The New River Gorge Bridge Walk Tour is fun, exciting, and provides a unique perspective of both the bridge and the gorge. Walking under a bridge on a 24-inch wide catwalk might not sound exciting at first. But, when the walk is under the longest single-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere and hovers over 850 feet above the New River, you can start to sense the excitement.
The New River Gorge Bridge
The New River Gorge Bridge, one of the most photographed places in West Virginia (and WV has more than its share of photogenic places), is a 3,030 foot, steel arch bridge that spans the scenic New River Gorge. Take this tour for a fun way to learn local history and to see the supporting structure of the famous bridge. See details below.
Bridge Walk Tour – Key Facts
With so many things to do at New River Gorge National Park, you may wonder why someone would pay for a tour that walks under a bridge. First, this is THE bridge. Next, if you have a tour guide as we did, you will learn the history of the bridge, the gorge, and the surrounding region which provides context as you experience the National Park, Finally, you get to walk about 850 feet about the new river!
Is this tour too scary? Well, you will be walking high above the river on a 24-inch wide catwalk. That being said, measures have been put in place to ensure your safety. The railing on the walkway extends over waist-high, you will be wearing a safety harness that is locked into a safety cable, and there is no unclipping and reclipping in of the safety line. While we did feel a vibration from the car and truck traffic overhead, the shaking was minimal. For those with an intense fear of heights, this tour might not be the best choice, although we found it to be less scary than expected.
Information about the tour
Cost: We paid $72 per person and booked the tour online at the Bridge Walk website.
Walk Length: The bridge is about a half-mile across. You will take a short walk from the Tour Building (see directions below) to an overlook for some fun facts and background from your tour guide. From the overlook, you will walk on a short path that leads under the bridge. The entire walk is under 3/4’s of a mile. Aside from a minor downhill trail to access the bridge walk and a short uphill walk to the bus after the tour, the bridge walk is flat.
Family Friendly: The Bridge Walk is a family-friendly activity. Children must be 8 years old and at least 48 inches tall to participate in the walking tour. The tour did take several hours as the tour guide stopped and talked a handful of times. About halfway across we were given the opportunity to sit down on the catwalk and let our feet hang over the edge.
More information about the tour
Other: There are restrooms around the back of the tour building.
Suggestion: We purchased an iPhone holder/lanyard at the tour office store for about $5. This was well worth the price as it secured my phone around my neck and we used it for river rafting later in our visit.
Bridge Walk Tour Location
The Bridge Walk Tour is located near the Canyon Rim Visitor Center inside New River Gorge National Park (southern West Virginia). See driving directions below.
The Bridge Walk Tour office is located next to New River Gorge’s Canyon Rim Visitors Center in Lansing, WV. Their address is 57 County Rte 85/9, Lansing, WV 25862.
- When traveling north on Rt, 19, make a right turn on 85/9 (Fayette Mine Rd.). You will make a left if traveling on Rt. 19 going south.
- The Bridge Walk Tour office is on the left while the Canyon Rim Visitors Center is on the right.
The Bridge Walk is a unique experience
We arrived at the Bridge Walk Tour office about a half-hour prior to our 9 am tour. That gave us plenty of time to check in, sign waivers, visit the restroom, and meet our tour guide. Our guide was only 16 years old. She had first done the tour herself three years ago and has been guiding tours for 4 months. She was confident, knew the safety equipment, and was well versed in the history of the bridge. We mentioned later that she would be a good hire…for almost any job!
After our guide briefed us on the safety equipment and ensured that our harnesses were on correctly, we set off for a short walk to a viewing platform where we could see the bridge. We then descended to the catwalk under the bridge and were secured to the safety cable.
What was the Bridge Walk Tour like?
Once the tour began, our group walked at a casual pace. The guide stopped us a handful of times to talk to us. There was some noise from car/truck traffic above but it wasn’t too loud. We had a train that was transporting coal pass by underneath which was fun to see. While the catwalk is over 850 feet above the river, the experience was not as daunting as expected. Peering through the steel structure at the beautiful gorge in both directions was simply amazing.
One unexpected benefit of the tour was that we found our next hike for the day while on the Bridge Walk Tour. Our guide showed us the Long Point Trail overlook (see picture above) and mentioned that it was her favorite hike. That’s all we needed to hear. After the bridge tour, we drove straight to the Long Point Trail and had an amazing hike!
A new perspective of the New River Gorge Bridge
The Bridge Walk Tour gave us an entirely new perspective on the New River Gorge Bridge. Over the course of 3 days, we drove over the bridge, walked on the catwalk under the bridge, drove a car under the bridge on Fayette Station Rd., and viewed the bridge from the Long Point Trail and the Endless Wall Trail. Each of these vantage points was special, but if you want to get the full New River Gorge Bridge experience, then you definitely should sign up for the Bridge Walk!
A short video of the Bridge Walk Tour
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