America’s Rhine: The Hudson River

You’d never guess it walking along the West Side in Manhattan, but the cloudy, brackish waters of New York City’s famous Hudson River begins in the clear mountainous forests of the Adirondacks some 300 miles north.

Hudson Source

Hudson Source 2

These photos were taken near Newcomb, New York. The Hudson River starts about 10 miles north from this point, at Lake Tear of the Clouds.

Photo is public domain, taken by Seneca Ray Stoddard.

The Hudson River is New York State’s longest river at 315 miles, winding its snaky way down the Adirondacks high peaks to New York’s capital city, Albany, down to New York City where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The Mohawk River, New York’s second largest river, is the largest tributary to the Hudson at 140 miles.

Watershed map from

Here’s a shot of the Hudson very near to its headwaters. I can’t remember exactly where this was, but it was north of Newcomb near Henderson Lake.

highway_hudson river


The Hudson River in Catskill, NY.


The Rip van Winkle Bridge over the Hudson near Catskill, NY. Photo taken from Olana Historic Site.


The Hudson River from an Amtrak train heading to Manhattan. The brilliant blue and sparkly waters undulating through New York’s most scenic landscape has earned the Hudson the nickname “America’s Rhine.”

Train along Hudson R

The Hudson drains into the Atlantic Ocean at New York Bay.

Liberty Island1

Every schoolchild in New York learns that the Hudson is named for the famous British explorer Henry Hudson, who sailed in 1609 on behalf of the Dutch on his ship Halve Maen (Half Moon). He was searching for the Northwest Passage, a speculative (and, as it became known, nonexistent) waterway through the American continent from east to west. Hudson’s discovery and exploration of the Hudson River paved the way for Dutch claims to the land and Dutch settlement from New York City (then called New Netherland) to Albany.
You’d think such an auspicious adventurer would have gotten a bit more respect at the time, but no. After Hudson sailed up the river that would later bear his name, he had to turn around because this was not the Northwest Passage. Determined to find it, Hudson sailed again in 1611. He traveled as far north as James Bay and what later became Hudson Bay in northern Canada. The journey was so cold and so arduous that the crew mutinied that summer. They tossed Hudson, his young son, and six sick crew members in a boat and set them adrift in the Hudson Bay. Hudson and the others were never heard from again… not until Washington Irving featured them in his fanciful tale of Rip van Winkle some 200 years later. 😉

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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