Rafting on Bridge Day; Or, How to Get Up Close and Personal With B.A.S.E. Jumpers

As you know, Bridge Day is a very unique festival. It brings together extreme crowds and extreme thrill seekers in an electric atmosphere.

But there’s another way to experience Bridge Day: on the river.

Why Raft?

Rafting the Lower New River on Bridge Day is a great way to enjoy the event. Most whitewater rafting companies offer packages that allow you to raft and spend time underneath bridge watching the base jumpers, up close and personal. Watching the jumpers from water level is a whole different experience than watching from the bridge.

Why?  Well, would you be more excited about a herd of bulls running at you or away from you?  Exactly.

From bridge level, the jumpers hurl themselves off the platform and as they fall away they get smaller and smaller, and if their parachute doesn't open instantly, you get little sense of the gravity (no pun intended) of the situation.

Jumpers Up Close and Personal

But from the water, you have a better perspective of just how little time jumpers have left for their chute to open as they accelerate towards you.

You get to see just how hard it is to have a good landing, especially on a rocky riverbank. You can watch their faces as they realize they are destined for a splash landing and a rescue by the safety boats that are positioned to quickly pluck not-so-lucky jumpers from the water. Maybe they get caught up in the trees above your head. Or maybe Elvis lands in your pot of chili (true story).

Lower New Fall Colors

But you also get some adventure in your day as you navigate the rapids of the Lower New River. The fall colors are usually in full swing, making this one of the most wonderful times to experience the Gorge. And there's a good chance you’ll be offered a discounted rafting trip on the Gauley River as part of a Bridge Day weekend package.

So lets review why rafting on Bridge Day is a good idea:

  • Different, and in some opinions, better perspective to watch base jumpers.
  • Scenic time to whitewater raft .
  • Possibility of discounted Gauley trip the next day.


So if you love Bridge Day but want to mix it up this year, a quick run down the Lower New River with some added action at the end may be just what you're looking for. It is a wonderful way to spend a fall Saturday in WV.

Have you rafted on Bridge Day?