You’ll need nerves of steel to enjoy China’s new mega tourist attraction: the world’s highest and longest glass bridge, which spans a canyon in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge—a two-hour flight from Shanghai—officially opened to visitors in August 2016, but closed within the fortnight because of the number of visitors that showed up. The stunning walkway recently reopened, following a boost in infrastructure such as parking lots and the ticketing system.
At 430m long and 6m wide, the bridge is a sliver that connects two cliffs, hovering 300m above the ground. It may seem fragile but it’s built to handle 8,000 visitors a day and 800 people at one time. In fact, the park authorities have gone to great lengths to prove its mettle: A two-tonne SUV drove over the pedestrian-only bridge (without incident), and volunteers were invited to whack the glass panels with hammers—it cracked but did not break. Going by the recent deluge of visitors at Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, safety concerns aren’t keeping anyone away.
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge often lures people into lying down flat on its glass panels for a panoramic view of the Earth from above—or a selfie. Photo courtesy Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Tourism Management Co., Ltd
In fact, the views are stunning enough to persuade visitors to lie down on the glass panels for a better look. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is known for its dense forests and spectacular rock formations, which were the inspiration for the Heavenly Mountains in James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. Reports say that the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible—“a white bridge disappearing into the clouds,” as Israeli architect Haim Dotan told Dezeen. The walkway is also poised to launch bungee jumping.
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