineering though! It’s built to withstand powerful seismic activity. It can supposedly support 70 747s.
The bridge is built and managed by the Havasupai Indians who own and maintain Grand Canyon West. There’s a lot to explore and do in this area if you have time beyond your stay at the National Park.
Visitors need to lock up all personal belongings (including cell phones / cameras) and you’ll be afforded a view unlike any other in the world! For those looking to visit you can explore more and buy tickets on the Grand Canyon West website.