Bridges can be an interesting part of a landscape and serve as the focal point for your photos. Not all bridges are equally scenic, but in this article we will highlight some of the most picturesque bridges (along with their surroundings) in the United States. These bridges are spread out across the country, so hopefully you can find one close to you. Regardless of whether you are photographing these bridges or other bridges, you can at least get some inspiration and ideas.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized and most photographed bridges in the world. It spans the one-mile channel the separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. One of the great things about the Golden Gate Bridge is that there are several different spots from which you can photograph it, including Fort Point, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marshall Beach, and Crissy Park, among others. You can get beautiful photos during the day, capture an amazing sunset, photograph at night, or shoot in the fog.
The Brooklyn Bridge spans the East River in New York City and connects Brooklyn and Manhattan. This bridge built in 1883 is an iconic symbol of New York City, and a great subject for photos. The pedestrian walkway is a great place to photograph the bridge and its distinctive cables. Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is on the Brooklyn side of the East River, provides an excellent vantage point of the bridge.
George Washington Bridge
Just a short distance north of the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge spans the Hudson River and connects New Jersey and New York City. It is a double-deck suspension bridge that is especially photogenic at night when it is lit. While traffic can make driving over the bridge pretty unpleasant, photographing it can be a great experience.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Outside of Taos, New Mexico the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge towers more than 500 feet above the Rio Grande. The bridge, gorge, and vast landscape surrounding it make an excellent photograph.
New River Gorge Bridge
The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia, and with good reason. At more than 3,000 feet long and nearly 900 feet above the New River, this bridge is quite impressive. Add in the beautiful surroundings of the gorge and it is an excellent place to photograph. The National Park Service manages a visitor’s center for the bridge with a scenic overlook. You can also get lower views from the bottom of the gorge.
The Perrine Bridge is about 1,500 feet in length and nearly 500 feet above the Snake River in Idaho. There are trails along the rim of the canyon that provide excellent views of the area. The Perrine Bridge is also a popular spot for BASE jumping.
The Pennypacker Bridge, also known as the 360 Bridge, is in Austin Texas and crosses over Lake Austin. There is an overlook on the north side that provides a nice vantage point. You can park and hike 5-10 minutes to the overlook.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge spans the Columbia River to connect Oregon and Washington. It is over 4 miles long and can be a great subject for photographs. The Columbia River Gorge is a very popular place for landscape photographers, mostly due to waterfalls, so if you are in the area you may want to consider photographing the bridge as well.
The Mackinac Bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan. At five miles in length it is one of the longest bridges in the U.S. and a great subject for photos.
The Kinzua Bridge, located in Pennsylvania, is unique among the bridges on this list because only part of the bridge is still standing. When it was built in 1882 it was the tallest railroad bridge in the world (300 feet). The bridge has been out of service and part of Kinzua Bridge State Park since 1963. In 2003 the bridge was significantly damaged by a tornado, causing about half of the bridge to collapse. The fallen towers and bridge still lay in the valley, making it an interesting and unique scene. The state park includes the remaining end of the bridge that has been turned into an observation deck that you can walk out onto. For more details see our Guide to Photographing Kinzua Bridge State Park.