The dam and tunnel that can be seen below the Hawks Nest Overlook dates back to the 1930s. The dam was constructed to provide water for a hydroelectric plant to generate power for an electro-metallurgical plant in Alloy, WV. The tunnel averages 40 feet in diameter travels a distance of nearly 4 miles through Gauley Mountain. The brown steel grating on the right side of the dam is the entrance. The tunnel and power plant are still in operation. The power plant is located near Gauley Bridge. The dam is not park property and is not open to the public.
On June 28, 1973 construction began on the New River Gorge Bridge. The bridge opened to traffic on October 22, 1977.
The total length of the bridge is 3,030 feet long and 876 feet high, making it the second highest bridge east of the Mississippi River. (It is 325 feet taller than the Washington Monument).
Each third Saturday in October, a special event known as “Bridge Day” is held. The celebration offers parachute-BASE jumpers the opportunity to glide from the bridge to the New River below while spectators enjoy the sight and color of the experienced parachutists. Food, music, and vendors highlight the event. On this one-day of the year, the Bridge is open to foot traffic only. Free. Use your browser and search the words, Bridge Day to find event and area information.