Not only are you offered 360 degree views, but you also get to explore the ruins of the old Overlook Mountain House.

Overlook Mountain is located in the Catskills and part of the Fire Tower Challenge (you must climb all 5 Catskill Fire towers and at least 18 Adirondack fire towers to earn a badge). This is a popular hike and although the parking lot holds about 30 cars, it can fill up.

Starting at the trail register you actually follow a large gravel road. The ascent is gradual but steady. At 1.8 miles, you will reach the ruins. There ruins were a hotel built in the 1800's that burnt to the ground in 1874. It was rebuilt in 1878 and burned again in 1924. In the midst of rebuilding again in 1939, the struggle to keep it open came to an end. While exploring, be sure to use caution around this old facade and be sure to note the area is known for Timber Rattlesnakes.

At mile post 2.37, you will come to the old Ranger Station. Most summer weekends you will find Summit Stewards here. Note the sign on the cabin, it will direct you to a scenic overlook, which is definitely worth the few extra steps! After enjoying the view from the ledges, head back toward the fire tower. The base of the tower hosts a nice picnic area. Climbing the tower will give you expansive views in all directions. You can see the Hudson River, Ashokan Reservoir, Westkill Mountains, and the Indian Head Mountain Range.

  • The other Catskill Fire Towers located in the challenge are Hunter, Red Hill, Tremper and Balsam Lake.

Pack List

  • Sturdy Shoe
  • Drinks/Snacks
  • Camera
  • Snowshoes or Skis (for Winter)
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 1400 Feet
Activities Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Switchback Heaven

If you hate switchbacks, do it anyway!! The view at the top is truly unreal and it's a good workout! It's not hard, but the whole thing is inclined so sometimes I need to take a second to catch my breath and for all those who have knee problems, be careful on your way down. My knees definitely weren't too happy with me after I booked it down the mountain 😅

Go early or off peak

Nice day hike, not terribly difficult for the awesome views and that's why it'll draw tons of people. Get there early, or go during the week if you can, especially during the fall foliage season. Definitely is not enough parking for everyone during peak times.

Easy Day Hike

This is an easy winter day hike with a few attractions for photo opportunities. Don't tell your hiking partner(s) about the old hotel - it's a fun surprise!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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