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 daredevils.
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 base jumpers and adrenaline junkies making tandem jumps (skydiving with a partner) and rappelling down toward the water below from the bridge’s catwalk. 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 at the one-day event. Watch the many jumps taking place, of course, but also enjoy the many food and craft vendors who line the road near the bridge, and there’s a chili cook-off on Bridge Day in downtown Fayetteville. 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 to watch the BASE jumping in 2022.
- Bridge Day is West Virginia’s largest single-day festival and bills itself as one of the largest extreme sports events in the world.
- Admission to Bridge Day 2023 is free, though plan on paying for parking.
- The New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single-arch bridge in the western hemisphere and the fifth largest in the world. (The top four are in China).
- Take a long weekend to explore Fayetteville and the New River Gorge National Park and everything that Appalachian cuisine has to offer.
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.
Where is the event held exactly?
At the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, West Virginia. The bridge is located on US-19 in Victor, which is just north of Fayetteville.
Who organizes the New River Gorge Bridge Day?
The New River Gorge Bridge Day Commission organizes the event.
What is the Bridge Day Chili Cook-off?
Bridge Day Chili Cook-off brings together amateur chili cooks for a tasting competition. It’s held in downtown Fayetteville on Bridge Day and entrance and parking are free, though it costs for tasting tickets. ($5 will get you five tickets.) It happens downtown Fayetteville on Court Street in front of the Fayette County Court House. Tasting and voting is open from 3-5PM. Awards will start at 5:45.
Is the Chili Cook-off different from Taste of Bridge Day?
What is the largest city in southern West Virginia?
Beckley is the largest city in the region (population ~18,000) and it is 22 miles south of Fayetteville (23 miles from the bridge).
How far is Oak Hill to New River Gorge Bridge?
Oak Hill is 8 miles away.
When was the first Bridge Day?
The first Bridge Day was held on November 8, 1980 when two people parachuted from a plane onto the bridge, according to the official website.
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 at Bridge Day West Virginia?
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.)