From groups, to landscapes, to travel, and even selfies, bridges are the most photographed architectural structures in the world. After all who doesn’t want a picture from a bridge. California has no shortage of bridges to explore. So many in fact that it was difficult to narrow down our list to just 5. However, these 5 offer more than just the opportunity for a great photo they also provide an opportunity to spend the day exploring the area.
Sundial Bridge – Redding
Built 1967 | 11,178’ long | 200’ tall
As the name suggests, the Sundial Bridge is, in fact, a working sundial and is one of the largest in the world. The shadow, when visible, moves about one foot per minute, so you can readily see it move. Access to the Sundial Bridge and surrounding river trails are free to the public. Paid access areas include Turtle Bay’s Museum, Forest Camp, Wildlife Woods, and Botanical Gardens.
Rainbow Bridge – Truckee
Built 1926 | 241’ long
Considered one of the most beautiful bridges in California, Rainbow Bridge overlooks Donner Lake just below Donner Summit. The concrete span is similar to others built during the 1920s, but Rainbow Bridge is unique in that it has a grade and a compound curve. The surrounding area provides more than a days’ worth of activities such as searching for petroglyphs, hiking, exploring abandoned train tunnels, photography, wildflowers and more.
Foresthill Bridge – Auburn-
Built 1971 | 2, 428’ long
The Foresthill Bridge near Auburn California is among the 5 highest bridges in the United States and one of the longest. At 730 feet off the ground it is quite the spectacle and a bucket list item to explore. The bridge, which was built to cross a reservoir that was never constructed, has been featured in several films that include the infamous Vin Diesel corvette scene. The surrounding area is scarred with hiking trails and is a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts.
I Street Bridge – Sacramento
Built 1910 | 854’
The oldest remaining double-deck swing bridge in California. The lower deck carries railroad traffic while the upper deck carries vehicular traffic and two walkways on each side of the roadway. The swing span pivots 90 degrees clockwise to allows ships access to the Sacramento River. A walk along the I Street Bridge is an opportunity to view Sacramento and the river from a different perspective. A bicycle and walking trail can be found along the eastern shore of the river near the California State Railroad Museum.
Golden Gate – San Francisco
Built | 8,981’ long | 746’ high
Quite possibly the most photographed bridge in the world, The Golden Gate Bridge, is simply amazing. The San Francisco Bay, was named Golden Gate by an early explorer so it makes sense that the bridge was named after that expanse of water. It is pretty easy and FREE to walk across the bridge itself or to explore the Welcome Center which offers a colorful look at the bridge’s history. Bike rentals, ferry rides, a path to historic Fort Point, a gift shop and café all offer plenty to do while exploring the States name sake.