Top five suspension bridges in Ontario

I was often in awe of the craftsmanship of many bridges I crossed or admired over time. Some of them are right in the middle of famous cities, probably famous just because of their prodigious bridges, while others are built in the midst of unbelievable places, in the middle of nowhere. Either way, all of them are taking you to some of the most scenic views.

Eagle canyon suspension bridge 100feet
Eagle canyon suspension bridge 100feet

There are several types of bridges, seven in total, including the suspension bridge. Accordingly with Wikipedia, the first modern examples of this type of bridge were built in the early 1800s. But the simple suspension bridges, which lack the vertical suspenders were first built in 1433 by the Buddhist Thangtong Gyalpo, known as the Iron Bridge Maker, who built eight bridges in eastern Bhutan, and by the Incas, from pretty much the same era. Certainly not from that time is the Inca Bridge, a suspended one in Ollantaytambo, Peru that we visited two years ago.

Ollantaytambo – Inca Bridge top view

Nowadays, there are few types of modern suspended bridges, using chains, or wire-cables, and Ontario has some of them.

  1. Scenic Caves Suspension bridge

At 128 metres long, the Scenic Caves Nature bridge is famous not only because of the amazing views of Georgian Bay, but the surrounding forests as well. Watching the stunning valley from 25 m above the ground might give you a feeling of imponderability, and freedom. Only 150 km North from Toronto, Scenic Caves suspension bridge is actually the longest suspended bridge in Southern Ontario.

As the name suggests, there is much more to discover at Scenic Caves, a spectacular setting above Georgian Bay at the highest part of the Niagara Escarpment. With several trails totaling 15 km, and few caves waiting to be explored, this is a nice place to visit during hot summer days, as getting deep into the network of caves and caverns carved millions of years ago by glacial ice can be quite pleasant.

Scenic caves suspension bridge
Photo credit: ScenicCaves.com

~ visited in August 2008

2. Ranney Gorge Suspension bridge

Located within Ferris Provincial Park grounds, Ranney Gorge suspension bridge stretches for 92 metres above Trent River. Although the park is only seasonal opened, the access to the bridge is open daily year-round, with access from the local streets located on both sides of the river. With an average height of 9 to 10 m, the bridge offers superb views of the Trent River Gorge, and of Ranney Falls.

Only 177 km East from Toronto, this suspension bridge can be quite busy during fall months, as the autumnal foliage marks the change of the season. With over 10 km of trails in the vicinity, one can admire beautiful fall colours and vistas.

Ranney Gorge suspension bridge is part of The Great Trail (Trans-Canada Trail), the longest hiking trail in the world.

~ visited in September 2021

3. French river / William E Small suspension bridge

Located right at the entrance of French River Provincial Park, this snowmobile suspension bridge was built by the French River Voyageurs snowmobile club in 2005. It can carry a large heavy trail grooming machine or over 100 snowmobiles at a time. It is said this bridge is the largest of its kind in the world, at 156 m long, 3.7 m wide, and 27 m high over the French River.

French river holds a national historic significance. Since it served as a major canoe route of the fur trade, this river is the first one to be designated Canadian Heritage River in 1986.

The bridge offers amazing views of the canyon, and the river. For the ones looking for an easy walk in the park, you can follow the trail that leads you to Recollet Falls. Marked as moderate, the trail begins at the Visitor Centre, and follows the edge of the French River Gorge.

Canoes on French River

~ visited in August 2020

4. White River suspension bridge

Part of Pukaskwa National Park, the White River Suspension bridge is the well-deserved reward after a rather difficult 9+ km hike (one-way from the Visitor Centre) showcasing the pristine ecoregions, including the boreal forest, and the Canadian Shield terrain. The bridge is part of the Coastal Hiking Trail running along the rugged and beautiful coast of Lake Superior, and it’s a superb stop for all backcountry hikers.

White River suspension bridge

Our eager anticipation to see the bridge started once we heard the waters, before we could actually see them; nine kilometers were long enough, but few more pushes got us right at the edge of the bridge. The river and the landscape were very refreshing, energizing us for the return hike.

White River - view from the suspension bridge

White river is considered one of the wildest white-water rivers from the region, starting from its source, Saniga Lake. Suspended 23 metres above Chigamiwinigum Falls, you can have a wonderful view of the vigorous and forceful waters from the bridge. You might feel lightheaded, especially after walking so long through the forest, but you can certainly have the bridge for yourself if you are in no rush, and why should you be!

