There are countless bridges in Hawaii, many of them are famous. The 59 bridges on the Hana Highway in Maui are examples. Other examples are the bamboo bridge in Kauai’s McBryde Gardens or the stone bridge in Liliuokalani Gardens on the Big Island. Hawaii also has listed at least four bridges that are on the National Register of Historic Places. However, none of these are quite as uniquely spectacular as the swinging bridges in Hawaii. There is nothing as thrilling as walking across a bridge from another time.
Waimea Swinging Bridge
This picturesque swinging wooden bridge extends over the Waimea River on Kauai. Because Kauai has most rivers in Hawaii, it makes sense that many swinging bridges are on this island. The Waimea Swinging Bridge is west of Hanapepe on Menehune Road, after mile marker 23. A hurricane damaged the original bridge in 1992. But the county reconstructed it in 1996. The bridge is the only way of accessing one side of the river from the surrounding farmlands. The walkway gently sways with the wind and suspiciously squeaks when crossing it. It can make the crossing a heart-pounding experience.
Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
Also on Kauai, residents built the Hanapepe Bridge in the early 20th century as a way to cross the river. “Hawaii’s biggest little town” of Hanapepe is a charming town. It’s full of with quaint shops, galleries, weekly events and art walks. However, the nearby swinging bridge itself remains one of its most alluring attractions of the town. And the locals still regularly use it. Like the Waimea Swinging Bridge, the same 1992 hurricane damaged it; but the county later repaired it.
Kapaia Swinging Bridge
A far less glamorous bridge in need restoration is the Kapaia Swinging Bridge on Kauai. This bridge has a 4-foot walking path spans 125 feet. It is on the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places. A nearby plantation built it in 1948 to allow their workers to cross the river to go to work. The county government is still debating the costs and merits of restoring this historic bridge.
Anyone who appreciates history will enjoy exploring the swinging bridges in Hawaii. So be sure to see them on your next trip to the Aloha State.
By: Vacheh Joakim