Difficulty: 1 out of 4
Fun Factor: 2 out of 4
As much as I love the city, sometimes my People and I just need to get away. Fortunately for us, there are a lot of interesting day trips in the New York area, many of them to places that allow dogs. A guidebook to day hikes near New York—like this one from the Moon series or this one from the Appalachian Mountain Club—is a great resource for city-dwelling humans with active dogs.
Usually, we like to go to an easy-moderate trail in the woods somewhere, but this time, we chose something different out of the Moon guide. The day we went was rather cold, and the ground was still damp from the previous day’s rain. So instead of risking a hike on a muddy, water-logged trail, we went to Poughkeepsie, NY, to visit the Walkway Over The Hudson.
Poughkeepsie is a town about two hours north of New York City. Only service animals are allowed on the Metro-North trains, so my People took a car. We had a lovely, winding drive up the Taconic State Parkway, a pretty (and somewhat dangerous) twisting road. I enjoy being chauffeured about, but it’s even better when there’s lovely scenery and smells along the way. Sadly, my request for a Jaguar was once again denied, and I had to suffer the indignity of being transported in a Ford Fiesta. There was not even a piñata in the car, so I don’t know who the Ford Motor Company thinks it’s fooling with that name.
The Walkway Over The Hudson (WOTH) used to be a railroad bridge, but now it’s the longest elevated pedestrian walkway in the world (1.28 miles/2.06 km long). Standing at the entrance on the Poughkeepsie side, my People marveled at the length of the bridge stretching into the distance.
My People enjoyed the rolling hills and the low mountains visible in the distance, and we all enjoyed the fresh air. The walkway is paved and flat, so it might be a good choice for dogs that maybe can’t manage more difficult terrain. It’s also suitable for small child humans.
And it’s apparently very popular with dogs. Canines are permitted on the WOTH, but we need to be on our leashes. Even on a chilly, grey-skied day, there were several dogs out for a stroll, most of them a lot larger than I. Thanks to some adroit footwork, I managed to avoid being eaten by an overly curious Great Dane puppy who mistook me for a plush toy.
It took us about an hour and a half to stroll the length of the bridge and back, stopping so my People could take photos and read the informational postings about the history of the bridge and area ecosystem. There is also the option to walk a loop by going through Highland on the West side of the Hudson and crossing back over the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
If we lived nearby, my People and I would probably make a habit of visiting the WOTH. That said, this is not the most exciting day trip I’ve ever had (I’d pick Pine Meadow Lake for that). But it offers a sweeping view of the Hudson River and an easy walk on a day when I don’t want to get my paws too dirty but still want some fresh air outside of the city.
Next time, I’ll make sure I get that Jaguar.
The Walkway Over The Hudson is part of the NYS Parks—Taconic Region.