Tennessee has an incredibly diverse topographical landscape, so it’s no wonder that the state has tons of interesting bridges. With such beautiful nature and wildlife throughout the state, bridges are a fun, engaging way to see it all up close and personal. We found the coolest bridges around the state that are great stops for any avid outdoor adventurer.
The longest swinging rope bridge in America, the Bridge to Prosperity at Foxfire Mountain, is 335 feet long and only 4 feet wide. While this swinging bridge over Dunn’s Gorge may seem treacherous, the steel beams and concrete base of the bridge can hold up to 135,000 pounds. Swinging bridges are a longstanding tradition in the Appalachian Mountains because they enabled people to travel from one peak to another quickly. Foxfire Mountain features several other bridges as well, including the Whispering Winds covered bridge, where visitors write down wishes and hang them from the ceiling.
Right outside of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain has incredible sights, activities, hiking trails and more. The Swing-A-Long Bridge extends 180 feet, providing an incredible view of the forests and valleys that surround the mountain. As equally stunning as the view is High Falls, the beautiful waterfall near the bridge. This bridge also leads visitors up to Lover’s Leap, a cliff overhang that is the most iconic vantage point at Lookout Mountain.
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Laurel Falls is a beautiful 80-foot waterfall and popular scenic destination. The hike to the falls is 2.3 miles round-trip through lush forests and natural scenery. The Laurel Falls Bridge goes directly over the streams, dividing the upper and lower part of the falls. Overall, the hike to the bridge is relatively easy and gives you an up-close view of one of the park’s most picturesque falls.
This beautiful stone arched bridge in Cumberland Mountain State Park extends over Byrd Lake. Set on the Cumberland Plateau, the park is a popular recreation area featuring campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails and more. The sandstone-faced bridge has seven spillways that water flows through, making it the park’s most iconic landmark.
The Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge: Williamson Country.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is not only steeped in historical significance, but it is also one of the most picturesque routes to drive in Tennessee. Set along the beautiful backdrop of Birdsong Hollow, the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge is a double-arch concrete bridge in Williamson County. This giant bridge is more than 1,500 feet long, spanning a heavily wooded area and state Route 96. The views from below the bridge are incredible as well, so this is a perfect place to get out and stretch your legs when traveling along the parkway.
Each of these bridges are a great way to explore natural beauty around the state. Check out our outdoor recreation page for more ways to experience nature on your next trip to Tennessee.
From five-star dining at a picturesque farm in the Smokies to downtown retro digs with global cuisine, these hotels are just as diverse as the state itself. photo credit: @ brittany.neely