The 5 Highest Bridges in California Will Make Your Head Spin

California is a state of diverse landscapes, from the sunny beaches to the snowy mountains, from the urban cities to the rural countryside. But did you know that California is also home to some of the highest bridges in the United States? These engineering marvels not only serve as vital transportation links, but also offer stunning views and thrilling experiences for travelers and locals alike. In this article, we will explore the top 5 highest bridges in California that will make your head spin.

1. Foresthill Bridge

The Foresthill Bridge, also known as the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge or the Auburn Bridge, is the highest bridge in California and the fourth-highest in the United States. It spans 730 feet above the North Fork American River in Placer County, near the town of Auburn. The bridge was built in 1973 to cross a reservoir that never materialized, but it still serves as a scenic route for drivers and a popular spot for bungee jumpers and BASE jumpers.

2. Pine Valley Creek Bridge

The Pine Valley Creek Bridge, also known as the Nello Irwin Greer Memorial Bridge, is the second-highest bridge in California and the highest concrete beam bridge in the United States. It stands 450 feet above the Pine Valley Creek in San Diego County, near the town of Pine Valley. The bridge was constructed in 1970 and later renamed in honor of Nello Irwin Greer, who helped design the highway through the area. The bridge features a four-lane road deck, with a gap in the middle to allow for future expansion.

3. Cold Spring Canyon Bridge

The Cold Spring Canyon Bridge is the third-highest bridge in California and the highest arch bridge in the state. It rises 400 feet above the Cold Spring Canyon in Santa Barbara County, near the town of Santa Ynez. The bridge was completed in 1963 and connects the Santa Ynez Valley with the Santa Barbara coast. The bridge has a two-lane roadway and a pedestrian walkway, offering spectacular views of the forested ravine below. The bridge has also been the site of many suicides, prompting the installation of a barrier in 2012.

4. Bixby Creek Bridge

The Bixby Creek Bridge is the fourth-highest bridge in California and one of the most iconic landmarks on the Pacific Coast Highway. It spans 260 feet above the Bixby Creek in Monterey County, near the town of Big Sur. The bridge was built in 1932 and is considered a masterpiece of engineering and design. Its graceful arch and elegant curves blend harmoniously with the rugged coastline and the azure ocean. The bridge is a popular tourist attraction and a favorite spot for photographers.

5. Rio Vista Bridge

The Rio Vista Bridge, also known as the Helen Madere Memorial Bridge, is the fifth-highest bridge in California and the highest bascule bridge in the state. It towers 240 feet above the Sacramento River in Solano County, near the town of Rio Vista. The bridge was opened in 1960 and named after Helen Madere, a local civic leader who campaigned for its construction. The bridge has a movable span that can be lifted to allow the passage of large ships and barges. The bridge is also known for its frequent malfunctions, causing traffic delays and frustration.


California is a state of many wonders, and its bridges are no exception. These five highest bridges in California are not only impressive feats of engineering, but also sources of beauty, adventure, and history. Whether you are looking for a scenic drive, a thrilling jump, or a stunning photo, these bridges will not disappoint. Next time you are in California, make sure to visit these bridges and see for yourself why they will make your head spin.

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