Bridge Day is an annual one-day festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia, where — you guessed it — people get together and jump off a bridge. But not any bridge, the gorgeous New River Gorge Bridge (couldn’t resist the pun), a half mile-long steel arch bridge completed in 1977 and the fifth longest in the world. The event is held the third Saturday of every October when the bridge closes to cars and opens to pedestrians and jumpers.
You need to be a serious BASE jumper (or have completed a rigorous training course) to make the 876 foot leap. There were 350 jumpers from 39 states and four countries who took part last year, with hundreds of other adrenaline junkies making tandem jumps (skydiving with a partner) and rappelling down toward the water below. If you’re serious about adventure, but also serious about not dying, try the High Line and slide 700 feet on a zipline from the bridge to Fayette Station Road.
If you’re more of a keep-my-neck-safe, spectator type, there’s still plenty to do. Watch the many jumps taking place, of course, but also enjoy the many food and craft vendors who line the road near the bridge. Start the day off with the Active SWV Bridge Day 5K Run, go whitewater rafting, or ride down into the gorge to view the jumpers from below.
- Nearly 140,000 spectators attended in 2022.
- Event admission is free, though plan on paying for parking.
- Take a long weekend to explore Fayetteville and the New River Gorge National Park.
What is the closest airport to the bridge?
Fly into Charleston’s West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW, 53 miles away). Rent a car to get to Fayetteville, the town just west of the New River Gorge Bridge.
What is the bag policy?
Security is tight. You can bring clear backpacks, clear tote bags, fanny packs, or purses smaller than 5”x7”. Strollers will be subject to search. No dogs, coolers, or folding chairs. No drones.
What’s the parking situation like?
First of all, remember that the bridge is closed to cars from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., so if you’re trying to get across, you’ll have to walk. Luckily, both sides of the river offer parking with shuttle stops. While the event is free, the parking shuttle costs $5 per person (cash only). Parking on the Fayetteville side includes: Fayette Landing, Fayette Town Center (Walmart), Fayetteville PK8 School, and the Fayetteville Courthouse. Parking on the Lancing side includes: Midland Trail High School and the Lighthouse Worship Center. (Check out the map here.)