Henry Hudson's Springs

Quick Hike to Henry Hudson’s Springs

The Legend

The site of Henry Hudson’s Springs is a curious little attraction in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Legend has it the springs were used for medicinal purposes by native tribes and surrounded by burial grounds. In 1609, Henry Hudson and his thirsty crew descended on the springs and adjacent land, trampling over graves, quenching their thirst but also releasing evil spirits in the process. Thereafter, Henry Hudson’s crew met a series of misfortunes, fell ill to disease, culminating in Henry Hudson’s disappearance on his voyage to Hudson’s Bay. His spirit has reportedly returned to Hudson’s Springs and is haunting it to this day.

The Springs Today

Whether or not this legend is true, Henry Hudson’ Springs do exist and sputter water to this day. Sadly, the site is showing significant neglect and no longer resembles the oasis that can be found on old postcards. The landscaping features are falling apart, most water is leaking through the retaining wall rather than the pipes and the area is littered with garbage. You would think the owners of nearby million-dollar homes would look after their neighborhood a little more. Although the water appears clean, the New Jersey Department of Health would rather you not drink it. Perhaps it remembers Henry Hudson’s fate. Either way, there are no bathrooms nearby if you had a sip and found evil spirits rumbling in your stomach.

Getting There

Curious to see the Springs in person? You will be pleased to find out this attraction is only a short drive away from popular Sandy Hook and open year round. There are two ways to reach Hudson’s Springs today. The easiest is a short walk or ride on the Henry Hudson Bike Trail. Park at the Seastreak Ferry or Harbor Park parking lot in Atlantic Highlands and follow the path until you cross over a small stream and see an unassuming archway on the right. It’s easy to miss. The trail is level and wheelchair accessible. Accessible parking is available as well. Restrooms are located in the marina parking lot.

A more interesting way is to park at the Mt. Mitchill Scenic Overlook and take in the vista from the Eastern Seaboard’s tallest point. Then follow the windy Ocean Boulevard until Belvedere Road and head downhill until you reach Bayside Drive. The entrance to Hudson’s Springs is down a stairway that looks like an entrance to someone’s yard. On your way, you will pass several mansions that are perhaps inspired by Italy’s Tuscany region. There are no sidewalks, so watch out for cars. Prepare yourself for the hike back, which is mostly uphill. In the summer, bring along some water as water from the springs is not potable. This route is not wheelchair accessible. Porta potties are available near the playground at Mt. Mitchill.