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George Washington Bridge Bike, Walk, & Run (How to Cross the GW Bridge)

George Washington Bridge Bike, Walk, & Run (How to Cross the GW Bridge)

If you are looking to bike, walk, or run over the George Washington Bridge, this overview is for you.

As the busiest vehicular crossing bridge in the world, the George Washington Bridge (GW Bridge for short), connects upper Manhattan with New Jersey over the Hudson River.

But it is not just for cars! On the northern side of the bridge, you will find a two lane path for anyone that wants to use a bicycle or their own two feet to cross over.

Read on to learn more about the walkway, and how to head on over the bridge for yourself.

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1) A GW Bridge History

Before getting started, I wanted to lay out a few historical notes about the bridge itself.

  • As demand for a bridge between Manhattan and New Jersey increased in the early 1900’s, the Port Authority asked for proposals on how to best build it.
  • It was Othmar Ammann’s plan (Swiss born architect/engineer), which was eventually chosen for the final design.
  • The bridge fully opened back in 1932, and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world. This was soon taken over by the Golden Gate Bridge 6 years later.
  • The length of the bridge comes in at 4,760 feet, and is 119 feet in width. The two towers of the bridge are 604 feet above the water, with the roadway at 212 feet above the Hudson.
  • While originally the bridge was just one level of 6 lanes, over the years traffic demand increased. Two more lanes opened up on the upper level, and a lower level with 6 more lanes was constructed (14 total lanes!).
  • Today, the bridge is considered the “busiest bridge in the world”. It is estimated that over 100 million vehicles cross it annually, which comes out to over 200,000 per day.

This overview will focus in on the walking/bicycling pathway located alongside the bridge, which can be the perfect way to get yourself between NY and NJ.

Walking Over George Washington Bridge

2) George Washington Bridge Cycling Path & Walkway

For those who are not looking to drive over the bridge, but rather cycle, walk, or run over the bridge, there is an option for you.

In 2023, a newly constructed “Northwalk” was opened. This new pathway lets bicyclists and pedestrians safely head along the northern side of the bridge’s upper level.

The pathway is made up of two lanes, with one lane for people going from Manhattan to New Jersey, and the other lane for people going from New Jersey into Manhattan.

For now, that means each lane must be shared by cyclists and pedestrians. Due to this, you must be very careful as you make your way across.

Be on the lookout for other people around you and abide by the 15 MPH speed limits for cyclists.

Southwalk Update: while there was a pathway on the southern end of the bridge, it is now closed for construction until 2027. Once that pathway is renovated, pedestrians will move on over to the southern end, and bicyclists will have the northern side for themselves.

3) GW Pathway Things to Know

Below are some quick facts about the Northwalk to get yourself familiarized:

  • Manhattan Entrance: Corner of West 180th Street & Cabrini Blvd
  • New Jersey Entrance: Hudson Terrace / GW Bridge Intersection
  • Pathway Length: 1.5 miles
  • Walking Time / Cycling Time: 45 minutes / 15 minutes

In addition, it is important to note a few more things about the pathway:

  • It can get very windy on the bridge, so be prepared with the appropriate layers.
  • There are no restrooms, drinks, food or souvenirs on the bridge. Head over to the nearby GW Bridge Bus Terminal if restrooms or food are needed.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on the pathway! If you are cycling across, you must be aware of this and pay attention.

George Washington Bridge Walkway Hours

While the bridge for cars is open 24 hours a day, the pathway is not. The opening hours run from 6:00AM to 11:59PM daily. Note that the pathway may be closed during very inclement weather.

Do You Have to Pay to Walk Across the George Washington Bridge?

No, you do not have to pay to walk across the George Washington Bridge. While there is a toll for cars going from New Jersey into Manhattan, pedestrians and bicyclists can make their way across free of charge.

How Long is the Walk Across the George Washington Bridge?

Expect the walk to take around 45 minutes with limited stops. If you are someone who wants to read more about the history (more on those options soon), or take lots of photos, then that time can certainly reach an hour or more.

GW Walk

4) GW Bridge Pedestrian / Bicycle Pathway Entrances

As mentioned, there is one entrance to the pathway on the Manhattan side and one entrance of the New Jersey side. Here is a bit more info for each.

Manhattan Side Entrance & Directions

You can find the Manhattan side entrance at the corner of West 180th Street & Cabrini Blvd in the Washington Heights neighborhood.

