Overlook Mountain Wild Forest – Overlook Mountain Fire Tower

Park Site

Trail Map: I used the NY NJ Trail conference maps – a free map for the Fire Towers can be found here.

Miles:  4.98

Trails:  Overlook Spur (red)

Mountain:  Overlook Mountain.

My map:

[TL;DR – This is an easy path, following the old fire tower road straight up.  There wasn’t much to see on the path, save for the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House hotel.  Views were opening up when we got to the top.  There were no snakes at the top (even though it was mating season) due to impending rain.]

This was one of those hikes where if it was called off, it wouldn’t rain all day.  And if the trip stayed on, there would be rain.  Fortunately, that rain held off until we were most of the way home.  And when it rained, it poured.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the mountain when it hit.

The parking lot is right across the street from a Buddhist temple, complete with prayer flags and prayer wheels.  It is open for visitation, and while we were there, there was a ceremony taking place.  I did not have the time to stop over and take a look, but I highly recommend it.

So, what is this hike like?  This picture is all you need to know (until you get to the top.)

The hike follows the Overlook Spur trail, which uses the road to the fire tower.  It rarely changes.  And it is uphill the whole way, I don’t recall any level sections.  It was interesting that there were electrical wires overhead the whole way up.  I could have taken this picture ten more times to fill up space.

Fall is definitely coming though.

Just before reaching the top you will come to the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House, one of the old Catskill Hotels.  From reading in the fire tower keeper’s house, this was the third iteration of the hotel.  The trail goes through the ruins, so it is worth checking out.

Shortly after the ruins, I had two interesting finds:

Closed Bottle Gentians
Hen of the Woods

The Hen of the Woods is edible, but it looked like it had been there a while.

As we neared the tower, these signs became more numerous:

Apparently, there are numerous snake dens near the top of the mountain and it is advised to stay on trail.  At the top, the Fire Tower keeper mentioned that this is mating season, and the snakes are usually out and about the top of the mountain.  However, with rain coming in imminently, they were tucked away in their dens.  I would have liked to have seen one or two…from a distance.

The Overlook Mountain Fire Tower:

Beyond the fire tower, and the fire tower keeper’s cabin is a nice viewpoint overlooking the Ashokan Reservoir.

Here is my first shot from when we first got to the overlook.

And here’s a picture I took before leaving.

This was trip four for the County Parks System fire tower challenge, we’ve been to five of the six towers.  Our last trip will be to Balsam Lake Mountain.

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Blazes:

Hiked:  9/9/2023

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