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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.
I visited the walkway to roller skate, because I’d heard great things about it, and that it was super smooth. The rail trail on the Poughkeepsie side was super smooth and great, but the actual Walkway had huge cracks, some quite raised, every two feet. This made it impossible to flow and we basically had to march our skates across it, and I took two pretty bad falls (thank you, protective gear.) Soooo that was a real bummer. The rail trail on the other side was smooth for a bit but then got very rough. It was definitely worth the trip, but I wouldn’t recommend skating the walkway if you want a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
We stayed at a very nice little inn called Inn at Twaalfskill that has a driveway that connects to the western side of the bridge on the Hudson Valley Trail. The bridge is a little crowded, so you have to take care, but it is worth the spectacular view. The Hudson Valley Trail on the west side and the Dutchess Trail on the east are both well maintained and less crowded than the bridge itself. HIGHLY recommended. The Inn is a great quiet getaway that could not be more convenient for access to the trails.
My two friends and I decided to make a getaway to the Poughkeepsie area to check out this trail. We hoped to include all connecting trail but the weather was uncooperative. The day we arrived the weather was gorgeous so we parked on the Highlands side on Haviland road. We crossed the bridge and enjoyed the views of the mountains both north and south. The facilities are immaculate and the views are stunning. Great job to all who preserved this treasure for all to enjoy. I want to return with my husband
Rode across this twice on a September Saturday. Going eastbound in mid-morning and westbound in mid-afternoon. Although it was busy with pedestrian traffic, there was enough room to ride slowly ... we rode a tandem. The bridge deck is about 20 ft wide (eyeball estimate), so there is plenty of room and the fence rail is about 4-1/2 ft high. The views were fantastic !!!! This is a "must see & ride" if you're in the area.
If you are in the area, this is a must do. We went mid-day and mid-week, parked at the walkway, and rode over the bridge, down and back the connecting trail on the east side, back over the bridge, then down and back the connecting tail on the west side. Returned to the center for one last look at the bridge. All in all it took a few hours, was exceptionally beautiful and not at all crowded. Would definately recommend this to all riders, any type of bike, any skill level.
This is short but does connect up to other trails for some length. This walk over the Hudson river is beautiful. This is the only time I have ever given 5 stars. So get out and ride.
This is an amazing walk over the Hudson, the views are spectacular, a great outing. The Hudson Valley and Dutchess Rail Trails are an added bonus to this attraction, A must destination for any avid trail user.
I've visited this trail twice - once as a scout troop outing (hike) and once as a part of a longer bike trip (combining the Steinhaus / Dutchess trail, the walkway, and the Hudson Valley rail trail). The trail is well constructed and maintained - and very popular. Thankfully the trail is very wide so there is plenty of room to maneuver. The views are spectacular. Worth the trip!
Our first time visiting the area and had a great time! Took a walk on the Walkway Over The Hudson and glad we did. Spectacular views of the FDR Mid Hudson Bridge and river did not let down. Mid morning sun not to hot with cool breeze. Met a kind guide who was very informative. Would love to visit in the fall and hopeful for expansion of trail!
I have done over 100 trails in 10 states and logged over 2200 miles and this trail is the best of the best. I have never given out five stars before and I just had to give out the five stars for this trail. The view is spectacular and if you live in the North East part of the country you need to put this trail on your bucket list. I did this trail med week and there was not much of a crowed but I talked to a local and was told it gets crowded on the weekends. The trail connects on both ends with the Hudson Valley Trail on the west side and the William Steinhaus Trail on the East side and both trail have lots of parking. Again the view is as good as it gets. I have a great fear of heights but had no trouble with this ride.
Did this trail last summer. Beautiful views, easy walking. Concessions sold at start of trail were appreciated since I didn't bring enough water. Will do this one again.
When visiting our son in Pleasant Valley, this is our favorite thing to do! An early (6am) bike ride over the Hudson to Highlands and back (10.34m). It doesn't get any better than that, unless they add more paved trail!!
This trail or beginning of a trail is fabulous!!!! The sun can be a challenge but a pair of glasses maybe a hat? I walk during off sun hours, but during the fall i love it up there!!!
There are refuse bags for the dogs, water for the dogs, free!!! Water at vendors for the humans. I just love this trail. They even post how hot the surface is for the dogs!!! Be sure you have shoes for your dogs on some days during the summer.
I was blessed to be there the very first night it was open...the hot air balloons, drifted, and the cold wind just brushed across my face. I was joyous that evening and return all the time.