White River suspension bridge

~ visited in August 2021

5. Eagle Canyon suspension bridge

Located only 80 km Northeast from Thunder Bay, Eagle Canyon suspension bridge is Canada’s longest foot suspension bridge at 600 feet (183 m). Eagle  Canyon Adventures is a privately owned park, opened seasonal, that offers campgrounds, ziplining, few trails, picnic areas, and endless scenic vistas.

Eagle canyon suspension bridge 600 ft

And if one bridge is not enough, there is another, smaller bridge spanning 300 feet long (91 metres). The 2 km trail starting from the entrance is a loop trail, and we chose to walk the shortest bridge first. This would be just a warm up for the next thrill, the longer one.

Eagle canyon suspension bridge 600 ft
Eagle canyon suspension bridge 600 ft

If you are afraid of heights, then walking at 46 metres above the canyon floor might not be for you. But don’t be afraid, people are nice, giving you space, and walking slowly, a step at a time is the solution, or else, waiting for everybody else to leave, and then you can have the whole bridge for yourself!

Eagle canyon suspension bridge 600 ft0 ft

~ visited in August 2021

32 thoughts on “Top five suspension bridges in Ontario

  1. We love the suspension (swinging) bridges wherever we go. We crossed one North of Wellington New Zealand that was only built for one person at a time and only wide enough for one foot in front of the other. A thrill for us and a challenge for our local friends, who conquered their fears and crossed. Thanks for sharing Christie. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Some really beautiful bridges … but I’m afraid, I will find it difficult to walk on them (you know, my fear of heights 😉) … maybe if you blindfold me, I will walk on the suspension bridges – but what is the use then because I won’t see the beauty around me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear you.. I am also afraid of heights, so I totally understand. I hold the rails so dearly on the first bridge at Eagle Canyon, you wouldn’t believe LOL The secret is a step at a time, and hold it tight🙂

      Like

  3. What the pictures don’t show is how the bridges move, more than the height, that’s what is worrying, you have to get used to it. Well, I’ve already been to Ollantaytambo, Caves and French River too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Supremely beautiful locations, but suspension bridges scare the crap out of me! I don’t even like getting too close to the edge of some of our cliffs overlooking the ocean… and that’s a bit more solid (hopefully!( 🥴

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed, it can be scary at times, especially if it’s crowdy. But I took my time to go slowly every time, and I think that holding the rail helped a lot🙂
      Christie, xx

      Like

  5. What a great post! Beautiful pictures of these bridge over the steep gorges. We actually visited the first suspension bridge in Bhutan! It’s been resorted and refitted, but much of the original structure is still there. Maggie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You were so fortunate to be able to visit that suspension bridge in Bhutan! I bet the feeling and the thrill to walk on it cannot be compared with anything.
      Hope all is well with you, the news re the flooding are terrifying.
      All the best, Maggie!
      Christie

      Like

      1. It was awesome! And scary to not be confident in the restoration/maintenence work. We’re not affected by the flooding as we’re far enough east. But it’s very devastating and will affect all of us in the west for awhile. Maggie

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, I do love a bridge and those are properly impressive!

    We visited Ironbridge in the UK in the summer. The bridge there is not quite on the scale of these magnificent creations, but it is the first ever cast-iron bridge of its type and apparently Ironbridge gorge the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution!

    Thank you for stopping by and following my blog. If you are a bridge fiend, you might enjoy my posts about the Ponts du Provence, including the sensational Roman Pont du Gard and that famous one in Avignon. https://worldwidewalkies.blog/post-covid-roadtrip/

    A blog about Ironbridge will be coming up…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pond Du Gard was one of my favourites while we did a road trip in France, many years ago (pre-blogging era😊) As for the one in Avignon, there is something funny about: when we were close to enter the city, my daughter suddenly started singing “Sur le pond d’Avignon, ou le dance, etc” and we suddenly realized there MUST be a bridge LOL
      I’ll check your posts out, it looks like you had some amazing time there😊
      Cheers,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pont du Gard is awesome. We almost didn’t go because of the hype and it was expensive to go in, but we found a way to walk there for free on one of the national trails – it was AMAZING as the footpath followed the ancient aqueduct. I still think it is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, we’ll at least be close to the Canadian border soon, as we’ll be going to Vermont, and maybe a day trip into Canada will be on. It’s – of course – quite a ways up for people who, like us, like to travel by car. But who knows?!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s