Traffic Alert! There actually isn’t any. Hike the Hudson Valley and take our pedestrian-friendly bridges over rivers, creeks, and marshes for unparalleled views and interesting wildlife. It’s a great day in the outdoors, and one of the best parts is that it’s free, no admission!
The newest pathway is Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park spanning the Hudson River. At 212 feet tall and 1.28 miles long, it’s the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Once an east-west connector for trains, it offers hikers, bikers and strollers magnificent panoramas of the Catskill Mountains, Mid-Hudson Bridge, and both shores. This sky-high venue has special events scheduled throughout the year, attracting even international travelers who marvel at this engineering feat.
The 2,000-mile long Appalachian Trail crosses the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge from Fort Montgomery to just north of Peekskill. This photogenic beauty with its charming stone tollbooth serves as one of the valley’s icons. The first span built for motor traffic between Albany and Manhattan, pedestrian walkways line both sides of the bridge for double the view of the Highlands. Lens-worthy shots of the bridge can be taken from below on the Popolopen Creek Footbridge connecting Fort Montgomery Historic Site and the Bear Mountain Zoo. Look up from the pedestrian walkway and focus your camera on the lacy suspension of this much photographed Hudson River crossing.
Further upriver, the Rip Van Winkle Bridge connects the village of Hudson to the village of Catskill. Named after Washington Irving’s short story, pedestrians can stroll the protected walkway from dawn to dusk. Legend says that the Catskill Mountains, now covered in red, copper, and gold foliage, are the very ones where old Rip slept for twenty years. Walkways don’t just go over the Hudson, they also go to the river. The River Way Bridge in Albany is painted with murals telling the story of Albany’s beginnings hundreds of millions of years ago to its present day position as the state capitol. The span joins the city to beautiful Riverfront Park, host to special concerts from spring through fall. Bring a picnic and dine as you watch the passing river traffic.
Boardwalks and beaches are a natural go-together, but the Boardwalk at Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary is a delightful alternative. Skirting the Hudson River, the 700-foot boardwalk is designed to be accessible to families, birders, artists, photographers, anyone who comes to view the river’s wildlife and natural beauty.
Go from scenic waterside to walking on air when you cross the Suspension Bridge at Black Creek Preserve in Esopus. This beautiful 120-foot wood and rope footbridge hovers over the Black Creek, a bubbling, clear swath of water at the entrance to the 130-acre Scenic Hudson preserve. The path leads into a woodland tract with three interconnected hiking trails (2.5 miles total) that run through a hemlock forest mixed with hardwoods to the banks of the Hudson River.
The Hudson isn’t the only waterway boasting walkways. The paved Bronx River Pathway travels from Yonkers to Valhalla, crossing the river with many small scenic bridges. The pathway is divided into three sections, providing nine miles of paved trail for walkers, joggers, and bikers.
The Hoosic River has its own pathway, the historic Buskirk Covered Bridge. Built in the 1850s, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1978. More technically speaking, it’s a 164 foot long single-span, one-lane, Howe-truss wooden covered bridge. But visitors just know that it’s the perfect spot for scenic fall foliage photos.