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In 2009, the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge re-opened as the world’s longest elevated pedestrian walkway.
Originally built in the late 1800s, the railroad bridge was the only Hudson River crossing between NYC and Albany until the Bear Mountain bridge opened in 1924. It was the largest cantilever-truss bridge in the world at the time.
The bridge provided a valuable connection between the industry of the Northeast and supplies from the Midwest and was used continuously up until 1974 when a fire damaged the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge. It was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
In the 1990’s, the non-profit organization Walkway Over The Hudson was awarded the deed to the bridge in order to turn it into a linear recreational park.
The group solicited donations from NY State, the federal government and private donors, restored the bridge and built the walkway. In October 2009, the site was dedicated as a State Historic Park.
Rail trails were later constructed at either end of the bridge to extend the trails. On the Highland side, the rail trail extends five miles west of the bridge. Free, but limited parking is available at the Highland Station entrance to the rail trail.
There are volunteer ambassadors stationed at either side of the bridge in kiosks. I was able to purchase a collectible pin at the western kiosk.
The trail is completely accessible…I saw a man in a wheelchair crossing the bridge.
Pets and bicycles are allowed.
The bridge is 1.28 miles long and there was a nice breeze coming off the river on the hot day that I visited.
The Walkway Over the Hudson runs parallel to the nearby Mid-Hudson bridge.
Location: 87 Haviland Rd, Highland, NY 12528
Designation: State Historic Park
Date designation declared: 10/3/2009
Date of my visit: 9/3/2018