A new trail path in China’s Tianmen Mountain National Park offers visitors an unusual experience: the floor and rails of the pathway are composed of glass, offering walkers a vertigo-inducing look at the sheer drops and wilderness below. The walkway spans three feet wide, composed of glass 2.5-inches thick.
Measuring approximately 200 feet (61 meters) long, the walkway is raised almost a mile into the air at about 4700 feet (1430 meters), inviting comparisons to the grand canyon ‘skywalk’ in arizona, USA. The passage joins the west cliff at the Yunmeng fairy summit, where Tianmen mountain and Zhang Jiajie meet. Visitors to the Tianmen mountain bridge are requested to wear shoe covers to keep the glass transparent and clean.
Tianmenshan in northwestern Hunan offers some of the most stunning scenery in all of China–see the “Gate to Heaven,” a natural sandstone arch from which the mountain peak gets its name-and the region knows how to market them. Since the founding of the Tianmenshan (or Tianmen Mountain) National Park in 1992 and its subsequent distinction as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, several flashy and somewhat bizarre attractions have been introduced to augment the breathtaking visuals in the hopes of boosting tourism, including a four-mile long, 4,000 ft-high cable car, a 165-foot tall man-made waterfall, a large-scale magic show sponsored by David Copperfield, and, perhaps the most spectacular, a 200-foot long observation platform suspended 4,700 feet in the air. The “Skywalk,” which opened last month, is fitted with two-and-a-half inch thick glass floors and barriers, similar to the Grand Canyon Skywalk and the Ledge at Chicago’s Willis Tower. Whereas those projects jut out into the void, the Skywalk’s narrow pathway cautiously hugs the rocky precipice as if unwilling to push its luck. Visitors must wear slip covers over their shoes to prevent smudging or dirtying the glass, so without any friction to keep you grounded hugging the rock wall might be your safest bet.