Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Overlook Mountain and Overlook Mountain House, Catskills

Overlook Mountain Wild Forest,
Catskills Park,
near Woodstock,
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Overlook Mountain Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:25 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.8 Miles

Pros: Impressive historical ruins, great views
Cons: Trail up is wide and boring with telephone lines
Hike Type: Out and Back
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult

Map of Route:

Overlook Mountain is one of the more famous hikes in the Catskills. It involves a very doable hike to a massive, abandoned hotel ruins, an excellent view, and a fire tower with views on all sides. The mountain peak is at 3,140 feet above sea level, which leaves it somewhat short of the higher 3,500+ foot mountains in the Catskills. However, it is still a popular peak due to its great views and points of interest along the southernmost part of the Catskills Escarpment.

The hike is a good climb, with an elevation gain of over 1,300 feet on a very easy wide path that used to be a road. The very wide trail with the power lines lacks the more natural feel of some of the other popular Catskill hikes. But despite the boring path up, it all becomes worth it near the end at the Overlook Mountain House and subsequent view and fire tower.

The weather was very pleasant, and was in the mid-50's. In fact, it was a cloudy day but as I drove up to the parking trailhead the clouds had cleared and I was above the clouds with a bright sun and blue sky. The trail was completely covered with ice at the beginning, and as I climbed it became covered with snow and the entire area was fully covered with snow. I had snow crampons for the hike which proved to be a very wide choice to bring despite the warm weather.

I parked at the trailhead at Meads Mountain Road. There is a large Tibetan Buddhist Temple across the parking trailhead which looks like its out of the Himalayas. The parking lot is not big so I assume this fills up pretty quickly on nice weekends, though there is an overflow lot a half mile further west. I took the Overlook Mountain Trail up the mountain, and was amazed upon reaching the Overlook Mountain Trail at it's sheet size. I explored the abandoned structure, and passed by the smaller building across from it, and then continued along the trail to the view. I then went to the fire tower and climbed up catching some more good views. I then turned around and headed down the mountain back along the same trail.

Map of the Route

Overlook Mountain Trailhead Parking Sign

Indian Head and Twin Mountain from the Trailhead Parking

Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Across the Trailhead

Trailhead Information Kiosk at the Beginning of the Hike

Icy Conditions at the Beginning of the Overlook Mountain Trail

Devils Path Mountains in the Distance While Ascending Overlook Mountain

Heavy Snow Near the Top of the Mountain

Approaching the Impressive Ruins of the Overlook Mountain House

Entrance of the Overlook Mountain House

Inside the Overlook Mountain House

5 Floows of the Overlook Mountain House

Inside the Overlook Mountain House, From the Other Direction

Me in the Overlook Mountain House Ruins

Me on the Steps of the Overlook Mountain House Ruins

Outside the Overlook Mountain House, on the Northern Side

Smaller Abandoned Structure Opposite the Overlook Mountain House

Outside the Overlook Mountain House

Trailhead Junction at the Overlook Mountain House

View from the Overlook Mountain House, Facing Northeast

View from Overlook Mountain, Facing East

View from Overlook Mountain, Facing South Towards the Ashokan Reservoir

Another View Facing South from Overlook Mountain,
Towards the Southernmost Part of the Catskills Escarpment

Zoomed in to the Ashokan Reservoir, the Largest of the Catskill Reservoirs

A Friend I Met at the Overlook Summit

Me at the Overlook Mountain Summit

View from Overlook Mountain Facing Towards the Hudson River and Saugerties

A Fellow Hiker Playing a Flutelike Instrument on the Mountaintop.
(Maybe He's from the Buddhist Temple from the Trailhead?)

View from the Fire Tower, Facing West

View from the Fire Tower, Facing South

View from the Fire Tower, Facing North

The Catskill Escarpment with Echo Lake in the Valley Below

View from the Fire Tower Facing West/Northwest

View of the Overlook Fire Tower in the Late Afternoon

Approaching Sunset While Descending Overlook Mountain

Evergreen Forest with Mountain Laurels While Descending the Overlook Mountain Trail

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