Bridges are built for practical reasons, but they have their own type of beauty. Whether you squeeze your eyes shut when crossing one (hopefully not while driving) or are thrilled by the view, you’ll find the architecture of these New Mexican bridges impressive.
1. Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, near Taos
This steel bridge has the honor of being the second highest bridge in the U.S. Highway System and the fifth tallest in the nation. On the one hand, this equates to jaw-dropping views. On the other hand, anyone with vertigo is likely to be left weak-kneed when confronted with the 650-foot drop.
2. Mexican Canyon Trestle, near Cloudcroft
This old railway bridge was originally part of the Alamogordo & Sacramento Mountain Railroad. It was created primarily to haul lumber down from the mountains. Cars eclipsed rail travel so, in 1948, the train stopped running, leaving this beautiful wooden structure behind.
3. Rio Puerco Bridge, exit 140 off I-40
Constructed in 1933, this 250-foot long bridge has a Parker truss design and used to be part of Route 66. As a result, it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Although closed to vehicles, you can still walk across it.
4. The bridges spanning Route 285, near Pojoaque
New Mexico is a state that values art, even on bridges. This is particularly apparent along the stretch of Route 285 north of Santa Fe that cuts through tribal land—the bridges are painstakingly decorated.
5. Otowi Suspension Bridge, near San Ildefonso
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this bridge crosses the Rio Grande in Santa Fe County.
6. The Green Bridge, Las Cruces
The Green Bridge, the state’s oldest steel highway bridge, is spending its retirement basking in the sun at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum!
7. Fort Sumner Railroad Bridge, Fort Sumner
This railroad bridge is over one hundred years old—it was built in 1906—and straddles the Pecos River. When the bridge was under construction, a worker fell to his death into one of the upright supports, which contained wet concrete. The foreman saw no need to halt work, so the crewmember’s body remains there to this day.
8. Percha Creek Bridge, near Hillsboro
This 1927 bridge scored a spot on the National Register for historic places. A newer bridge now handles traffic flow and runs virtually alongside the old one.
9. Rio Grande Bridge, Radium Springs
New Mexico actually has quite a few bridges on the National Register for historic places, including this wooden one.
10. Bridge in the Sasebo Japanese Garden, Albuquerque
Admittedly, this bridge doesn’t traverse any deep canyons or provide access to remote places, like some of the other structures on this list, but it’s still lovely. Nestled inside Albuquerque’s Biopark, it helps you to explore the tranquility of the Japanese Garden.
What New Mexican bridge is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.