• Activities:

    Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1400 Feet

Easy Parking
Picnic Area

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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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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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Overall rating: 

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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 😅

7 months ago
7 months ago

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.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

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!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Loved it! First real hike. Didn't know the abandoned building was there so that was a nice surprise and the fire tower was awesome .

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This hike is excellent when done before sunrise or sunset. It affords the viewer the ability to see Upstate New York from a unique vantage point that is easy to get to. During the fall with the change of the color of the leaves the forests take on a fiery orange and appear an orange sea. One of the best parts is that the trail is short enough that another hike can be performed during the same day! Highly recommend!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

The trail is horribly boring and monotonous. The Buddhist temple across from the trailhead offers good cheap food, nothing special, just like soup and beans and the like. But the ruins are quite fun! They are fun to crawl around in and image the awe of what the hotel must have looked like in its day. The fire tower was locked when I was there but we could see the view. Also keep going past the fire tower tot he overlook. It's totally worth it. Very easy hike.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Disclaimer - writing about this spot got me a regular writing gig for a year, so I have a bias. But - check out the ruins of the hotel. A local artist sometimes will put site-specific installations on the inside walls, featuring photos of the old hotel or of the surrounding wildlife. The grand staircases leading nowhere also always make me think of Hogwarts.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Not an incredibly exciting hike but includes a nice drive and a good view. Good idea if you are looking to bring along non-hikers, kids or pets as it's an easy hike on gentle terrain.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Rebecca Nichols Explorer

I hike to push my limits both mentally and physically, take in the beauty of the great outdoors, and just to get away from it all. Every chance I get you will find me in the mountains, on a kayak or ending my day by the campfire!

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