New River Gorge Bridge in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia
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A river runs through it
To kick off National Park Week, which begins today, we're visiting America's newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, in West Virginia. This incredible view is of the New River Gorge Bridge, which, when completed in 1977, was the world's highest bridge carrying a regular roadway. It held that distinction for 24 years and is now a popular attraction for BASE jumpers and rappelers.
Far below the bridge is the New River, which—despite its name—is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in the world. Its exact age is unknown, but geologists believe the New River is a remnant of a section from the ancient Teays River, which once flowed several million years ago. Today, rafters and kayakers come to ride the New River rapids, which can reach a level of Class V, which means they're among the most difficult waters to navigate.
You can enjoy this new park year-round for free—there are no entrance fees. And today, to mark the first day of National Park Week, all national parks are offering free admission.