The river is about 507 kilometers (315 miles) long.
It flows almost entirely within New York state – the exception being its final segment, where it forms the boundary between New York and New Jersey for 34 km (21 miles).
The source of the Hudson River is Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Park at an altitude of 1,317 meters (4,322 feet). The river flows through the Hudson Valley to the Upper New York Bay between New York City and Jersey City. It eventually drains into the Atlantic Ocean at New York Harbor (one of the largest natural harbors in the world).
The Hudson River flows through the eastern part of New York state and serves as a political boundary between the states of New Jersey and New York at its southern end.
The lower half of the river is a tidal estuary, deeper than the body of water into which it flows, occupying the Hudson Fjord, an inlet which formed during the most recent period of North American glaciation, estimated at 26,000 to 13,300 years ago.
The river was called Ca-ho-ha-ta-te-a (“the river”) by the Iroquois, and it was known as Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk (“river that flows two ways” or “waters that are never still”) by the Mohican tribe who formerly inhabited both banks of the lower portion of the river. The meaning of the Mohican name comes from the river’s long tidal range.
Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed a short distance upstream for King Francis I of France in 1524, and became the first European known to have entered the Upper New York Bay.
The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609, and after whom Canada’s Hudson Bay is also named.
The Dutch called the river the North River – with the Delaware River called the South River – and it formed the spine of the Dutch colony of New Netherland.
A strategic waterway during the American Revolution, the Hudson was the scene of numerous battles, including the decisive American victory at Saratoga and the naval battle of Tappan Zee.
George Washington made his headquarters at Newburgh, along the west bank, in 1782 and later disbanded the American armies from there.
During the 18th century, the river valley and its inhabitants were the subject and inspiration of Washington Irving, the first internationally acclaimed American author.
Practical steam navigation was begun by inventor and engineer Robert Fulton in 1807, and the river quickly became a major commercial route.
In the 19th century, the area inspired the Hudson River School of landscape painting, an American pastoral style, as well as the concepts of environmentalism and wilderness.
The opening of three canals during the 19th century (the Erie, the Delaware and Hudson, and the Champlain) linked the river with the Great Lakes and the Delaware and lower St. Lawrence river valleys. It was thus a key factor in the growth of the Midwest as well as of New York City.
The river is overlooked at Hyde Park by the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site – a historic house museum.
The Walkway over the Hudson is a steel cantilever bridge spanning the Hudson River. At a length of 2,063 meters (6,768 feet), it is the world’s second longest pedestrian footbridge
A 48-kilometer (30-mile) stretch on the east bank of the Hudson has been designated the Hudson River Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.
The river is overlooked at Manhattan by Fort Tryon Park with the Cloisters, and the World Trade Center.
Ellis Island, partially belonging to both the states of New Jersey and New York, is located just south of the river’s mouth in New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island, is located a bit further south of there.
About 220 species of fish, including 173 native species, currently are found in the Hudson River.
The Atlantic sturgeon, a species about 120 million years old, enter the estuary during their annual migrations. The fish grow to a considerable size, up to 15 feet (4.6 m) and 800 pounds (360 kg). The fish are the symbol of the Hudson River Estuary.
Marine life is known to exist in the estuary, with seals, crabs, and some whales reported.