Hiking events

Here’s What to Know About Haunted Overlook Mountain Hike in the Catskills

Many travelers have traveled the Catskills in the past, and many artists, writers or photographers have fallen in love with the landscape. Not only popular with art lovers, the Catskills also became famous with tourists in the middle of the last century with the construction of massive hotels across the mountains. With their abandonment, the Catskills acquired a haunted element.

These old mountains are not only iconic for their beauty but also for the important place they hold in New York’s history. The 5,892 square miles of protected forest in the Catskills is home to more than 30 peaks that stretch 3,500 feet high. It can feel like heaven on earth at times, but there are also the spooky hotel ruins that are great for changing the mood and can make for a spooky Halloween encounter.


Haunted Catskills Hike

Legends and secrets fill the Catskills because so many interesting and bizarre events have happened here in the past. These legends include that of Rip Van Winkle and even the remains of a plane crash near Katterskill High Peak Trail, which can still be seen. The surprises in the Catskills don’t end there. Hikes like Overlook Mountain are famous for the large number of mysterious sites from the area’s past. Overlook Mountain is much more than a bird watching destination. This is one of the best opportunities for travelers to ponder the chilling remnants of the Catskills past.

Haunted Overlook Mountain Hike

Travelers looking for a great hike this Halloween season that incorporates the usual scenic elements of a hike with a less peaceful, more haunting vibe. The treasures that travelers can discover along this trail are a large number of small Easter eggs to find. These Easter Eggs include a few abandoned hotels that travelers will pass on their way up. Many of these properties have an interesting and perhaps tragic story about why they are the way they are.

However, this is not the limit of what can be discovered. From ruins of a plane crash to abandoned hotels and fire towers, there’s so much to find on Overlook Mountain.

Related: Ride the Famous Explorers Rail to See the Catskills’ Best Views

Overlook Mountain Hidden Gems

This trail is approximately 8 km round trip, making it a fantastic day hike with room to explore the wonderful things travelers are more than likely to discover. One of the strange discoveries travelers will make are the ruins of Overlook Mountain House, which was built in 1833. Located about 2.5 km into the hike, it was previously well known for sitting at such a high altitude. However, three fires are said to have wreaked havoc on the structure. After the last fire in 1960 destroyed its famous rooftop tower, the structure was abandoned.

Today, travelers to the top of Overlook Mountain often use the ruins of this former hotel as a stopover. Some will even explore the hotel grounds to see what they can uncover. Looking into the building, travelers can almost imagine what it must have been like to stay here a century ago.

The top of the hike

Once travelers reach the top of their hike, the adventure isn’t quite over yet. Travelers will likely spot the historic 60-foot fire tower looking beyond the summit of Overlook Mountain.

Travelers may want to take a break before climbing 60 feet to the top of the fire tower for some of the best views of the Catskills possible. Who knows what else travelers might see from the top of the tower?

Related: Explore the Irish Alps, aka ‘the Emerald Isle of the Catskills’

The fire towers during the hike

Travelers shouldn’t miss the chance to experience the view from one of the last remaining fire towers in the Catskills. Travelers will have fantastic views of the Ashokan Reservoir, Hudson River, and nearby Catskill Mountains from the stairs and cab at the top of the tower.

Extend the hike by camping

Although there are no designated campsites on this route, primitive camping is permitted. Travelers often add Echo Lake to their itinerary, which adds about 3.5 miles, to make the adventure more camping-worthy. The good thing about camping, however, is more time to explore the haunted sites along the hike.

Important to know before hiking

It is important to note that the DEC strongly advises against entering any abandoned buildings along this hike. It is perfectly safe to see the structures from the outside. But, with years of non-maintenance, it’s not safe to explore the interior of the buildings because it’s unclear just how stable the structure is. However, there is plenty to discover safely just outside their walls.

On a lighter note, parking is also important when visiting Overlook Mountain. In warm weather, it’s a popular spot, so travelers should be sure to arrive early so they don’t have to worry about parking.