Walking: Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park | Poughkeepsie, New York | 2/27/2011

If you have a few hours to kill when you're in the mid-Hudson Valley region in New York, a walk across the Walkway over the Hudson in the Walkway over the Hudson State Historical Park is well worth the time. The walk over the Hudson is just over a mile in length, but offers some of the most amazing views that you'll find in the area. To the south you can look at the Hudson Highlands, to the North are the Shawangunks and the Catskills. To the east is the greater Poughkeepsie area and the western bank of the Hudson is pretty interesting.

We walked the pathway from the east and parked at the parking lot provided on the Poughkeepsie side. There is free on street parking here, but if you want to park in the official parking lot, there is a $5 charge for parking. There is no fee to use the park.

Besides a few short inclines to adjust to elevation differences on the bridge, the walk is basically flat. The trail follows the old railroad bed on land and uses the refurbished railroad bridge to cross the river. This puts you over 200 feet above the Hudson River at the highest point and provides 360 views for almost the entire walk.

From the east the the path quickly climbs onto the railroad bridge and you have a long approach over the Poughkeepsie area until you reach the eastern bank of the Hudson River. This lets you get a birds eye view of Route 9, the Metro North rail lines and a number of city streets as you make your way out.

The bridge then reaches the Hudson and crosses over to the western shore. The western shore is a lot steeper so the bridge quickly reaches land on the western side. The western side also has a parking lot you can use to access the bridge and there linkages with other rail trails that allow you to continue your walk. There are also a few loops you can do on the Poughkeepsie side of things if you don't mind walking on the street. One big loop is available that lets you cross the
Walkway over the Hudson, travel down the either river bank, cross the river again on the Mid-Hudson Bridge and then come back to where you started. Maps are available.

We had a few hours in the afternoon free and got to the park around 3:30 in the afternoon. The park is open from dawn to dusk (about 6 this time of the year) and we spent a little over an hour walking from the eastern end of the bridge over to the western end and then coming back over.

All along the bridge and at either end are information postings (the ends have larger kisoks) that go over the history of the park and how the bridge was converted from a railroad bridge to a pedestrian bridge.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we were heading up. I knew the walkway was there and I knew people who had walked on it. However actually getting out and experiencing it was a lot of fun. It helped that it was a really warm spring day, so it helped quell the budding cabin fever of this past winter.

The total walk, one was is 1.3 miles on the bridge. Basically no elevation gain or loss.