Travel out of Taos, New Mexico west on US Highway 64 a short eight miles (13 km) or so and you will come upon one of the largest steel span bridges in the United States. Opened to traffic in 1965, the long span bridge crosses the large gorge that the Rio Grande River spent millennia creating. The bridge rises some 650 feet (198 m) above the river and covers the 1200 foot (366 m) gorge in three sections, a 600 foot (183 m) center span is flanked on either side by two 300-foot (91.5 m) approach spans.
Cross the bridge westbound and look to the north to see the magnitude of the depth and width of the gorge. On the day we visited, the last vestiges of a recent snowfall still remained on the shady side of the gorge. You can walk across the bridge on either side to get spectacular views of the Rio Grande as it winds its way from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. Once on the west side of the bridge, you’ll find a large parking area where you can get out of the car and stroll over to the bridge itself to take in those beautiful views of the New Mexico countryside with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the horizon.
In researching the background of the bridge, I found several descriptions as to the relative size of the bridge, the Austin Chronicle mentioning that it’s the seventh-tallest bridge in the United States at 565 feet (172 m), another article mentioning that it’s the second highest bridge in the US Highway system. A Wikipedia reference mentions it’s the tenth highest bridge in the United States. I’m sure all of these superlatives are accurate in their specific scope and they confirm in their plurality that this is one big bridge.
Along the bridge on both sides there are small platforms where you can step off the main sidewalk to take in the gorgeous view of one of America’s principal rivers as it winds its way south and east through New Mexico. I submit for your review a small gallery of images captured from the bridge and from the parking area southwest of the bridge eastbound approach span. In most browsers you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.