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New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge Bridge / JaGa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New River Gorge Bridge / JaGa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Up until 2003, the New River Gorge Bridge was the longest steel arch bridge in the world. It’s still the longest single-span steel arch in the U.S. as well as the country’s third highest bridge (after the Royal Gorge and Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial).

There are plenty of great vantage points to take in the engineering marvel. Start with the Visitor Center’s overlook, just a five-minute jaunt from the parking lot. You’ll get brilliant scenes at sunrise and sunset, but it’s also worth checking out during gloomier weather, when mist and fog envelop portions of the bridge and serve up a moody scene.

Long Point Trail, a moderate 3-mile loop hike, also offers a picturesque overlook. The panoramic views of the bridge and gorge from the popular rock outcrop are more than worth the effort.

The most adventurous among us will prefer Bridge Walk, a guided tour along the catwalk that runs beneath the bridge. Also, each October on Bridge Day, BASE jumpers are permitted to leap from the bridge more than 800 feet into the gorge below. Before grabbing your parachute, though, make sure to register and, more importantly, that you meet all the official requirements.

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