Hike Overlook Mountain
New York › Overlook Mountain Trail
Added by Rebecca Nichols
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.
- Sturdy Shoe
- Snowshoes or Skis (for Winter)
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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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.
Wonderful Ruins And Lookout!
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!
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.
The Overlook Ruins Are A Bonus
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.
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