The Grand Canyon Skywalk

By on March 28, 2006

Here’s another one from Damn Interesting, that is… well, you know (thanks, Deane, for the new compulsively readable link.) A new tourist attraction is being built at the Grand Canyon that features a glass walkway that juts 70 feet out into nothing, 4,000 feet (about 1200 meters) above the canyon floor. $25 will buy a walk — or crawl — around the horseshoe-shaped structure. I get the heebie jeebies just looking at pictures of the thing.

The engineering firm designing the thing is way overbuilding it; it will be able to hold up to 72 million pounds, to deal with the people load, the wind load, possible seismic activity, and of course the occasional jerk who feels the need to jump up & down on the end of the thing to see if he can make it bounce.

The Skywalk is slated to open this August, but the park is having trouble finding someone willing to write an insurance policy to cover it.



  1. Undoubtedly, it will take a lot of load, but if some jerk jumps on the end, it will bounce, and on a very windy day, it will sway a bit. That’s how most structures are designed to deal with load – to bend a bit.

    Never been to the Grand Canyon, but this looks like an awesome way to see it. My wife would have to wait in the visitor’s center, though.

  2. My wife would be waiting inside with yours. When I told her that it would cost $25 to go out on it she said she wouldn’t do it if they paid her twice that.

    I’ve always thought it strange that the same people who have trouble with standing at the edge of a cliff or tall building (me included) don’t have more of a problem with flying. Heck, this cliff is only 4,000 feet up and just thinking about walking across the skywalk creeps me out, but it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a little pressurized tube 35,000 feet up, and I took a nap there.

    People are weird.

  3. I think that beyond a certain altitude, the ground becomes a sort of abstract concept and we don’t think about smacking into it as much.

    I’ve been up in the basket of a hot air balloon that people were bungie jumping from. It was only a few hundred feet up, and I could see the truck, all the little prairie dog holes, the shrubs, etc. I don’t think I could have jumped out.

    But I don’t think I’d have too much trouble stepping out of the door of a plane to go skydiving. You’re high up enough that it’s less recognizable.

  4. Stepping out the door is the easy part, its the ride up that scares the piss out of you. It can take a while to circle up to 10K feet, and that’s a long time to rethink what the heck you’re doing.

    Bungee jumping? No way in hell. At least skydivers have a couple backup systems, if that bungee cord snaps you’re screwed.

    And while I am not a fan of flying (mainly because I’m not in control), I feel better knowing that at least I can’t fall out of the thing. Put me up on the edge of the Grand Canyon and I’m feeling sick…

  5. Sure 71 million pounds, 100 Mph wind and 8.0 earthquakes, but can it sustain Ella Fitzgerald?s scats across her 3-octave range ?

    Shortly after someone walks out to the end and looks down, we will find out if it is pitched to drain!

  6. Well, my partner wanted to see the Grand Canon once more. Coming from Bolivia we feel it is a technical marvel. Yes the 25.00 US$ Entry Fee is really stiff but maybe still cheaper then a helycopter flight. We will be driving especially from Las Vegas so we hope we are not disappointed. Is it open now or when will it be finished? Does anyone know? I tried to find answers on the Internet. But no information seems available.

  7. hey, im going there in a couple of weeks, but does anyone know if you can actually bungee jump into the canyon at all? because i would love to!! – given i’d be shit scared but how amazing would that be?

  8. Went to the skywalk just a few weeks ago! Skeered the crap outta me! Was beautiful, but took my breath! My hubby loved it as well as others who just walked right out there! Not me…I crawled pretty much my way around the walk! We paid just $ 15.00 a piece…but it was worth it!

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