Located in the Catskill Mountains, Overlook Mountain is situated close to Woodstock, New York. Overlook Mountain has an elevation of 3,140 feet. The forest area of Overlook Mountain consists of roughly 590 acres. The rocky slopes of the mountain make the area an interesting place for a hike. Overlook Mountain is home to the timber rattlesnake. The timber rattlesnake is a protected species. This species lives in only one other area of the Catskills.
The summit of Overlook Mountain features red oak trees. These trees are typically found at lower elevations. Red spruce and balsam fir trees are also located at the summit of the mountain. These trees are typically found at higher elevations. These are just a few of the features that make Overlook Mountain so unique.
The summit of Overlook Mountain has open ledges. There is exposed bedrock along the mountain's trails that provide visitors with information about the geologic history of the Catskills.
The Overlook Mountain House first opened in 1871. At the time, it was the highest hotel in the Catskills. The Overlook Mountain House was able to hold 300 guests. The current Overlook Mountain House was actually the third hotel to be built on the mountain. The original hotel was destroyed in 1875 by a fire. The hotel was then rebuilt in 1878. Again, the hotel was destroyed by a fire (in 1923). Frank Amato was then hired to redesign and rebuilt the hotel. It was rebuilt using concrete, but the hotel was never actually completed. The owner, Morris Newgold, was having financial difficulties. In 1940, the hotel was boarded up. It was again damaged by a fire in 1941. Another fire in the 1960s destroyed even more of the structure. The ruins of the Overlook Mountain House are still visible today.
Another site popular with visitors is the fire tower. The fire tower has been in its present location since 1950. Prior to that, the tower was on Gallis Hill. The tower was originally constructed in 1927 and later moved to Overlook Mountain. The tower is 60 feet tall and features scenic views of the Ashokan Reservoir, the Devil's Path, and the Hudson River Valley. The tower closed in 1988 and reopened in 1999. While it was closed, the tower was restored. All of the stairs and the majority of the landings were replaced. In addition, the security fencing around the tower was replaced. Between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, the tower has volunteer interpreters available on weekends to greet visitors and provide them with additional information. The ground cabin of the tower serves as a museum.
Those interested in hiking have the opportunity to hike in the area. A moderately difficult in and out trail offers hikers the option of seeing the ruins of the hotel, the fire tower, and many scenic views. It is estimated that hiking the trail takes about 3 hours. The elevation gain of the trail is 1,400 feet. The trailhead can be accessed after parking in the parking area across from the Buddhist Temple.
The gravel road of the trail has red markers. After climbing 2 miles, hikers reach the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House. A separate trail can be found to the hiker's left. This trail leads to Echo Lake. If a hiker continues to go straight, they will then reach the fire tower. Nearby, there is another short trail that leads to a scenic overlook.
Additional information about Overlook Mountain can be obtained by calling 845-679-2580.