WOW! Now we have another National Park pretty close to home. This one is a only about a 5 hour drive from central Pennsylvania and worth checking out. We stopped here as our last stop on our way home from our winter trip to the south. Funny story…we tried to visit this park last fall on our way home from a trip. We had a one day window to visit. We tried to book a camping reservation but kept coming up short. We then called a place and found out that the exact day we were looking to visit was locally known as “BRIDGE DAY”.
BRIDGE DAY is West Virginia’s largest single-day festival. It happens the 3rd Saturday in October. That was the exact Saturday we wanted to explore the park. Needless to say, we avoided the area then but did find some things out about Bridge Day. It is the only day of the year that you can walk across the bridge and watch base jumpers jump 876 feet to their death. Ok, hopefully they just jump for fun and not to their death! You can also watch rappellers ascend and descend from the bridge! While that sounds like a fun time for plenty of people, we waited to explore the area the following spring.
Fast forward to early March of 2022 and you will find Joel and I and our lovely Miss Riggy visiting the park and getting a small taste of what it has to offer. We decided to try our luck with a first come first served (FCFS) campground called ARMY camp that was deep within the park. We arrived after dark which is something we try to avoid when checking out new areas. It was the wildest, sketchiest road we have ever driven down. We drove past some serious “shacks down by the river” on our way to this primitive camping area. Cue the banjos! After what seemed like forever on this dark, dirt, single lane, two-way road we found ARMY camp. There was only one other camper there which meant there were 5 spots left! We picked our spot by the light of the moon through the forest trees and planned the journey out and exploration for the next morning before we traveled home.
Our first stop took us to the Visitor’s Center very early in the morning because we needed the internets to get some work done. After that we spoke with the ranger inside the visitor’s center and found out that even though the literature says MISS RIGGY at 28’ is too long to drive to the bottom of the gorge and back up, it was still doable. We got the blessing from the ranger to go forth into the gorge so we did! It was very, very cool. There were super tight switchbacks. There were low hanging rock over-hangs that made you duck inside the RV when driving under them! We didn’t hit anything and it was quite the adrenaline rush with all the seemingly close calls! We were fine.
The gigantic bridge that they built in 1977 to cross the gorge shortened the trip to cross by almost an hour. This bridge is the world’s second-longest single arch bridge. The longest is in China and was built in 2020. We drove down the gorge and across a small bridge and back up the gorge again and it did indeed take almost an hour. It was GORGEous!
I made a video to capture some of our moments. Please enjoy and thank you for reading and watching!