The Overlook Mountain Trail climbs for nearly two miles before hikers get a visual break from shady deciduous forest. The effort pays off and then some.
At mile 2, ruins of the Overlook Mountain House afford the first chance to go off-trail and investigate. Trees grow out of old rooms and fountains. A spiral staircase sits unsupported, leading to nowhere but better views of the structure and surrounding woodland. Rotting bath tubs are filled with dirt and covered with moss.
Continuing uphill another half mile, a skyscraping fire tower lets the brave who climb it see for hundreds of miles in every direction. To the east, the Hudson River seems like a skinny creek in the middle of green slopes. The wide waters of Ashokan Reservoir dominate the scenery to the south. Catskill Mountains wrap around the landscape to the west and the north.
Hike only a short distance further to the trail’s scenic overlook, the summit of Overlook Mountain (3,140 feet). Rocky outcroppings allow for mid-walk picnics and a sprawling Hudson Valley panorama. Look down closely at the overlook’s giant slabs. Visitors to the summit have etched their names or initials—some as early as 1857.
When finished, retrace the route to the trailhead.
-Mapped by MacKenzie Ryan