Couple Shares Startling Look from New River Gorge Pedestrian Bridge — 856 Feet Above Water and 3 Hours to Cross

"Yes, people with a fear of heights might not want to do this activity," says Matt Smith

<p>Matt and Karen Smith</p> Matt and Karen Smith, the New River Gorge bridge

Matt and Karen Smith

Matt and Karen Smith, the New River Gorge bridge

A Seattle couple has gone viral for their 856-feet-high view above a U.S. National Park.

Matt and Karen Smith, both aged 63, are frequent travelers who make it a point to visit all the National Parks in North America.

"Over a decade ago, we took time off from our careers and visited all the U.S. national parks (there were 59 at the time, now there are 63)," Matt tells PEOPLE. "So, when New River Gorge National Park became a national park in 2020, we had to visit it."

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The couple, along with their friends Bob and Sue, visited the park – and decided to get a bird's eye view from the New River Gorge Bridge located in the park.

The bridge itself — the third-largest in the U.S. — is only accessible by cars, except for one day a year, dubbed "Bridge Day," when pedestrians can walk across.

<p>Matt and Karen Smith</p> The New River Gorge bridge

Matt and Karen Smith

The New River Gorge bridge

But those who visit on one of the other 364 days of the year can still get a feel for the view from the top, by taking a three-hour Bridge Walk tour, which allows visitors to walk the entire 3,030 feet length of the maintenance catwalk located just below the bridge.

In a video posted to their Instagram account, the Smiths share their walk on the catwalk — a pedestrian's-only bridge that requires walkers to be tethered to safety lines as they walk 856 feet above the river below.

<p>Matt and Karen Smith</p> The pedestrian bridge walk

Matt and Karen Smith

The pedestrian bridge walk

"We captured the video with our iPhones, which we had in holders that were around our necks so we wouldn’t drop them," Matt says.

And while it might look frightening to those who are scared of heights, the couple says they "loved the experience and highly recommend it."

"Yes, people with a fear of heights might not want to do this activity, but the catwalk and safety lines made it a safe activity — at least in our opinion," Matt says.

<p>Matt and Karen Smith</p> Matt and Karen Smith

Matt and Karen Smith

Matt and Karen Smith

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Still, he's quick to point out that, "even attached to the safety line, it was a little nerve racking walking the catwalk and sitting, dangling legs over the edge. But what a thrill!"

Following that experience, the couple has continued to traverse the country, often documenting their trips to other U.S. national parks and public lands on Instagram to, as they say, "hopefully inspire others to get out and experience our incredible outdoor treasures."

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