Historic railroad bridge is a jumping off place for thrill-seekers

Spirit of the Bluegrass

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (FOX 56) – Young’s High Bridge has been a landmark over the Kentucky River since 1889, straddling Anderson and Woodford counties. The last train crossed in the 1980s. It’s now the end of the line for the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad, and for some people, it’s a jumping-off place.

For just nine weekends each year, people walk the boardwalk that now covers the railroad ties, destined to take a leap of faith.

The bridge was purchased in 2013 for $105,000 by four friends from Washington State. They knew the first time they saw it would be a bungee jumper’s dream. They formed a company called “Vertigo Bungee,” which soon put Central Kentucky on the “must-visit” list for adventure-seekers.

“People travel for hours for this three-minute experience, because there’s nowhere else in the country for bungee jumpers with this quite this kind of history, scenery, and setup. The bridge is within view of the Wild Turkey Distillery and sits 240 feet above the Kentucky River.

Doug Frutos, one of the co-owners, said “There are four bungee jumping operations in the country and we’re the only ones who offer head dips and ankle-wrap jumps.”

That’s right. He said head dips. If you so desire, they can fix your cord so your head will skim the water as you hang upside down. The drop from the bridge is equal to falling from a 24-story building.

Laura Colaciello drove from Maryland to jump for the first time.

“It was amazing. Definitely scary at first,” she said, catching her breath.

She said she would definitely do it again, but paused to say, “Maybe not today.” She wasn’t sure she could handle the adrenaline rush again so soon. Some jumpers, however, do it up to three times per session.

“It’s less about the thrill and more about the focus,” Frutos said. “When you’re falling through the air, that’s exactly what you’re doing, focusing on that moment. It’s a reset button.”

Co-owner Robert Hatcher said there’s no “typical” jumper.

“We’ve had people come out who’ve beaten cancer,” he said. “We’ve had people come out because this was on their list of something to do– a challenge– they were scared of heights or they just wanted to experience something fun with their friends outdoors.”

Reason varies, but in the end, each person hopes it’s a jump for joy.

At a September session, it was a mother-daughter outing for Jaleena Hall of Radcliff, Kentucky. She jumped first and didn’t seem nervous at all to then watch when her 10-year-old daughter Camilla leap from the bridge.

“It’s exactly what I expected her to do,” Hall said. “I’m proud of her.

When Camilla was lifted back onto the platform, she was all smiles. She declared it “a lot of fun,” and immediately headed to the other side to do it a second time.

Hatcher said he’s been jumping for 32 years and looks forward to his trip from Washington to Kentucky each month: “I’ve got a lot of jumps. I’m not stopping.”

Vertigo Bungee’s season ends in October and will resume in the spring. Click here for more information, or search for the company on Facebook.

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