The delights of the Hudson River Valley may be well-known to New Yorkers, New Englanders, and FDR buffs, but they’re brand new to us. On a whim one evening we decided to head up to Poughkeepsie, NY to experience the river from above - with a walk across the Hudson on a railway bridge-turned-pedestrian park.
And, when it comes to going places with our kids, our priority list looks like this:
- Will there be a spot for them to run around?
- Anything else.
So in that regard, it was an ideal option for our group. There’s a full 1.28 mile stretch to run on the bridge, known as the Walkway Over the Hudson. And that 1.28 mile stretch straight back.
It was early summer, warm with a light breeze, and we timed our visit with the sunset. The evening was throroughtly enjoyed by one dog, three children, and three adults. The remaining member of our party, my father-in-law, has a little trouble with heights and wasn’t as keen. I’m mildly afraid of heights myself, especially with my kids in tow, but with high guard rails across the entire bridge, the height didn’t bother me.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying ourselves on a pretty June evening. You can certainly walk across the Hudson River, but you can also go on wheels. We passed cyclists, babies in strollers, and rollerbladers, as well as a number of folks on foot like ourselves. For our next visit, we’ll toss in the kids’ scooters. It’s long and wide, so there was plenty of room for all.
The bridge stands 212 feet tall, or just shy of 20 stories above the river, affording visitors 360 degree views of Poughkeepsie, the Hudson, the nearby Mid-Hudson Bridge. The lush green hills, rusty allure of the town, white church steeple, and expansive river below charmed us at every angle.
Then the sun started its decent into the horizon, and the Walkway experience was all the more enticing. The kids noticed about 3% of this, but were happy to chase each other around.
The steel cantilevered bridge was first built in 1889, but was damaged by fire and fell into disuse by the 1970’s. In the 90’s plans were put in place for making the bridge, by then a historic landmark, into a place for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy. It opened in its current form in 2009.
Helpfully for cycling enthusiasts, the planners successfully connected the Walkway Over the Hudson with the Duchess Rail Trail on the Poughkeepsie side and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail on the Highland side of the river. Now cyclists can start in Hopewell Junction, NY and end in Highland, NY, a 30 mile stretch.
We’ll go back to the bridge this fall. According to photos I’ve seen online, the colors are out of this world.
Planning to Walk Across the Hudson?
Here are some additional details to consider:
- The park is free to visit, but there are $5 parking lots on either side. We parked next to the pay-to-play lot on the Poughkeepsie side, which wasn’t paved, but it was free.
- Pets on leashes are welcome, so long as you’re willing to clean up after them.
- There are toilets on both ends of the bridge, but no where to handle calls of nature in the middle.
- Be smarter than me and wear decent walking shoes. It IS almost 2.5 miles back and forth.
- Not allowed: skateboards, rip-sticks, or motorcycles.
- A cell-phone audio tour is available, called “Talkway Over the Walkway."
- Check out the signs posted along the side for further information about the bridge and the area.
- The walkway opens at 7am and closes at sunset. As sunset changes throughout the year, check the website for hours before you visit.
- It is open throughout the year but will close for inclement weather.
For more information, check out the Walkway Over the Hudson website.