The entrance is very obvious as it is highlighted with its large Northwalk sign welcoming you onto the pathway.

If you are looking for the closest subway station, you can take the express A train directly to 181st Street. From there is it just around the corner to the entrance.

You can also take the 1 train to 181st Street, which would be about a 10 minute walk to the entrance.

George Washington Bridge Manhattan Entrance

New Jersey Side Entrance & Directions

On the New Jersey side, the entrance is located in Fort Lee. You will need to make your way onto a street named Hudson Terrace, and head towards the direction of the GW Bridge.

The entrance will be right next to the bridge just underneath the overpass. Again, the same type of signage will be present indicating the Northwalk.

Here you can find both a sloped path for bicyclists and a staircase for pedestrians.

The best way to get here would be by the NJ Transit bus (lines 171/175 as potential options).

New Jersey Entrance George Washington Bridge

GW Bridge Walkway Parking

If you are driving to the bridge and want to take part of the walk, there are some parking lots on either side.

Manhattan Side

  • West 184th Street & Broadway Parking Garage
  • MPG Parking (4169 Broadway)

New Jersey Side

  • Guntzer Street Municipal Lot (2030 Guntzer Street)
  • SP+ Parking (245 Park Avenue)
  • Fort Lee Historic Park

If you enjoy the walk across the GW Bridge, check out some other bridge walks to take part of in NYC:

5) George Washington Bridge Walkway Map

To give you a better sense of the walkway, and its entrances, below is a map that lays out the area of the GW Bridge.

6) Walking & Cycling the George Washington Bridge

This final section is to just show you in photos what a walk across the George Washington Bridge is all about. During my time out on the bridge, it was a pretty overcast day, so I am hoping to head back with my camera sometime again soon to grab some better shots.

Note: I will be going about this from Manhattan into New Jersey

After arriving at the Northwalk entrance way, there will be a gate to pass through onto the first portion of the pathway.

From here you will get some great views of the bridge and its two large towers.

Northwalk George Washington Bridge
GW Bridge View

Just a few minutes in, you will reach the first of two “belvederes”. This large open space is off to the side of the pathway, and is a great place to enjoy the view & read up on the history of the bridge.

There are several signboards that line the railing, so you can take your time to learn more about the GW Bridge and how it came to be. Once all wrapped up there, continue on the pathway itself.

GW Bridge Belvedere Viewpoint

Out in front of you is the first tower, to your right is the Hudson river, and to your left (across the traffic) is the Manhattan skyline.

While the Manhattan skyline views aren’t the best from the Northwalk, the northbound views are great. You will have them the whole way through, so feel free to stop from time to time for some photos.

GW Bridge Cycling
Manhattan Skyline GW Bridge
View from GW

Soon, you will reach the first tower, and walk right underneath it. You will also find a small section here, where you can get some nice views of NJ. It is then continuing along the path to the center of the bridge.

View of NJ from George Washington Bridge

Be sure to keep an eye out on the ground! You will see the New York / New Jersey border marked on the pathway.

New York New Jersey Border

It is then towards the second tower, with more continuous views on either side of you.

George Washington Bridge Walkway
Hudson River View from George Washington Bridge
GW Bridge Tower

As you approach the second tower, there is some space for some nice photos looking back to the Manhattan side.

View of Manhattan from GW

You can then head under the second tower, where you will be welcomed to the greenery of the Fort Lee hillside.

Fort Lee Palisades

Continuing walking or bicycling along the pathway, when you will then see the below staircase. If you are walking, you can head on up to the second “belvedere”. If bicycling, follow the signs that take you around on the sloped path.

More great views can be found from this belvedere area, along with some historical signs to read through.

Exit GW Bridge
Belvedere New Jersey GW

It is then down the stairs, where you will be welcomed to the New Jersey entrance of the Northwalk.

From here, it is up to you! Feel free to just turn back around and head back into the city. Or you can spend some time bicycling the Palisades.

I spent some time at the nearby Fort Lee Historic Park, which is just a 5 minute walk from the entrance. There are some great views from the park of the GW Bridge and NYC skyline.

Fort Lee Historic Park

That about does it for a guide to walking & cycling the George Washington Bridge. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.

Also, be sure to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site.

Have fun out there and safe travels!

GW Bridge Walk Bike

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