Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

World’s Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge, Hudson Valley, NY

Walkway Over the Hudson

Walkway Over the Hudson

As I mentioned in the post about the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, I ♥ the Hudson Valley! I look past the winter weather in anticipation of the bright, verdant springs and the brilliant snap of fall. (Exception: last winter’s ice storm which knocked out power for three days; that one left a mark.)

It’s the valley topography which lends itself to amazing scenery of undulating tree-covered hills and mountains. (It’s also the perfect holding vessel for seasonal pollen, which brings on the annual allergy attack and sinus infection, but again, LOVE the HudVal!)

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Last year, the Hudson Valley earned its place on the tourism map with the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson, which is The World’s Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge.

We’ve been a few times since then, as a family of four, and twice more when out-of-town family has visited.

Was coercion necessary? If by coercion you mean “put on the big girl panties and force a brave face in front of the kids because you are too chicken shit to go all the way up there on an open-air bridge,” then yes, I had to coerce myself into going. I also had to convince my son (Trip #1) and my brother (Trip #2), because we all share the gene for “fear of open heights.”

It’s also one of the reasons why Matt and I could never win the Amazing Race. Well, that, and my inability to drive stick shift.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

The lure of the river’s scenic landscape draws pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and rollerbladers to this sky-high, midair park. We were intrigued. I wasn’t going to let a silly fear of heights stop me, as it almost had when we went to the World’s Largest Rotating Globe.

A breathtaking birds-eye view is your reward for braving the Walkway, which ascends 212 feet above the water at midpoint.  But it’s actually the span — 6,767 feet, or 1.25 miles – which breaks the world record.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Walkway Over the Hudson

The view southward. Manhattan is down there somewhere!

We accessed the Walkway from the Poughkeepsie side. Once you start out, you walk over city streets and riverfront for 15 minutes before you even begin to cross the river. Even the land views are entertaining. The kids stopped to watch the Amtrak train taking passengers at the Poughkeepsie station underneath us. I started a game of “I Spy a Church Steeple,” finding six emerging from different spots in the tree canopies.

Once we were on the span, my legs started getting a little jellified. Especially when The Girl headed straight for the railing. Granted, it’s over 4-feet tall and impossible to climb, but I still sent Matt over to retrieve her each time (because my legs refused to move me anywhere near the sides.)

The Walkway is also an inspirational example of recycling on a gargantuan scale. It was created by renovating the historic Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, which provided train passage from 1889 until 1974, when a fired damaged its tracks. For decades, it stood in disrepair, unused. A preservationist group began raising funds over a decade ago, confident that the $35 million renovation cost would be far less than the cost to dismantle it. They were right, and use of the bridge in its new life has far exceeded anyone’s projections!

Some “good-to-know” info about the place:

You can access this linear state park from Highland or Poughkeepsie, and you’re welcome to bring your bike or skates. The bridge connects 27 miles of rail trails and riverfront parks in Ulster County on the west bank, and Dutchess County to the east.

There is no entrance fee, but if you drive to the access point on the Poughkeepsie side, parking is $5.00.

Walkway Over the Hudson

Fall, 2009. “How do I get myself up for a better view?’

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):

9!! We haven’t awarded any site a 10, yet. I’m saving it for the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, which—mark my words—we will see someday!

Walkway Over the Hudson

Summer, 2010. “How do I get myself up for a better view?”

But if you find yourself anywhere remotely close to the Walkway Over the Hudson, you must make it there. You just can’t get this vantage point anywhere else.

Hey you! Go BIG!:

The World’s Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge


Open 7:00 a.m. – sunset, year-round, weather permitting.

Entrances on Parker Avenue in Poughkeepsie, and Haviland Road in Highland. Click here for detailed maps.

Walkway Over the Hudson

Hear that sigh of relief? That’s me as we approach the end…back to terra firma!

Poughkeepsie Things To Do on raveable


  1. Mike said,
    September 28, 2010 @ 11:37 am

    I have been there, and although it is very scary (for those of you reasonably affflicted with a gripping fear of heights), it is well worth the trip. What a view!

  2. elmer said,
    September 28, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

    what no kids on dad’s shoulders while on the bridge?

  3. September 28, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    I am totally in love with the walkway. I am 77 and I go with my cute little seated walker whether alone or with friends and have a great time.

    • Traci Suppa said,
      September 29, 2010 @ 8:56 am

      You’re right, Lyn! No matter how you get across the Walkway, it’s SO worth it! Thanks for your note!

  4. Naomi Brooks said,
    October 1, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

    Traci – I am also scared of heights, and I made it out on the span during construction (I was volunteering). I was told that the railings were engineered to withstand a fire truck going 60 miles and hour, which consoles me each of the many times I’m out on the bridge. No way am I going to be blown over and hit the railing that hard!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      October 1, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

      Wow; that’s really interesting! Wish I had known that earlier! Now all I have to worry about is The Girl scaling her way up and over.

  5. February 15, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    Traci –

    I just wanted to write here and say that I came across your blog from 1Dad1Kid on Twitter – and I came across this post because it caught my eye due to the fact that my wife and I just relocated from Southern California to Fishkill, NY, about 10 miles south of Poughkeepsie. I had not read about this yet, so it is definitely something that my wife and I will check out this Spring! (or in a few weeks when all the snow melts!)

    Thanks again for teaching me something new about the area I just moved to!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      February 15, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

      Welcome to the Hudson Valley, Justin! Don’t worry; the winters aren’t always this bad!
      The Walkway is open year round, except when it’s too icy, so try it out as soon as you want. I heartily recommend lunch at Soul Dog on Main St. in Poughkeepsie afterward!

      We live close to Fishkill and like its restaurant “scene.” I recently wrote a Fishkill “playlist” of top local sites for UpTake.com: http://www.uptake.com/new_york/fishkill/travel_playlists/one_day_in_fishkill.html

  6. heidi said,
    July 7, 2011 @ 1:34 am

    Hi, we are renting a house for a week in New Paltz with our 3 kids. We are visiting from CA. Any advice on must dos with a 6, 10, and 12 year old. Is there waterskiing in the area? fun fishing spots? Lake swims? bike trails? Anything would help! Thank you so much!

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  1. April 19, 2013 @ 3:08 am

    […] breathtaking birds-eye view is your reward for braving The Walkway Over the Hudson, which ascends 212 feet above the water at midpoint. While it took some time for me and my son to […]