Walking in a winter wonderland…876 feet up!

Try this for your New Year’s resolution: a catwalk tour on the New River Gorge Bridge. They’re unlike anything else in America! Winter makes these unusual hikes even more spectacular.

Record-breaking walks

Elegant yet sturdy, the New River Gorge Bridge is a West Virginia icon. It’s also famous. At 876 feet high and 3,030 feet long, the steel span ranks as America’s third tallest bridge and the Western Hemisphere’s longest.

Want a piece of the action? Take a Bridge Walk! These tours go on the catwalk, a 2-foot-wide span with safety harnesses. It’s a heady experience. You’ll see foaming rapids, distant forests, and even the occasional train, far, far below your boots. At that height, everything looks like a miniature toy. But it’s very real.

Don’t let the heights scare you away – Bridge Walk tours are very secure. In fact, it has the world’s longest continuous safety system! Your guide will go at a slow pace, share facts about the gorge, and give you plenty of time for photos.

Winter Bridge Walks

Open daily (Thanksgiving and Christmas excepted), Bridge Walk tours in Lansing offer Instagram-worthy experiences all year. January and February are especially photogenic. Winter transforms the New River Gorge into a sugared world, textured with frosty pines and cliffs. It’s still and silvery and silent.

If you’ve ever wanted to capture magical landscape photos for yourself, then now is the time. Grab that camera and book a tour!

Here are some winter tips:

  • Wear layers and dress warmly. Bridge Walk tours are 3 hours long.
  • Tours operate in all weather. You’ll get a special umbrella if it rains.
  • The catwalk is flat. However, expect to cover 1.25 total miles, including a brief hike to the bridge.

Special winter deals

Wondering when to go? Bridge Walk has discounts throughout the year. Winter is no exception.

Score deals on 2018 specials like:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: tours are $54 a person on Jan. 15.
  • Groundhog Day: tours are $54 a person on Feb. 2.
  • Valentine’s Day Special: tickets are two for the price of one on Feb.14.
  • President’s Day Special: tours are $54 a person on Feb.19.
  • Daylight Saving Time: it’s easier to wake up on March 12 when tickets are $54 each!
  • St. Patrick’s Day: tickets are $54 each on March 17.

For the latest deals and events, follow Bridge Walk on Facebook. Still can’t get enough? Request an annual pass! You’ll get unlimited tours, gift shop discounts, and incentives for family members.

Have you ever gone on a winter Bridge Walk? If so, what did you like most about it?

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Cool statistics from the world’s largest BASE jumping festival

For just 6 hours, once a year, Bridge Day becomes the focal point of extreme sports. Ever wanted to know exactly how many daredevils participated? The stats are in for 2017, so sit back and enjoy the numbers behind Bridge Day.

1. BASE jumping

No doubt about it: these parachuters steal the show. Witnessing someone soar from a 876-foot-high drop is an incredible experience. And since the New River Gorge Bridge is such an unusual launching point, hundreds of BASE jumpers arrive every year.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Total number of BASE jumpers: 348
  • Number of states represented: 33
  • Age of youngest BASE jumper: 20
  • Grand total of jumps: 714

This year’s festival also brought back the launch for BASE jumpers— a crowd favorite. It was used 30 times.

2. Rappellers

Bridge Day isn’t a one-trick pony. Rappellers add another dynamic to the spectacle, making it even more unique. They use ropes and safety equipment to descend from the catwalk. Using those same methods, rappellers can also ascend from the gorge.

Check out these stats:

  • Total number of participants: 329
  • Number of rappels: 963
  • Number of climbs: 69

3. Daring spectators

Not everybody can be a BASE jumper or rappeller. Bravery aside, both sports require lots of experience prior to Bridge Day. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to sightseeing. Provided you sign up in advance, it’s possible to do tandem BASE jumps with a pro. Another popular activity is the high line— a zip line attached to the catwalk.

See how many folks took the plunge:

  • Number of tandem BASE jumps: 18
  • High line rides: 98
  • Number of Bridge Walks: 164

Never heard of a Bridge Walk tour? These special outings on the catwalk are available all year. It’s a spectacular— and unforgettable— way to visit the New River Gorge.

4. Other noteworthy numbers

Like any event worth its salt, Bridge Day collects data that doesn’t fit into any particular category.

Take a look at this year’s haul:

  • Viewers from 12 different countries watched Bridge Day online.
  • The New River makes landings safe— another perk for BASE jumpers. This year, there were 95 water rescues.
  • The popular Bridge Day 5k attracted 241 runners. Racers ranged in age from 8-75 years old.

If you attended Bridge Day, feel free to share your favorite observation or bit of trivia!

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Fly into the Gorge!

There’s more to Bridge Day than just base jumping.

This one-day festival is your chance to zip line or (with prior experience) rappel into the New River Gorge! Now’s the time to think about flying.

Rappelling

BASE jumping steals the limelight, no doubt about that. But rappelling is another Bridge Day sport. It’s awe-inspiring, too. With ropes and special equipment, repellers ascend or descend like spiders into the void.

All Bridge Day rappellers start from the catwalk, where starting positions are determined in advance by a lottery. So are teams. In fact, owing to the bridge’s extreme height, folks from around the globe enter for a slot— demand is that fierce.

If you know how to rappel, lottery registration is now available until June 16. Visit Bridge Day Rappel for rules and signup information.

High line

Highlining at WV's Bridge Day

Crave a piece of the action? While BASE jumping and rappelling require lots of experience, a high line does not.

Never heard of one? It’s basically a zip line that’s anchored to the New River Gorge Bridge catwalk. From there, you’ll drop 300 vertical feet into the gorge, straighten out and descend gracefully to the bottom. The total distance from start to finish is 700 feet.

As you can imagine, highlining is a giddy experience. Brisk autumn air, brilliant leaf colors and dizzying speed make quite a cocktail! If you’re game, getting signed up is easy.

Things to keep in mind:

  • No prior training is necessary. However, you must be 10 or older and not weigh more than 275 pounds.
  • Tandem rides are available. Share the journey with a friend! However, you might have to ride with someone if time gets limited or weather becomes a concern, too.
  • Spaces are limited. Get those tickets early!

In fact, registration is available now through Oct. 1, or until all slots are filled. You’ll get a safety lecture and high line orientation before the festival.

Bridge Walks

Can’t wait until October 21? Go on a Bridge Walk tour! These extraordinary “hikes” on the catwalk are available all year. Sign up, meet your guide and brace yourself for mind-boggling views. Don’t even think about leaving the house without a camera! If you’re lucky, you’ll spot peregrine falcons flying by at eye level.

Consider it a sneak preview of Bridge Day.

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