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The Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park—the longest pedestrian bridge in the world at just over 1.6 miles—emerges from the trees and over the rooftops of the old riverfront town of Poughkeepsie, crosses the vast Hudson River, and touches down in the hamlet of Highland on the west side of the river.
The walkway opened in 2009 in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic 1609 journey up the river. From the bridge, the views of the lush Hudson Valley and the river, 212 feet below, are simply breathtaking. Visitors are greeted by walkway volunteers and staff at welcome centers, which opened to the public in 2018 and are located at either end of the trail.
When it first opened in 1889, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge that is now the walkway was hailed as the Great Connector, as it offered a vital link between New England cities and supplies from Pennsylvania, the Midwest, and farther afield. Today, the bridge serves as a linchpin in a 20-mile expanse of connected pathway. Two rail-trails join the walkway and spin out into the hillsides in either direction: the Hudson Valley Rail Trail on the west bank and William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail to the east.
Together, the three rail-trails were welcomed into Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2016. They are also part of the Empire State Trail, a developing 750-mile trail network spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany.
Trailhead parking lots are available on either side of the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge: at 61 Parker Ave. in Poughkeepsie and at 87 Haviland Road in Highland.
To reach the parking lot in Poughkeepsie from I-84, take Exit 13, and head north on US 9. Continue on US 9 N for 14.4 miles to NY 9G in Poughkeepsie; you will travel under the Walkway Over the Hudson on the way to this exit. Look for brown WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON directional signs as you approach your exit. Turn right onto NY 9G, which becomes Washington St., for 0.6 mile. Turn left onto Parker Ave. In 0.3 mile, a large parking lot will appear on your left.
To reach the parking lot in Highland from I-87, take Exit 18 for NY 299 E. Turn right onto NY 299, go 5.1 miles, and then turn right onto US 9W S. Continue on US 9W for 2.1 miles, then turn left onto Haviland Road. Parking will appear on your left in 0.5 mile.
The Walkway Over the Hudson can also be reached by train; take an Amtrak train or Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line from Grand Central Station in Manhattan to Poughkeepsie. The Poughkeepsie Station (41 Main St.) is 0.7 mile from the Walkway Over the Hudson entrance at Washington St.
Note: An ADA-compliant elevator, located in Poughkeepsie’s Upper Landing Park (83 N. Water St.) near the Hudson River waterfront, goes up to the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge. However, the elevator operates seasonally and is weather dependent, so check the trail website before a visit.
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