When you think of somewhere stunning that you want to visit or a unique place you want to see, what comes to mind? How often have you thought about standing on a see-through platform for the ultimate view? If you are like me and are afraid of heights, I am sure the thought is not appealing. But when you hear that destinations like the Grand Canyon, the CN Tower or even the Willis Tower in Chicago offer skywalks, somehow the lure of the thrill seems within your reach. The term ‘Skywalk’ refers to a transparent platform that allows fantastic views enabling visitors to look out, across and down to reveal spectacular views.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Located in Arizona, two hours from Las Vegas, thousands of visitors go to view the Grand Canyon. It is one of the most popular geological areas in the world. At 18 miles wide and 6,000 feet deep and covering 1,218,375 acres of land, the vastness of landscape is immense. Can you imagine looking down at such an awesome view right beneath your feet? Well, the skywalk with its horse-shoe shaped and transparent floor allows you to do just that. It was built in 2007 and offers a view of the base of the canyon looking straight down a 4,000ft drop! In order to experience the Skywalk, you must buy tickets that allow you entrance to the tribal land where it is located. Skywalk tickets are sold separately and you are not allowed any electronic devices on the skywalk.
Edge Walk at the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
Located in Toronto, Canada, the infamous CN Tower is now home to the Edge Walk – another in the extreme skywalks. Standing at 116 stories above the ground with a 1168ft drop, the Edge Walk is not for the faint of heart. The five-foot wide edge goes around the rim of the building that has no walls or hand-railings. Participants have to go through hour training before taking the actual walk which lasts for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. There are also strict rules to adhere to – you must be within a certain weight, height, and age to qualify. Everyone must pass a breathalyzer test as well. Each walker is given a regulation jumpsuit with special sneakers and is strapped via a safety harness to a safety rail that runs above the edge walk like a halo. Tickets for the daring walk are quite pricey but include a certificate, photographs and a video keepsake. Check for opening times, as ticket availability for the walk is seasonal.
Willis Tower, Chicago, USA
Located in Chicago, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) has a skywalk called the “Ledge.” It is found on the 103rd floor and is 1353 feet high. The actual Ledge is similar to a glass elevator on the outside of the building with an open panel creating the ‘ledge’. There are more than one of these glass bays which jut out 4.3 feet into the air, allowing a unique view of Chicago.
Despite the May 2014 cracking of the glass ledge’s protective coating, officials have reconfirmed that the 4 centimeters of glass beneath it are still intact and capable of holding a substantial 5-tons of weight. They assured visitors that the ledge is once more completely safe and extend an open invitation to visitors.
The Cliffwalk, Vancouver, Canada
Located in Vancouver, Canada, this skywalk is found inside the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The ‘Cliffwalk’, as it is known, is 750ft in length and is in the shape of semi- circle with a height of 450ft. The Cliffwalk is very sturdy, so don’t let the timber footbridge fool you. There is steel under the wood and baked-ceramic glass platforms to allow that transparent feel of walking on glass. It overlooks a granite precipice that looks down to the running water of the Capilano River. The panoramic scenery is one of vegetation, forest and wildlife – nothing could be more exhilarating. Check for the seasonal opening hours and costs.