Alpenwild, the number one leader in adventure travel in the Swiss Alps, has been wowing guests with walks across the new pedestrian bridge, the world's longest, which just opened recently. This leading tour operator has already incorporated the new pedestrian bridge into popular treks such as the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route, or Eiger to Matterhorn, and day hikes in Zermatt.
"Hikers love it — it is a real adrenaline rush. As part of the Europaweg trail near Zermatt, the bridge has been an immediate sensation for trekkers on our trips, who previously had to make a three-hour detour to avoid the danger of rockfall," says Greg Witt, founder of Alpenwild.
"The hike is best done in the morning, as the rising sun crests over the mountain and lights up the bridge. You're sure to get some great photos — but you just can't photograph adrenaline," he added.
About the Europaweg Skywalk
Swiss engineers decided to push the envelope and build a pedestrian footbridge nearly one third of a mile long, and dangling 28 stories above a rocky ravine near Zermatt Switzerland. The Europaweg Skywalk now claims the title as the world's longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge.
The bridge opened in July 2017 after just 10 weeks of construction and at a cost of over $775,000. By the numbers, it's an impressive structure: 1,621 feet long and set at an elevation of 7,218 feet above sea level. At its highest point, the bridge is 282 feet above the ground. The cable tension is rated at 440 kilonewtons, which allows 250 hikers to safely cross the bridge at the same time.
Swiss engineers have used guywires and other anti-sway technology so that the bridge doesn't swing nearly as much as other much shorter bridges. Even walking through the mid-section of the bridge and with other hikers on the bridge, there is a slight bounce, but almost no sway.
The new bridge is a ribbon of steel gracefully draped near the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps. From the bridge, hikers can gaze across the valley to the 14,783-foot Weisshorn—one of the highest peaks in the Alps—and the immense glaciers which flank its slopes.
The bridge is steel construction with a grated steel foot bed, which allows hikers to gaze down into the chasm below, if they dare.
Europaweg Skywalk: A Destination On Its Own
No one is quite sure what to call the bridge. Officially it is the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge (Hängebrücke in German). But once hikers arrive at the bridge, it's labeled the Europaweg Skywalk, since it completes a long-distance hiking trail known as the Europaweg (Europe Trail). The residents of Randa, the town below the bridge, where hikers begin their ascent, refer to it as the Europabrücke.
Originally built to replace a bridge destroyed by rockfall in 2010, the new bridge completes a stage on the Europaweg route from Grächen to Zermatt. The bridge has become an instant stand-alone destination popular with locals and visitors from around the world. Within a few weeks of opening, thousands of people had already crossed the bridge—no easy task, considering that it's a two-hour hike requiring a steep ascent of over 2,000 vertical feet in less than three miles.
Alpenwild, The Leader In Walks, Hikes and Treks in the Swiss Alps
Alpenwild has decades of experience offering a wide variety of active tours enriched by local cultural experiences, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, culinary experiences and the unrivaled beauty of the Swiss Alps. The company also offers scenic rail tours.