As always what we think about comes about and we seem to like this wonderful trail. If you cannot donate to the trail, at least keep it clean.
The hokey pokey thing was a hoot but i got scared when the bridge did what healthy bridges do when there is lots of weight jumping up and down...the bridge moved... yeah, but i was good... and then gone.
Deb and I visited on 6/5/10 and found the bridge wonderful and packed! An obvious victim of it's own sucess (or excess?) the bridge was packed with tourists from buses, idling along Haviland Road on the west side. Cars and trucks filled lots on both sides of the bridge. Spot-a-pots and privy type toliets service the masses... there were many vendors on both sides offering many food and drink choices in what was almost a canival affar..... the veterans were having a drive of some sort... t-shirts and funnel cakes were for sale..well , it was chaotic at best....
the bridge was a wonderful walk.. the views spectacular.. the breeze cool... think sunscreen and hats if you venture onward on a hot day as there is no shade out there save for some trees on the east side and west side approaches..
watch for bikers which are permitted among the walking masses... folks who are really wary of heights should probably pass on this one...
placards along the rails of the bridge tell of it's revival and life and Poughkeepsie's history .. a new stairway is being built on the east side to the surface street below in Poughkeepsie..
I can't believe this will remain 'free" for long... but I'll keep my fingers crossed...
And lastly... definitely go on a off hour before or after the tourist buses....
we are so lucky to have the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the world right in our own backyard, even in the winter they cleared the snow/ice amazingly well, great walk/run/jog/ride if you can get out, parking has gotten better and more organized, wish it had more vendors haha
The Walkway Over The Hudson is a great gift that gives more people the opportunity to view the Hudson River and its scenic shorelines. This region of the USA is a real treasure. Not only does the Walkway preserve a marvel of 19th century engineering and construction, but also encourages everyone who visits it and gazes from it to preserve the Hudson River and the beautiful valley through which it flows.
I was a volunteer photographer for the weekend Grand Opening. I have put a collection of photos on my website for all to enjoy. Please visit www.GreatOutdoorImages.com and click on "Travel & People" to view them. ( or copy/paste this link http://www.photoshelter.com/c/greatoutdoorimages/gallery/Travel-People/G0000AnT8.QUasdU/?_bqH=eJwLMXeryA3OqHK2CPGO9CzXrfI3Cq.KKDaPNPG1MjQ2tjI0MLCyco_3dLF1NwACx7wQC73A0MTilFC1AJComrtnvLujj49rUCQ2RQBEBxun&_bqO=0 )
There are photos of the Friday night lantern lighting and fireworks, followed by the Saturday opening ceremony with Pete Seeger, the parade including all the surrounding towns, and the night circus.
I strongly disagree with the review that said "Not for the squeemish". I have a strong fear of heights but the walkways rock solid feel and its massive railings will make anybody feel comfortable.
Parking is still a problem on weekends. Your best bet is the highland side but be prepared to walk about a half mile unless you get lucky and find an open spot nearer. Hopefully they will get the rail trail connections done soon so bikers can park at the many rail trail parking lots and ride to the walkway. I've been on the walkway four times now and I've walked it every time. I'll probably bike on it once the rail trail connections are made but for now I prefer to walk it and enjoy the view. I give it four stars for now and maybe add another star when the connections are finished.
On opening weekend it was open on Saturday night and the nighttime view was breathtaking. I hope they open it again once in a while on Friday or Saturday nights.
I'VE WALKED OVER THIS AMAZING BRIDGE.YOU CAN WALK,BIKE,ETC THE 1.25 MILES.YOU ARE 212FT HIGH FROM THE RIVER.THE VIEW IS UNBELIEVABLE.NOT FOR THE SQUIMISH.CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK WITH MY BIKE. FYI-ON THE HIGHLAND SIDE THERE ISN'T MUCH PARKING............
We drove up the second Sunday it was open and the crowds were still amazing and amazed. It's wide with mammoth guardrails and views up and down the Hudson. Applause to the volunteers who pulled this together. The link into New Paltz is not finished, but there were lots of cyclists using the local roads to connect. And if you can't wait for the trail completion, it's still a nice walk you can top off with a visit to the college town of New Paltz not far away.
I was there opening day, and it was an amazing experience. It does indeed feel like you are walking on air 210 feet above the Hudson River. There are no trail connections yet on either end of the bridge, so if you are driving some distance to get to the Poughkeepsie area, you may want to wait until the trail connections are made before making the trip, which is projected for 2010, to make a full day of the trip.
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