3: Whistler Bungee Bridge · Index

Scary Bridges, Honorable Mention 4

Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge

Spans:1, plus 2 trivial approaches
Photos taken: 2 Sep 2014

Up in the North, where the sun seldom shines, there is a dank, dreary (and beautiful) land where one would expect a scary bridge to be found.

Looking up the slop of Mt Rainier, near upper Tahoma Canyon.

And, while there are bridges to be found, the National Park Service has done too good of a job for one to easily find a truly scary bridge. The Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge does, however, rate an honorable mention.

Tahoma Creek suspension bridge from the trail above.

Located on Tahoma Creek, it provides a much-needed crossing for backpackers and hikers on the Wonderland Trail.

View of canyon and bridge.

Perhaps inspecting the anchors before crossing is a good idea. This is a smaller anchor for one of the secondary cables.

One of the smaller cable anchors for the bridge.

The larger primary anchors for the main suspension cables also look good. I don't know, but I suspect those anchor bolts go deep into bedrock as well.

The primary anchor for the bridge suspension cables.

The tower base is also in good condition. What is the purpose of those odd cones? Presumably they distribute force from the bolts across the base plate, but why is washer insufficient? Often the threads between the bolt and stud are the weakest point. Maybe they are an unusually strong steal?

The best suggestion to date is that the clamping force from the bolts is too high for the small area of concrete under the bolt. This assumes the plate is too thin to evenly distribute the force over a larger area.

A sign on each side states "RECOMMENDED ONE PERSON ON BRIDGE AT A TIME." While reminiscent of Cochamó, this bridge seems a lot safer. If you got a couple hundred people all walking on the bridge at once it could get dangerous. However, given the remote location, combined with park group size limits, this seems quite improbable. Even if every reader of this page jumped on it all at the same time, things would probably be fine. Something to worry about if they ever bring a road closer, or if a special event attracts sufficient people to the area.

The East end of the bridge, showing the one at a time sign.

When crossing the priority is, of course, inspecting the clamping u-bolts. They are also reminiscent of Cochamó, except they support the railing not the main span. One of the nearby u-bolts was awarded Most Scenic Clamping U-Bolt of 2014.

A small clamping u-bolt keeping the railing cables on.

After photographing the U bolts, the river below proved worth a look. It contributes to the scary factor, if not enough for a full scary bridge listing.

Looking into Tahoma Creek from on the bridge.

Looking across the bridge from the west side.

Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge from the West end

Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge from a little below and downstream

Prior to the bridge this canyon was quite a difficult crossing, depending on the water level.

Tahoma Creek, looking upstream from near the bridge

Upper Tahoma Creek

Another view of Tahoma Creek, looking upstream from near the bridge

Other parts of the Mt. Rainier National Park provide more bridges, if not as impressive. This quality foot bridge is located at the North Puyallup Camp.

The footbridge over North Puyallup River

The bridge at North Puyallup Camp is made safe partly through the clever concealment of large steel W-sections underneath. They are hard to see in this photograph as they are covered in decorative log segments.

A side view of the North Puyallup Footbridge

This footbridge is located near the site of the long-melted Wonderland Snow Bridge, of which did merit a full listing

A footbridge near Ipsut Creek

Log foot bridges are common on the Wonderland Trail; this one is near Martha Falls.

A log bridge at Martha Falls.

The flooding constantly washes away the log bridge, presumably on an annual basis. The park ties a cable around one end of the log and anchors it nearby. Once the floods pass they go put the log back where it was, allowing it to again serve as a foot bridge. Just the sort of solution that makes some engineers cringe, some stare and say "I don't think you can do that," and others think "I wish I thought of a something that economical."

The cable tying this bridge in place.

The Tahoma narrows bridge is an impressive work, and the utmost respect goes to those that built it. Anybody wanting to visit shouldn't hop in their car and start driving... Underneath Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge

Last Updated: May 2019; Original Posting.

© David C. Hunter, 2014-2019

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