Imagine Our Story Destinations: Rattlesnake Bridge

This summer, we invite you to discover and visit the various locations on our tracker to learn more about culturally and historically significant places and landmarks in our region.

Our beautiful Sonoran Desert is home to various species of rattlesnakes that prefer to be left alone in their habitat. But in the heart of Tucson there is a 280 ft. long rattlesnake waiting to capture our attention. Designed to resemble an enormous diamondback, Rattlesnake Bridge (map) provides pedestrians and cyclists passage over Broadway Blvd. just east of downtown Tucson.

Rattlesnake Bridge is a charismatic feature of the Golf-Links Aviation bike path. Bicycle enthusiasts can plan their route with the Tucson Bikeways Map. For adventurers on foot, the entrance to the bridge can be accessed from Iron Horse Park.

On the north side of the bridge, the head of the rattlesnake greets travelers with its mighty jaws open as an invitation to enter between massive fangs that serve as support beams. Along the body, metal mesh decorated in a crisscross pattern encases the bridge providing the realistic appearance of rattlesnake skin. At the south end of the bridge, the snake’s tail and rattle extends 20 ft. high towards the desert sky. Whether you cross the bridge on foot, or on wheels, afterward you can say that you have passed through the belly of a snake and lived to tell the tale!

This larger than life diamondback was born as a public works project through collaborative efforts combining engineering and art. The concept design of the bridge as a rattlesnake was the brainchild of Tucson artist, Simon Donovan in 1997. Once construction was completed in 2002, Rattlesnake Bridge quickly received international recognition and was granted multiple awards including an Excellence in Highway Design award from The Federal Highway Administration.

Are you curious to discover more public art in our community? Visit the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona to take a virtual tour of public art projects with their Public Art Map, or plan your own art adventure and see them in person!

Rattlesnake Bridge represents innovation in our community and acts as a reminder that we can create something truly unique when we use our imagination to think outside the box. Imagine yourself as an artist asked to design a bridge!  If your bridge could resemble any shape, what would you create? Perhaps a visit to Rattlesnake Bridge will provide creative inspiration!

Find out more about what's happening at the Library this summer.