For the 50+ Traveler

How many times did you hear your mother say, Well if all your friends jump off a bridge, would you? To which you probably responded no, or came up with a sassy remark. However, thanks to a special event at the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia, you could actually answer yes. You can jump off a bridge with your friends -- not just out of defiance -- but because it’s a thrilling once-a-year experience!

Keep reading to learn more about this bridge-jumping opportunity that might have you packing your bags for West Virginia in a hurry!

People gather for the Bridge Day celebration.

What Is Bridge Day?

Every third Saturday in October, people rush to New River Gorge Bridge for the opportunity to jump off of it. Yes, you can actually jump off this bridge. Bridge Day in West Virginia has become quite the phenomena and takes the title of largest single-day festival in the state. For one day every year qualified BASE jumpers can jump off of a bridge in a mass jumping spree, or if you’d prefer, you can stay on solid ground and watch those brave enough to take the dive.

The Bridge Day frenzy first took off in 1980 when, according to the event’s website, two jumpers parachuted from a plane onto the bridge as 5,500 people walked across it. Since then, the event has become “one of the largest extreme sports events in the world.”

Head to the website to register for this year’s jump and check out the FAQ page for answers to common questions. The jumping fee is $75 and you must provide your own jumping gear. Training is offered ahead of the event for prospective jumpers.

A person dangling their feet off of New River Gorge Bridge.

Experiences Other Than BASE Jumping

BASE jumping isn’t the only experience that Bridge Day has to offer. Bridge Day Rappel and Bridge Day High Line are two other options for people seeking a thrill.

To rappel, you must know what you’re doing and have proper rack training as well as having successfully completed a 250-foot rappel. Basically, this isn’t for first-time rappelers. To participate, you need to be fully aware of how rappelling works. As with BASE jumping, you have to provide your own rappelling equipment. Teams who get to rappel at Bridge Day are chosen by lottery every year.

The Bridge Day High line allows you to zip-line off of the bridge. Participants zoom 700 feet on a zip-line right on the bridge -- and the best part about this is you don’t need any experience at all. It’s suggested you reserve your spot early.

Two people jumping off of New River Gorge Bridge.

How To Get There

The 2019 Bridge Day is taking place on October, 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Per the event’s website, it’s recommended that you get to the bridge, park your car, and ride the shuttles (which have a $3 fee) to be dropped off at the event entrance. The website has a list of locations that the shuttles will be picking up and dropping off from. Another option is to pay $25 to ride all the way to New River Gorge Bridge as opposed to just the entrance. Seats for this shuttle, however, will need to be reserved by calling the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

Want to zip-line at New River Gorge Bridge? Here are eight things you need to know before you zip-line for the first time. For more about bridges, although you can’t jump off of these, take a look at the world's most amazing bridges.