Jutting out from a sheer rock face 4,700 ft high, the glass skywalk in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park makes knees go weak and is definitely not for the faint-hearted and those who suffer from vertigo.
The walkway, made of tempered glass about 2.5 in thick, spans 200 ft of a two-km loop encircling the vertical cliffs of Tianmen Mountain in China’s Hunan province, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tianmen mountain, literally translated as Heavenly Gate Mountain is so called because of a huge natural cave that occurs halfway up to the summit.
Looking down between their feet while on the see-through skywalk, visitors have a crystal-clear view of the rocky ravine beneath them. The walkway joins the west cliff at the Yunmeng Fairy Summit, the summit of Tianmen Mountain and Zhang Jiajie.
“Tourists can walk, run or even jump on the walkway as the fence and planks are all tempered glass,” said Tian Huilin, deputy general manager at the tourism office of the Tianmen Mountain Scenic Spot.
“The experience is unique. Tourists can have a bird’s-eye view of the rocky pinnacles rising from a cover of dense subtropical vegetation and sometimes veiled by clouds through glass.”
Walking on the glass section of the walkway can make your heart beat like a drum but it is an experience you won’t forget.
Environmentalists, however, have criticised the project, saying the overhang would tarnish the pristine mountain.
“The glass road is odd compared with the ancient plank roads, which appear to be made of stone or wood and are more harmonious with the landscape,” said Wang Yanyong.
He added that innovation should not go against the basic natural and cultural context.
Do you dare to take up the glass skywalk challenge? I will be honest. I won’t dare. My head will go giddy and I may throw up as I have a fear of heights.