The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway Is a Delightful Way to Experience North Jersey

Stretching from Bayonne to Fort Lee, the walkway is a front-row vantage point to one of the world’s most stupendous views: the New York City skyline.

Young girl on walkway at Jersey City's Liberty State Park
Take in top-notch views at Jersey City's Liberty State Park, part of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Photo: iStock/Marc Dufresne

For a front-row vantage point to one of the world’s most stupendous views—the New York City skyline—head to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, which stretches along the western shore of the Hudson River. On sunny days, the Hudson River sparkles. On overcast days, it radiates a steely gray.

Walking or running along the river, you hear the insistent cries of gulls and the waves lapping against the shore. Watch ferries glide quickly across the water from Weehawken to midtown Manhattan. Pick out landmarks: the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty.

“It’s tranquil and it’s energizing at the same time,” says Melissa Yanurian, 36, of Edgewater, a pharmacist who likes to push her infant son’s stroller along the path. “The view itself is calming, but the city skyline is energizing.”

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The walkway runs from Bayonne to Fort Lee, with some gaps. On the New Jersey side, you’ll pass townhouses, apartments, condos, businesses and parks. Memorials in Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken honor 9/11 victims.

In Liberty State Park in Jersey City, the path goes past the historic 1889 terminal of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Other Jersey City landmarks include the old Colgate factory clock; a statue honoring 22,000 Polish victims killed by the Soviets in the 1940 Katyn Massacre; and an 80-foot-tall sculpture of a head, called Water’s Soul.

In Hoboken, the walkway slices straight between the train shed and the waiting room at the Hoboken rail terminal.

The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway traces its beginnings to the mid-1980s, when the state Legislature passed a law requiring waterfront property owners to build a section of public walkway any time there was a change in a property’s use.

“As more and more industries closed and more developers came in to develop what is now called the Gold Coast, the walkway has appeared,” says Don Stitzenberg, president of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, a nonprofit that monitors the pathway’s construction and maintenance.

He says the walkway is “largely complete from Port Liberte in Jersey City to the George Washington Bridge,” and it will “hopefully” be finished in the “next few years.”

Beyond walking and running, there is plenty to do. The Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, a nonprofit public boathouse located at at 1100 Frank Sinatra Drive North, offers free use of kayaks, paddleboards and outrigger canoes. The season runs May 25 to mid-September. Urban Paddle in Jersey City, located at Liberty Harbor Marina, offers kayak and standup paddleboarding lessons and tours. They are available from May 11 to early October.

You can also rent a bike at one of the 82 Citi Bike stations in Jersey City or Hoboken, both of which have great options to stop for a drink or a meal.

You could even try your hand at fishing, though, in Stitzenberg’s words, “Whether or not you’re going to eat fish out of the Hudson River is a whole other question.”

The walkway includes a small segment in Bayonne, where the waterfront is still largely industrial. But Stitzenberg says that if, as expected, the waterfront is ultimately redeveloped there, it will be finished through Bayonne and will cover 18.5 miles from the George Washington Bridge to the Bayonne Bridge.

GETTING THERE

Parking and public transit can be a challenge. Try these access points:

Edgewater Harbor

55 River Road, Edgewater

A small parking lot behind the stores has some spots designated for the walkway. However, you can’t walk north along the waterfront here without detouring inland.

Guttenberg/North Bergen Waterfront Park

River Road on the border of North Bergen and Guttenberg, a little south of Hackensack Meridian Palisades Medical Center

There are 15 parking spots here.

Port Imperial

4800 Avenue, Weehawken

Paid parking is available in decks near the NY Waterway ferry terminal.

Hoboken

Municipal parking decks are a few blocks from the waterfront. Or travel by NJ Transit train or bus, or the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

Exchange Place

Jersey City

Near parking lots and some street parking, it can also be reached on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and via PATH.

Liberty State Park

1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City

Enjoy free parking. It’s also on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

 

Kathleen Lynn lives in northern New Jersey and is a contributing writer to New Jersey Monthly. 


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